" A more interesting read than the last Dragonlance novel I picked up. "
Title: Serpent in the Fold Adventure Sourcebook by Sword & Sorcery Games
Format: Scarred Lands D20 Adventure Supplement
Reviewing Monkey: Genghis Kong
The Hype: A continuation of the popular free "Serpent Amphora" adventure series (downloadable at the Sword & Sorcery Games homepage) and designed for characters of third of fourth level. Is it an adventure to remember, or yet another installment in the ever-forgettable "D20 Adventure Book" parade?
What This Monkey Thought...
Story and Drama: Serpent in the Fold takes place within the Scarred Lands setting, which is a medieval fantasy world where the gods wage war on the very lands mortals call home. The book itself begins with the tale of Lilliandel, an Elven archer who witnessed the binding of the vile Titaness Mormo into the Serpent Amphora. The adventure itself revolves around gathering information on this dread relic, which now rests in the hands of the goodly order of the Vigils of Vesh, so that some method of containment or destruction of the object can be found. The pages contain all the elements of a classic story-based roleplaying adventure - foreshadowing, an epic prologue, plot twists, and a staggering attention to detail. There are more ups and downs within these pages than can be viewed in a Merchant Ivory film, and it makes a more interesting read than the last Dragonlance novel I picked up. 4.5 out of 5.
Layout and Presentation: The book itself is set up fairly predictably, reading linear from the start of the adventure to the end. Stats for monsters are found throughout the adventure when the encounters occur, with major villains listed in the back with detailed story information. The artwork is pleasant and interesting, with artist Tyler Walpole showing a delicate grayscale sketch style on the interior and cover artist Kieran Yanner giving an interesting (and oddly story-accurate) cover piece. The maps included are detailed in image and in text descriptions, and the area map in the back of the book is particularly noteworthy for its quality. 5 out of 5.
Playability: Serpent in the Fold is not only an excellent adventure for in-character roleplay, but designed with combat-heavy groups in mind as well. A variety of villains and encounters make the pace easy to maintain with little drag, and the attention to detail helps the perceptive game master throw the right clues the players' way to keep them on the right track from start to finish. The adventure requires the group to have a good working knowledge of the Scarred Lands campaign setting, however, and those who have not run the Serpent Amphora or are attempting to run the game in another Dungeons & Dragons environment may find it harder to use to its full potential. 4 out of 5.
Desired Content: The adventure book promises an exciting and interesting game for characters level three or four, and it delivers precisely that. It has intrigue and plot twists, interesting villains and encounters, and a healthy number of useful magical items for the player characters to stumble upon (though the game does not by any means throw in too many magical items). It is the kind of adventure players will come away from feeling satisfied about playing, knowing they earned their experience points and deserve the rewards given. About the only thing missing is a suggestion for how many experience points the adventure itself warrants before factoring in monsters defeated - it would have been a helpful addition. 4.5 out of 5.
|Once again, Sword & Sorcery games has entered its work into a market full of D20 supplements being crushed by dead weight of numbers and produces a product which thrives. By producing a superior product with an eye for the interest of all roleplaying gamers, they have made Serpent in the Fold a challenging and engrossing adventure likely to spark a number of campaigns focused on the Serpent Amphora itself. This monkey can't wait to get his hands on the upcoming sequel in the Serpent Amphora Cycle.|
The Good: Detail, intrigue, and appeal for the entire spectrum of roleplaying Monkeys.
The Bad: Rather proprietary toward the Scarred Lands setting
The Overall Ugly: Spider-Eye Goblin Zombies. Try not to get a mental image.
What it's Worth: Market