Monday, August 6, 2007

REVIEW: The Forgotten Isle

The second part of my reviews for Magique Productions is The Forgotten Isle by Thomas J. Scott, an OSRIC module set for 6 PCs levels 4-6.

The Forgotten Isle is a 66 page monster concerning exploration of Maladar, a mysterious island shrouded in legend. In many respects, it reminds me of The Isle of Dread, one of my all time favorite modules, and the structure is basically the same. The party finds clues that lead them to the island’s location and the ancient ruins that populate it.

Where Scott departs from that scenario is the amount of time spent gathering clues to the island's whereabouts beforehand. Ample opportunity for great role play here to balance out the exploration of an ancient civilization and what remains. The stuff of D&D, indeed.

Illustrations and cartography are again dominated by Santiago Iborra. While the cover illustration doesn’t grab me the same way the cover for Dark Raiders did (too many pastels for my taste) it does bring to mind that freaky ghost ship in Poe’s Narrative of A. Gordon Pym. Still, it’s better than a lot of mainline stuff from WOTC and associated publishers.

There’s not much more of the module’s material I can tell you without spoiling the surprise. Scott’s prose reads much better in this previous module than it did in Dark Raiders. He uses boxed text in this one as well and again pulls it off nicely without slowing down the game.

Scott has thrown in two new magic items that are of some interest and can be handily used in any game: the Orb of Geruvoj and a Cloak of Desire… both well thought out items. Lastly, he’s returned to the old practice of including pre-generated PCs for that player caught without his character sheet. It’s a practice I think I’ll also re-introduce in my future works.

Ultimately, I like this module better than Dark Raiders because it provides more useful material. Dark Raiders of Misty Ridge is good for a one shot evening adventure; The Forgotten Isle can easily become an involved scenario for your players that will span several evenings. I think I’ll work this one in with my next group of up-and-comers.

The Forgotten Isle is priced at $7.99, and for its size that’s a good price for this PDF.