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Broken Chains» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Slavers in the Qanat! rss

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Merric Blackman
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While 32-page rules supplements need to be pretty good to justify their $10.99 price, I think a lot more kindly of 32-page adventures. Quite simply, adventures are hard, and getting good ones that will entertain a group of players are to be treasured. Paizo are known for their adventures, and their latest effort, Tim Hitchcock's "Broken Chains", is the subject of this review.

"Broken Chains" sees the group investigating a particularly nasty band of slavers in the city of Katapesh, a somewhat Arabian-themed port city. It's written for a group of sixth level characters,

I'll state first up that I don't like having to look up rules material in a plethora of books. "Broken Chains" uses a lot of them: Advanced Player's Guide, Ultimate Combat, Ultimate Magic, Bestiary 2, Bestiary 3, Ultimate Equipment, and the GameMastery Guide are required to run this adventure. And the Inner Sea World Guide. Or an internet connection, which is probably preferably to the heavy pile of books you'll need. So, that's a mark against the adventure in my book, but you'll probably be more forgiving of that requirement than me. The advantage of this method can be seen by how many encounter areas can be listed in the book; it is considerable, which it wouldn't be if all statblocks were given in full.

The first section of the adventure has the group searching the sewers for the slavers' lair; I am very glad to report that there is a map (unlike the lack of a map in "The Bastards of Erebus"), and there is advice on what happens if the group track the slavers to their base - which is a good move - rather than just wandering randomly around the tunnels. From there, the group get to the slavers' compound, which is detailed in the second section of the adventure. Apart from having the usual nasties (traps and monsters), the compound also has clues that everything is not as it seems, and something nastier awaits in the final part of the adventure, in an underground cavern connected to the compound by a quarter-mile long tunnel.

The adventure feels combat-heavy, although there are some opportunities for role-playing and investigation. Its biggest structural problem comes from it feeling like the party has to do it all in one go - and there are just too many foes for that. I really would have appreciated notes on what the slavers do if the group leave and then return. It seems most unlikely that the slavers would do nothing before the party returned, but - in this - you're on your own.

The revelation of what is actually occurring is well-handled, and should amuse the players and particularly the GM. It does, however, involve an extremely dangerous Big Bad, which could end the adventure in a Total Party Kill. I estimate the party will gain two levels in the course of this adventure, depending on how much they avoid in the sewers, so you can see that there's a lot of challenges here for them to overcome.

Overall, "Broken Chains" is a solid adventure rather than an exceptional one, but its ending provides plenty of room for the GM to use it as the seed for further adventures.
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