The fourth adventure by Dan Hass, And the Elf Prince Wept, is an adventure for 1-8 characters of level 2. It is the first part of the Red Blade War. The adventure consists of twelve encounters with a thirteenth, optional encounter with the Inquisition; a standard trope of these adventures.
The adventure structure is quite interesting, as it contains a number of elements that go against a straightforward reading of the adventure. The adventure begins with the adventurers attending a council meeting about recent raids by goblins, so you would assume that the adventure is about dealing with the goblins. It isn’t. This is all set-up for what will occur in later instalments. (In fact, the goblins are causing trouble because they’ve been forced from their homes by the Red Blades orc tribe). Instead, the party are hired by the elves to investigate reports of a magical axe in the hands of a “halfling” that may be a relic of the orc god, Gruumsh. The elves are convinced that the halfling was actually a kobold; incredibly, they’re right.
So, the adventurers travel to the kobold lair, and probably kill everything within to grab the relic, while being opposed by agents of the Red Blades orc tribe. Amusingly, the Red Blades don’t realise what the axe actually is; they just think it’s a nice axe. Combat is not assured; the party can negotiate their way out of several of the situations. There are quite a few hazards and traps, and possibly only two or three combat encounters in total. The adventure is mostly linear, although there is a possibility that the group may just want to go and deal with the goblins, which Dan Hass promises will be dealt with in And the Goblin Boss Wailed, his fifth adventure.
As a whole, the adventure leaves quite a lot up to the Dungeon Master. It may be quite a challenge to role-play everything correctly, especially when presenting the council meeting that begins the adventure. The writing could be tighter, but it is quite acceptable. The forced march rules get another outing here, not for the first time in one of Dan Hass’s adventures. The play of the characters through the adventure is likely to be straightforward, but there are enough other things going on to actually make this an intriguing adventure. Its potential comes more in what it is setting up than in the adventure itself, but I very much enjoyed seeing the pieces being placed on the board, and am fascinated to see where they will now move.
The maps are fine, if primitive, and there’s not really any art to speak of. (That cover picture? That’s it!)
I’m not quite sure why the Elf Prince is weeping, but I like this adventure. It’s simple, but it sets up some interesting stories to come. I look forward to reading them!