The Blacksmith’s Burden is a short, sidetrek adventure by John Rossomangno for characters of levels 2-4. The players must investigate why a blacksmith is working day and night – but has nothing to sell to his fellow villagers.
When John describes this adventure as “short”, I immediately compared it to the other adventures that I’ve been reviewing recently. At 24 pages, this is quite a hefty adventure! Production-wise, it looks fabulous – although always with the proviso that printing it with the background would be problematic.
A significant portion of the adventure is spent describing the small village of Goldendale. The adventure begins with the players being introduced to the blacksmith’s unusual behaviour by the other villagers. Unusually, the way this happens isn’t forced; instead, a number of key NPCs are described and the DM is left to determine how the players are introduced to the problem. The amount of detail here is probably too much if you only use Goldendale the once, but the detail makes it really good for repeated use.
Two dungeons are also described in the text, one of only a couple of areas, the other of seven areas. As with the village, each is described in some detail; brief notes like “Room with orc and pie” are not the way of this adventure. The villains have excellent motivations, and it looks like it would be a lot of fun to run. It is most likely that the adventure could be completed in one session.
Monsters have their full stat-blocks included in the text. A new trait, “ill-fitted”, is used to describe creatures wearing badly-tailored armour. Although a clever use of mechanics, it would be better if the stat-blocks also included notes on what attacks were Dex-based or Str-based, as this may be troublesome for some DMs.
The writing is generally excellent, although a few grammatical errors have managed to creep in. These did not affect my enjoyment of the product.
All in all, The Blacksmith’s Burden is an excellent product for the new system; not a long adventure, but with a lot of detail to aid in your use and enjoyment of the adventure.