5E Adventure Review: Conclave of Evil

Conclave of Evil is an adventure by Frank Schmidt in his Adventures in Filbar series. It is designed for a party of 4th-6th level adventurers and is presented in a 15-page pdf.

The adventure sets the party against a gathering of evil humanoids in the Mystic Wood, who are seeking to form a coalition against the kingdoms of the south. These kingdoms might have been able to deal with this under normal circumstances, but they’re currently at war and somewhat distracted. The only force they can send is the adventurers, who are probably enough to face the threat.

The adventure is fairly basic in form, with seven encounters being keyed to various areas on a hex-based wilderness map. Those hoping for a dose of intrigue will likely be disappointed: most of the encounters are presented as little more than opportunities for combat. It is possible that a DM may be able to add more material so that the players can sow dissension within the ranks of the delegates, but this is not supported by the adventure as written. There’s precious little motivations for the monsters here; rather, their combat strategies are emphasised.

There are some nice touches in the adventure: several of the encounters make good use of terrain, and there is one encounter with priestesses trying to unearth an ancient evil that may form a good climax to the adventure. There is also a good amount of descriptive text.

The major flaw of the adventure is the same as in many of the adventures I’ve reviewed: it really needs better editing. Incorrect grammar and poor phrasing are everywhere in the text. “You have struggled to climb up from recent rains making the slopes slick and difficult to traverse.” There’s a nice idea in that sentence, but the phrasing is awful.

Ultimately, Conclave of Evil doesn’t quite come together. The adventure is a little too basic, and the editing pulls down a few nice combat encounters. There’s the potential here, but I would have preferred to see more ambition and better grammar.

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