The latest adventure available to subscribers of EN5ider is The Mystery of Mordecai’s Monster, an adventure allegedly for 3-5 characters of level 3, written by Dan Head, who previously wrote The Mystery of Malvern Manor.
It’s an excellent little adventure. I’m rather fond of the schemes of insane wizards, and there’s a good one here that offers several challenges for the players. The author understands the importance of foreshadowing, and having an encounter with a dinosaur-riding orc allows the players to realise that what is coming is just a little unusual.
Structurally, it’s mostly linear, with six “scenes” comprising the main portion of the adventure. There are a few notes for NPCs as well as a few rumours – including one that could potentially send the players completely out of the adventure. Although I really like false rumours, they work best if they point to areas within the actual area, thus promoting adventure opportunities, even if the adventure isn’t the one the players were expecting. Being sent in search of pirates – when there’s no support for that in the adventure – is problematic.
I’m hoping there’s an editing error on the character levels required for this adventure, for a group of third-level PCs are going to get slaughtered! Mordecai’s Monster is Challenge Rating 6, and has some very dangerous area attacks. The other encounters are likewise dangerous; I expect the adventure should be aimed at a 6th-level party.
The rest of the editing is pretty good, although not perfect – a few grammatical errors and clumsy turns of phrase being most noticeable. The layout is much improved from the early EN5ider issues, and the artwork is attractive.
There are a few opportunities for role-playing, quite a lot of combat, and a lot of weird stuff going on. The minor flaws in the backstory aren’t really important compared to the entertainment of the adventure, and I would rate this as the most accomplished adventure from EN5ider so far. The mystery doesn’t really require investigative work – one things leads on to another pretty clearly – but it provides an entertaining challenge that will likely take a session to play.