No Laughing Matter is an adventure for fifth level characters by Dan Coleman, available now through DriveThruRPG after being funded through Kickstarter. The adventure describes a gorge where divine magic has infected its inhabitants with a laughing disease, making them vulnerable to mind-magic. With the disease beginning to spread to outsiders, the adventurers need to venture into the gorge, discover what’s going on, and stop the spread of the disease!
The bulk of the adventure deals with the expedition into the gorge and the caves surrounding it. Gnolls can be found in abundance, as should occur in any adventure dealing with wild cackling, but there are a pleasing number of other monsters, tricks and trap to entertain the players.
This is a fascinating adventure. It has a good hook, and many encounters have strange and unusual elements, enough to properly intrigue and entertain the players. The PCs will be aided throughout the adventure by a friendly warlock, who sends messages through her familiar; the warlock has commentary on all of the encounters. Although the players won’t always find her advice helpful, I found all of it amusing – so would my players, I suspect.
Although few would describe the maps as being brilliant, they are clear and attractive. There’s not much art in the product, but each encounter displays the portion of the map that applies to it, in a similar way to how the “Delve”-format adventures of 4E were presented. I have my problems with how the Delve format was used in inappropriate adventures, but this is a good example of how it should be used.
Despite the adventure mostly being a site-based exploration, it uses a couple of triggered events to provide more shape to the adventure. The result is impressive. The adventure presents a complete story that will take a session or two to complete. There are puzzles to solve, monsters to slay, and NPCs to interact with. This one is worth checking out.