The newest release from Adventures in Filbar, Penchant for Adventure 1, is a short adventure for a single player and DM. AIF refer to it as a “solo adventure”, but to me that conjures memories of the Fighting Fantasy series. However, when I tried to come up with other names for it, they were all taken by different concepts. Oh well. So, what’s the adventure like?
The adventure is written for a first-level character, who has been sent by his mentor to witness the coronation of the new head of the Bu-San monks. The adventure begins in the town in Penance, which is mapped and has short descriptions of each building (some no more than a line, others with more detail). From there, a wilderness map gives six encounters on the way to the monks, allowing the player to experience some of the dangers of the campaign world.
The encounters seem extremely dangerous to me. A bandit (AC 12, hp 11, sword +3, 1d6+1) is quite a challenge for most lone characters at first level, but the concluding monster of a cockatrice (AC 11, hp 25, bite +4, 1d4+1 plus petrification) is unbelievably challenging. The designer notes that he’s run the adventure several times and that not every character made it to the end alive. I can’t say I’m surprised!
There are some nice details in the encounter descriptions, and the adventure isn’t purely linear. (Just mostly). I feel it would be stronger with more opportunities for role-playing and puzzle-solving, especially given how dangerous the combats are. Is the traveller meant to rest? They probably will! A first-level wizard would likely not survive this, but a fighter with good armour would have a much better chance.
The maps are nicely done; I have a fondness for the old-school hex wilderness maps. It could be better edited, but the errors aren’t dreadful. However, the monster stats are a bit odd.
While I don’t think the adventure is quite appropriate for a single adventurer, the encounters are interesting enough that it’d make a good adventure if the challenges were slightly modified – for a lone player or group. There’s enough good material here to make this worth investigating.