Troll Lord Games is one of the venerable companies of the Open Gaming License – which means they’re about fifteen years old. That’s a significant age for a RPG company. They rose to prominence through the publication of many of Gary Gygax’s last projects, especially Castle Zagyg, and through their publication of their Castles & Crusades game, a game inspired by earlier forms of D&D while still maintaining its own identity.
With The Rising Knight, they’ve converted one of the original Castles & Crusades offerings to the new D&D system, much as Necromancer Games did with The Wizard’s Amulet. The adventure concerns the party being sent after a gnoll who has been kidnapping wayfarers (and bringing the back to his secret temple base to be sacrificed). The adventure gives details on the temple dungeon, a nearby town and its significant characters, and the wilderness.
There’s a lot to like in The Rising Knight – the adventure is pleasantly creepy and old-school. The temple is partly sentient, and can act against the party even as they’re fighting the monsters within. The adventure features quite a few interesting characters and encounters, and should prove entertaining to play and referee.
Unfortunately, the adventure could do with better editing. I find it bleakly amusing that the transition to the fifth edition rules actually introduced one or two errors into the text whilst not correcting those that already existed! The writing is generally fine, but it could do with polishing, especially for some of the longer descriptive passages.
The monster stat-blocks are quite wordy, using a style that derives from how the C&C monsters are presented. It falters a bit in the face of the longer 5E descriptions. They’re fairly complete, however, and such constructions can be expected while Wizards delays on releasing a proper license for 3rd-party publishers. Mind you, descriptions like “difficult to surprise and considered advantageous on checks to avoid surprise” are rather arcane. If you know what the regular monster does you can decode them, but it required some pondering before I decided it was a version of “advantage on Perception checks”.
Although I wouldn’t consider The Rising Knight a classic, it has enough good material to be worth investigating.