5E Adventure Review: The Haunting of Calrow Ruins

The Haunting of Calrow Ruins, an adventure available through the EN5ider Patreon, is a delight: a horror-themed adventure for 2nd to 4th level characters with a great concept and excellent execution.

The adventurers are hired by one of two competing nobles to clear a ruined castle of an infestation of gibberlings, strange monstrosities that jibber-jabber in a frightening manner as they rend the unwary apart. However, the adventure isn’t as simple as just slaying the monsters: there are a lot of other elements in play here, with ghosts, curses and possession all in the mix.

One nice touch is that the adventure provides hints for scaling the main encounters with the gibberlings and includes a table for determining how many should be encountered depending on character level and number of characters. The adventure doesn’t provide much variety in monsters to fight (although there are a few foes apart from the gibberlings), but it makes up for it with the details of the history of the place, which the players can slowly uncover as they explore and interact with the NPCs, who are very well described.

I wouldn’t be surprised if a group of adventurers took one or more expeditions to fully clear the ruins. The adventure provides details on what happens if they take too long or are slain; there are consequences for failure. The adventure is full of nice touches, including the explanation for the appearance of certain patches of mushrooms.

The editing is mostly very good, and the layout and art likewise. The map is adequate, although it fails to indicate a few things described in the text (such as rubble blocking the way from area 5 to 6).

The best thing about the adventure? The way the author makes use of a ghost that appears in several locations, with its appearances giving clues to what truly befell the castle. I really like the backstory here, and I think the adventure does a good job at revealing it to the players (or allowing them to deduce it for themselves).

So, that’s my opinion of The Haunting of Calrow Ruins: one of the better adventures I’ve seen for the D&D 5E game.

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