The Vault of Iptiz is an adventure designed for 5th-level characters; the adventure is intended to be played in 4-6 hours, and consists of a 10-room dungeon with a new monster and four new magic items.
The Vault is a lost dungeon – part treasure chamber, part death trap – that lies near the occupied city of Sulindal. An army of yuan-ti conquered the city in order to discover the Vault, as it contains artefacts from a spirit naga that plundered the area in the distant past. The city leaders of Sulindal want the player characters to discover the artefacts before the yuan-ti, but this means that the players will have to deal with an exploring band of yuan-ti in addition to the many traps in the tomb if they are to be successful in their quest.
The adventure does not use regular boxed text, but instead gives important player information in point form. It’s an effective technique: not so good for poetry, but very good at actually conveying information the players need. There’s one encounter area (Room 7) where important information about the floor isn’t in this information; I found that a curious omission, but generally the boxed text is fairly comprehensive.
Despite being only 10 areas in size, there is a lot of interest in the dungeon, with a good mix of trick, traps and monsters. There are opportunities to role-play, but the adventure will revolve more around exploration and combat. Some of the tricks and traps are very amusing – at least, I was amused. I’m sure my players will appreciate them as well… assuming their characters survive!
There are a few odd editing glitches; for instance, the text indicates the dead yuan-ti in room 3 was a member of the party in room 3! (It means room 4). The text doesn’t always flow smoothly, and would benefit from another editing pass – some of the phrasing is quite awkward, especially in the introduction. There are also a number of relatively minor issues that irritate me. For instance, consider this: “Bottles: These were once potions but have long since lost their potency.” A better usage would be “Bottles: These once contained potions, but the contents have long since lost their potency.” I may be thinking about this too much…
Despite these niggles, The Vault of Iptiz is a very entertaining adventure that has a lot to recommend it. There are numerous ideas introduced in the text that could be expanded on with further adventures, but the core of the adventure stands very well on its own and offers the potential of an excellent evening’s entertainment.