5E Adventure Review: Tower of the Mad Mage

towermadmageTower of the Mad Mage is an adventure set in the Forgotten Realms for 1st-level characters by M.T. Black. It should take about 4-6 hours to play. The adventure begins when an injured goblin bursts into the inn the player characters are staying in, and declares that he can make them rich! All they need to do is help him…

The bulk of the adventure revolves around the exploration of a tower constructed by a member of the Harpell clan of wizards, who are famous for their eccentricities. It’s nicely done, with a selection of monsters, traps and magical tricks that should amuse your players. Skwelch, the goblin in question, wants the party to help defeat the rest of his tribe, who wouldn’t let him take a proper share of the hoard of a dragon that his fellows slew. Which makes for some interesting interactions when everyone realises that the dragon wasn’t as dead as Skwelch claimed…

One potential problem with the adventure is an encounter with a lawman who wants to take Skwelch into custody before the party leave town. It’s good that it shows the attitude of the local population towards goblins, but it could potentially scare off the characters from the adventure (do we really want to help this goblin?) The author doesn’t provide a suggested method of dealing with the lawman, instead just suggesting we play it by ear. I’m sure most groups will be able to navigate this encounter just fine, but for me it distracts from the main adventure: exploring the tower.

The map of the tower is nicely printed, although the grid isn’t very visible on the floor (a common problem with modern maps!) It shouldn’t hinder play, however. Small pieces of well-selected art relieve the monotony of the text, which is well laid out, although the stat blocks in the appendix sprawl a bit too much for my liking.

There’s more magical treasure in the tower than I’d prefer to give to a 1st-level party, but the tricks and traps are very good indeed. My favourite is a diary that, when approached, runs away screaming “No! No!”, as it is enspelled to disintegrate when anyone save its maker opens it. It’s a lovely touch.

Overall, this is an excellent adventure. It’s likely to be very challenging for the players, and it shows all the best features of the game. Another superlative effort from M.T. Black!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s