5E Adventure Review: Weapon on the Wall

Weapon on the Wall is the first product of Kelnas. It’s a 5-hour adventure for 2nd-4th level characters, and it has some interesting ideas in it. It also suffers greatly from how it introduces the adventure.

The major problem is that the hook to the adventure is that there’s this very special weapon (denoted as “Weapon” in the text) that hangs on the wall of the local weapon shop. The adventurers notice it as they’re in the store… and the shop owner won’t tell them about it unless they pay him a lot of money. The adventurers shrug and leave. And the adventure ends.

Huh. Note to adventure writers: You want to hook players into the story. Putting a roadblock like that in the way only works if you’ve managed to invest the players in finding out about the weapon first.

As a DM, I’d happily ignore that part, and have the owner tell all comers of the strange tale of the Weapon. It’s a good tale. It leads people to an interesting place: an abandoned mine. So, let’s get to that as quickly as possible.

I’m very happy to see an encounter where the monsters come in waves; just as the party thinks they know what they’re facing, more monsters arrive! It’s a great technique, and one that more adventures could use.

The bulk of the adventure concerns the old mine, which has four encounter areas. It’s not quite linear – there’s a choice for the order of the last two encounters – but it’s so small it doesn’t matter much. The best part of the mine is the final encounter, which is quite interesting in its set-up; it’d probably benefit from a dedicated stat-block being presented for the final boss.

The pdf format seems a bit odd to me, with the text appearing pixellated. The adventure is well-written, with only a few editing glitches. It has a fairly basic layout; the maps are hand-drawn but work well enough.

Overall, there are some good ideas and encounters in the adventure, although it doesn’t quite hang together as well as I’d like. It’s a good one to adapt to your own use, though.

2 comments

  1. Callan

    What an odd roadblock to put in? I think maybe the write has a home group who are keen to do the adventure that author wants, are good at guessing the ‘hook’ into the adventure and will put some effort (and gold) into pursuing it. But this just doesn’t transfer to other groups – it’s too idiosyncratic an expectation.

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    • MerricB

      The intention is that the weapon is introduced several sessions earlier, and eventually the PCs get around to investigating it. It’s a nice idea, but it’s something that works best (commercially) as part of an extended adventure path and not a one-off adventure; when I buy a short adventure, I expect to be able to run it that evening, not have to plan for it some time in the future.

      Like

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