5E Adventure Review: The Secret of Karnov Mansion

The Secret of Karnov Mansion is a 3-4 hour adventure for 4th or 5th level characters. In it, the adventurers are invited to a nearby mansion where, they are told, they will be offered a job. Unfortunately for the adventurers, the job turns out to be not so great: they’re the intended prey of the family of weretigers that now inhabit the mansion!

The opening has the adventurers meeting the family in a social setting before everything goes pear-shaped. This presents a few problems for the DM. In particular, this section requires the players to believe that everything is fine until the trap is sprung – and that the trap must execute properly. As I mentioned in a recent article, forcing characters into a trap is problematic. At least, in this case, the trap is fairly short-lived, and the players aren’t deprived of their equipment. However, using this start to the adventure may not be appropriate to your group. Characters with high Insight skills may rightfully wonder why they didn’t pick up on the clues beforehand…

Once the adventure proper is underway, it is primarily a dungeon delve. Individaul weretigers encounter the adventurers in various rooms, and there are interesting tricks and traps to entertain the players and the DM. The dungeon layout doesn’t make a great deal of sense. It exists primarily to allow the adventurers to find the various challenges before reaching the final encounter – where the leader of the weretigers and any other undefeated members of the family face the adventurers in a battle-royale to finish the scenario.

The motivations and history of the various characters work very well; however, the adventure doesn’t explain the background to the scenario in its introduction. The DM has to work out the background by reading through the entire adventure. It would have helped if this information had been presented up-front.

The presentation of the pdf works pretty well, although there are one or two clunky moments, where fonts or formatting are slightly out-of-place. The maps are mostly good, although their colouration has a few problems, especially the white doors on a light background.

All-in-all, this is an inventive adventure that should give a good evening of entertainment for you and your players.


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