The D&D Dad blog reviews Tower of the Mad Mage by M.T. Black.
This was our first-ever one-shot adventure, and it was a blast! Kudos to M.T. Black for creating a slick, easy-to-use adventure for 1st level players. It definitely felt like a “classic D&D” adventure, but with some nice updates and unexpected twists.
Overview of the Adventure
This adventure took about five hours to complete, but a small portion of that time was used to get two brand-new players up to speed on the game (they already had characters created, so that helped a lot).
We spent a few minutes getting to know the members of the part (see my spoiler-filled Adventure Report for all the details), and then Skwelch the Goblin barged through the door, and the game was afoot!
The pacing in this game was phenomenal, and everyone had a great time. There’s great info on how to role-play Sqwelch and the other NPCs you run into, and the stakes get raised as you climb higher into the mad mage’s tower. The difficulty level felt right for a team of four level 1 characters.
I also have to mention how well this adventure was organized, and the layout really helped me keep all the action moving smoothly.
Tips for Running the Adventure
I ended up skipping the encounter with the Constable in Longsaddle so we could get to the tower sooner.
If you’re the DM, you might want to have Skwelch or other NPCs talk more about Hugo Harpell, the “mad mage” from the title of the adventure. I think that would’ve added a bit more depth and history to the adventure. (That’s probably a shortcoming of my own newbie DM status more than anything!)
I also skipped the entire 2nd floor of the tower, but then I added more goblin attacks to keep things moving. The twist at the very end was unexpected, but it got the right reaction from my players (they all freaked out).
This was the first adventure from M.T. Black that I’ve run through as a DM, but it definitely will not be my last. I’ve run two more of M.T.’s work since then, and I’m prepping a third. I really appreciated that fact that this adventure took place in the Forgotten Realms, so I didn’t have to learn a new world.
The final twist was wonderful, and I still smile at the memory of the characters running for their lives at the end of the game to survive the Tower of the Mad Mage’s new resident.
Grade: Straight A
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