The Shadow Rift
Authors: William W. Connors, Cindi Rice, and John D. Rateliff
Summary: An adventure module where the PCs find themselves stumbling on a town where everyone's souls have been taken away. Following the cause to the source, they find themselves wrapped up in fairy politics and a plot to free the most powerful Darklord in Ravenloft from his prison.
The Shadow Rift is one of those games that fits Ravenloft's mood very well but you wonder who in the Hell designed RPGing wise. The adventure is a death trap with dozens of treants and Blackroot trying to kill the players, a creek that will automatically kill you, and a final confrontation with what amounts to Cthulhu. The adventure is a death trap from start to finish and a lot of combat all round. The only other module that has this much battle to role-playing (and admittedly is much much much much worse is Thoughts of Darkness).
The basic plot can be summarized is that the faeries are stealing a bunch of human souls to work for them as their slaves and the PCs stumble into what effectively is a massive fight from everything from the Lochness Monster to Treebeard til they meet Maeve who gives some plot speculation and then sends them through a glorified Dungeon Crawl through the Shadow Rift where they basically fight their way to the Portal of Gwydion and hopefully prevent his entry into the physical world.
The adventure has atmosphere in spades with the Shadow Fey being somewhat of a cross between a Midsummer's Night's Dream, the Brother's Grimm, and D&D elves on amphetimines. This module, if played right, is SCARY and you never know what will happen in the warped version of Oz that the players have found themselves in. However, too much emphasis is on combat and not enough on interacting with the locals whom little chance is given to interact with.
Finally, Gwydion is a poorly designed Darklord in the fact that while he's certainly a threat with his near godlike power...it's somewhat questionable what exactly he can do while he's cooped up to warrant Lordship. I would have preferred that some abilities be given him or he's even worse than the GEIST Dark Lord of Rokushima Taiyoo.
3.5 Blood Drops.
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