Product Review: The Stealer of Children, An Adventure for Labyrinth Lord

The Stealer of Children
Author:
 Peter C. Spahn
Artist: Luigi Castellani (art) & Tim Hartin (maps)
Publisher: Small Niche Games
Page Count: 31
Binding:  Saddle Staple
Available Formats: Softcover & PDF
Cost: Softcover – $4.95 & PDF – $4.95
Company Website: http://tinyurl.com/pzwjlkv

PREMISE
As your heroes approach Leandras Row they are thrust into the growing hysteria over a missing child, but before the hysteria they must ponder the significance of an undead knight. Leandras Row finds itself embroiled in a nightmare, a child has gone missing from the night and the town is scared others will go missing. The townsfolk should fear the disappearance of more children for they are helpless against that which lingers in the night. This adventure focuses on investigation and finding solutions to the situation.

PRESENTATION
The module weighs in at a hefty 31 pages cover to cover (PDF) and it is jammed packed with lots of rich detail. The layout of the material, both background information and adventure, are nicely done. The font and pitch used make it easy to read and easy on the eyes. The module is laid out in three parts. The first is a rich background and details of Leandras Row and the history surrounding the current situation. The second part is the adventure itself. Lastly, there’s a rather comprehensive list of NPCs that could be used to flesh out Leandras Row even more or to use it as a base of operations for future adventures.

Let’s talk art for a moment. The cover is a rather simple affair, but don’t let that trick you into believing the module is not that great. In fact the opposite should happen when you look at the cover (look left). It’s simple, poignant and evocative! There are only a few art pieces in the adventure, but they serve their purpose. Authors and publishers struggle to provide art, but the cost can be overwhelming. I think Peter Spahn has found a good balance of art versus written content.

ADVENTURE ANALYSIS
So, after reading the module in its entirety, I have come to the conclusion that it is well written and will provide the adventures with unique challenges that must be solved. Play begins with the players having to make some choices that will have ramifications down the road. This adventure has events going on in the background that the players will see or experience snippets of depending on how they proceed.

Players will need to put on their thinking caps for this module. They are going to have to solve the mystery of why a child has gone missing. Legend says that this used to be a common problem in the town, but then when dormant. Why now is it happening again?

This adventure is not your typical, well balanced, the challenge for a party of 1st level characters. The adventure is off balance by presenting a monster that can only be hit by +1 weapons. This is not your typical encounter for a low level party, but as with other aspects of this adventure, there is a solution that the players must puzzle out.

PARTING SHOTS
Author, Peter Spahn, has created a unique adventure that will challenge any group of heroes who undertake this module. The adventure focuses primarily on the investigation, a little hex crawling and a smattering of dungeon delving. The module is designed so that it throws the characters in the thick of it even before they arrive at Leandras Row. This sets an unseen chain of events in motion that the players will have to contend with, one way or another, to solve this mystery. I think my players are going to really enjoy this investigative style adventure.

Many of the other modules that are currently on the market, focusing more heavily on the dungeon crawling or hex crawling aspect of the OSR. This investigative themed module, for me, is a breath of fresh air. Not sure how I will feel after I have run the game, but right now I am excited to see how my players handle the situation and what they choose to do to solve the mystery.

Is this module for everyone? Sure! There is nothing, aside from the imbalance, that might cause GMs and players to second guess this adventure. Putting that aside, which is rather easy to do, this adventure and additional material are a solid addition to any Labyrinth Lord’s collection of modules. It’s well written, has design depth that is engaging and really shines as a solid all around product.

~ Modoc

This module was provided by Small Niche Games.

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