Saturday, 26 February 2011

Review: The Ice Cavern of Isahil

The Ice Cavern of Isahil is yet another solo module from classic T&T writer Andy Holmes. Andy kindly included both copies of the solo when I ordered it from Hobgoblin's Tavern (site is currently down) - the first edition and the reprint with a much nicer cover, bigger font size and better quality paper.

As a mini solo it won't take you long to get through; that is if you survive of course. There is at least one place I can think of where you probably won't stand a chance, but it's possible to emerge alive. There is a nice part at the beginning in which you can absail down an icy crevasse into the cavern below. However, to do this you must pass 10 saves. This means even at the start of the module you could plummet to your death, similar to how in Halls of the Gorgon you can be killed even before you enter the dungeon.

Monster-wise you're going to come up against some meaty ones, so prepare yourself in advance of the adventure. Disappointingley the random encounter table is only small but then again Holmes doesn't go crazy with the random encounter locations. Most of the time you have to roll a one to come across a beastie. The 'pre-programmed' encounters are really good, but don't expect a big showdown at the end unless you want it to happen. By far the best part of the module is what happens after you've slayed a room teeming with Ice Goblins. It's awesome, but I won't give it away.

There's some nice treasure to be found in the cavern, including a deadly dagger that my dwarf warrior keeps strapped to his ankle.

You probably don't want to take a fresh first level delver into the Ice Cavern unless you're feeling lucky. You can use 5th or 7.x rules pretty easily with the solo (I used my 5/7ed mashup).

Overall, The Ice Cavern of Isahil is a good, if challenging mini solo adventure that makes up for its small amount of random encounters with it's excellent pre-programmed monsters and various hazards.