Comment on PDF: When I bought this PDF back when it was released it had not front or back cover. I do not know if this is still the case. But even without the cover this is still a good product.
Under the Shadow is another supplement for the excellent dark fantasy setting Midnight (by FFG), where the Dark God Izrador, the only God on the world, has finally managed to conquer most of the known lands with his forces and slowly crushes every last bit of resistance out of those people who survived. Still, there are those who resist, and Resistance, just as Evil, has many faces. Under the Shadow takes a close look at one of the resistance hot spot, the city of Baden’s Bluff.
The cover art gives us a good glimpse into what is happening in Baden’s Bluff: the resistance is there following every move, and the forces of the Shadow, knowing that the resistance is there, moves carefully and usually in force. The interior art is just as good: dark and somber while giving you a good idea of what the city is like and how the various forces in play interact with it and one another.
The book has four chapters:
Chapter 1 describes in detail the different areas of the city providing a map for each area. Most maps do not have more than three areas or buildings signaled out, but those that are, are very detailed with a look into their history as well as the mandatory current information of its importance. Some even have maps of the buildings added to them. A great deal of detail is also given to the description of each area of the city including people you might meet walking the streets, smells, and sounds. It really puts you into the mood of the city and gives the DM great imagery he can communicate to the players. All the places described are extremely interesting, and as usual in a Midnight book, each will give you enough ideas to start several adventures. My favorite place is the Hallow.
Chapter 2 leaves Baden’s Bluff and explores the surrounding area: from the south going Road of Ruin with its keeps, to the dreary Trollskarl forest, to the Plague Hills. All these great places (and more) are again described colorfully providing great scenery for players to run around in, as well as supplying adventure ideas galore.
Chapter 3 goes into the gut of Baden’s Bluff with the descriptions of the various power, factions, and organizations, from the Badens to the Legate, to the Bastard Baden and his court, and all that is between (or inside). The lines sometime blur between the resistance and the Shadow’s forces, providing a great places for DM’s and players that like intrigue, diplomacy, and cloak and dagger negotiations.
Chapter 4 describes all the important (and some not so important seeming) personalities of Badden’s Bluff including stat blocks, personalities and motivations, all complementing and expanding on what has already been discussed in the previous chapter.
Finally the Appendix includes a new PrC: the Visionary; four new feats, and a new Fell template for those that have drowned near the salty waters of Baden’s Bluff, the Brine Ungral.
This book has the same high standards as all other Midnight books: well written description, interesting locations, great NPC for your party to encounter, the art is just fitting, and ideas for new adventures are plenty.
If you plan to have your party spend some time in Baden’s Bluff, or if you want to insert some city adventures with plenty of intrigue and diplomacy (and backstabbing), this is the thing to get.