||The Sinister Secrets of Silvermote by TPK Games is a 67 page adventure for 4-6 players of 7-12. This book relies partially on TPK’s previous work Temerlyth the Undying and is almost required for the latter half of this module.
The gorgeous front artwork by Eric De Mander leads you into an adventure about a Temerlyth the Lich (with a burning hatred for Lycanthropes. Were creatures that destroyed his elven homeland and drove him to build a tower by goblin slaves in which he could craft ways to destroy the shape shifting hordes. Eventually madness took him and he slaughtered his loved ones, isolated himself to experimenting on man and beast to find a way to ‘save’ his people, and setup shop to further increase his growing alchemical prowess.
We open up with the background of the module providing DMs with plot hooks to aid in providing a reason to raid or infiltrate Temerlyth’s lair. One is a letter by a wizard who ‘heard’ about the unimaginable power of the place and the other a wolf in sheep’s clothing as it may. The wonderful part of this adventure is the neutrality of the setting, you can put it anywhere there is a forest. Leading the party to the dungeon are a few encounters that get the players a taste of what is to come.
Once the players arrive at the tower the ‘fun’ begins. Littered throughout this module are the monsters fully stat’d and linked to D20PFSRD.com for ease of use, no longer does a DM who uses this in digital format have to reference what a feat or ability does, they are all hyperlinked for easy reference. This is both a blessing and a curse as the linking of the earlier monsters is well done and slowly start’s lacking into the latter pages. The massive amount of linking almost causes all the text to blend into one large underlined mass.
Tips on how to run certain areas are presented such as giving the DM a certain way to handle a plot point, how monsters interact with each other, and even tidbits on the masonry to those players who have to know everything.
Since this is the lair of a Lich who has lived hundreds of years with the threat we know there will be traps, tons of traps, tricky traps. The DM has to be well versed in what player’s are affected by prior events, the location of the trap’s, and what these traps do, as some are unconventional. The sand and portcullis trap that isolates your PCs in a divide and conquer methodology is tricky enough as it is, DM has to be on their toes here. The quality ranges from the well thought-out (previously mentioned sand trap), the bizarre (were trap and arrows), to the poorly designed green slime trap (dissolves all organic matter but not bones?).
The monster’s who dwell in this tomb are a mix of constructs, undead hordes, insane creations, and a scattering of caged were-beasts. They range from CR 1 to CR 16, and TPK has generously provided the DM with scalable stats if an encounter needs to go higher or lower in difficulty. The areas come in a variety of states ranging from the well done (bugbear zombie lord), to the average (Cathedral Golems), the badly designed (Werebat sorcerer with armor and martial weapons), and the utterly broken (Cleric who lives in a 5’ room wearing a robe of vermin that gimp’s him even further). Wrapping all this together is the overwhelming specter of Temerlyth who is never given proper detail on what would happen if an invasion were to occur. Does he pursue the PCs? Does he go after them as there are sections that state, “Temerlyth is notified that intruders are here” after the PCs defeat a monster or activate a trap. Does he gather his forces and hunt the PCs down? These questions are never answered and left to the DM to decide.
The Lich’s lair is a CR17 packed with new magical items (Magical tomes that have locks, traps, and goodies inside), a handful of traps, work benches scattered with Temerlyth’s experiments gone awry, and Temerlyth himself if he’s not off gallivanting around slaughtering werebeasts. Herein contains his phylactery put in a clever location that would take the most persistent group of players who loot everything to find.
Extra’s section is where all the new content is provided: an upgraded form of glitterdust, shovel that buries it’s foe into the earth, potions that grant lichdom, artifact of utter destruction to all lycanthropes, armor made of bone and others of silver. Quality items that can easily fit in any game and the power ratings are within limits, but I can see quite a bit of abuse for the Grave Undertaker and it’s ability to root foes.
The Sinister Secrets of Silvermote is a mixed bag of great ideas thrown together with poorly thought out encounter’s, missing skill checks on traps and doors, and monster’s who caused me nothing but head scratching puzzlement of why TPK would put all these together. The sorcerer werebat with gear befitting a hobgoblin but not a sorcerer, the storage room with brown mold and no description details, the lair of his wife and kids that demand you have the prior product which could easily have a simple line of “Use Elven ghost Wiz/5 and Elven Ghost Ranger/4” to give the DMs somewhat of a guide on what to go on. Rooms that have no reason to be in the same state after hundreds of years besides “Well he’s insane so he leaves his house in tatters” with monsters that still happen to be there because that’s their lair because they said so.
In conclusion, if you as a DM are willing to put in the effort, roll up your sleeves, and there is a plethora of content one can use for a lair of the Big Bad Evil Guy. The inner workings are there, the framework is present, unfortunately the presentation falls drastically short and left disappointed by the result.
[2 of 5 Stars!]