||This pdf is 38 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving 34 pages of content, so let's check this out!
This being an adventure-review, the following text contains SPOILERS. Potential players might want to jump to the conclusion.
Still here? All right! Set on the Rybalkan peninsula of the setting, a place somewhat influenced by a clash of cultures between standard medieval people and the Viking-like Vikmoderes, the adventure presumes the following: A clan of devils has been stranded on the prime material plane and adapted to the place. Unable to return to Baator, they adapted to the place and grew into their own secretive sub-race, sans e.g. the power to call reinforcements. A young devil fascinated with humans, managed to learn their tongue and some of their skills and tried to communicate with them, only to have his father shot in front of his eyes, as the devil sacrificed himself to save his son. The young devil subsequently plotted vengeance and schemed for years. When he first witnessed a lycanthropic transformation, he knew that a potent tool had fallen in his hands - especially with the rituals depicted in a dread tome (which is called "tomb" once in the text) that enables one to control lycanthropes via fetish dolls and even share senses with them. Unfortunately for the devil, he has yet to find the name and whereabouts of his father's slayer and thus has resorted to stealing a book containing the immigration records by proxy.
Brooks Balinger, a shepherd who has lost a sheep to the lycanthropes, couldn't find his usual, now deceased hunters to take care of his problems (they've been killed as well) and thus hired another hunter named Woln - unfortunately for the hunter, he's been captured by the devil and now serves as the infernal creature's guinea pig in creating a new devil-werewolf hybrid.
The PCs, after having a tour of the village (including many paragraphs of well-written flavor-text and a fully mapped tavern) are hired to find the missing hunter Woln and also by the local sage Yuri Statel to recover his stolen books. The investigation soon yields a piece of pelt and thankfully provides some red herrings with named villagers who also wear pelts. After some minor investigation, the PCs find a victim of the curse, who may be almost insane, but also a possible way to reach the cavern of the true master. Otherwise the PCs are in for a fight with a were-wolf. The ice-cold rain also conspires to make their sojourn rather unpleasant and thus, the cabin of Cual Beartooth, skilled herbalist, is a welcome place to rest. Very cool: The herbalist can craft 3 types of special salves, but also expects the PCs to help improve the fully mapped cabin/do chores - which they actually can! Even better, the salves all come with ingredients, lending a sense of fluff and consistency to them. Unfortunately, no craft-DCs or information on how to replicate them like market price etc. is given.
After their stay at the hunter/hermit, the PCs finally reach the ominously-shaped Devil's Cave, where their adversary, a were-wolf slave and his hybrid - a true climax, and one easily adjustable by having one or more of the were-creatures change sides. The primary antagonist, the devilish alchemist, has access to extracts, bombs and mutagens, which is rather nice, even though I think the creature should have alchemist levels instead of getting the abilities of the class for free just "by having studied" it. As written, the statblock specifies no alchemist-levels. The finale per se is rather interesting and provides ways to adjust the challenge to your tastes. Even better, there's a "it's not over yet"-moment - the devil actually had a fourth fetish doll and thus, a fourth werewolf remains! Two sample ideas for continuing the adventure are given before introducing us to the dread tome that contains the knowledge to create the lycanthrope-controlling dolls, stats for the dolls as well and a new spell that changes your tracks to those of an animal.
Since this part of my criticism is a spoiler, I'll put it here instead of the conclusion: I have a problem with the primary antagonist. It's a DEVIL. An evil outsider born from the forces of HELL out of a soul of a LE being. And I'm presented with a sob-revenge story on a slain father? It's a DEVIL. A devil wouldn't sacrifice his life for his son. They usually can only reproduce WITH MORTALS. Half-fiends. New devils are created from souls and when they die on the prime material plane, they are sent back to hell. They may be destroyed for their failure THERE, but dying on the prime is usually a minor inconvenience for these immortal beings at best unless called and bound as planar allies. This is an established piece of lore in D&D/PFRPG since I don't know when. As creatures of strictest lawful evil, I also can't see them change and adapt to the prime material plane in anything but eons. More importantly, a devilish capability to reproduce, form families etc. undermines the whole dread of them being OUTSIDERS. Not another humanoid, but creatures of pure, unadulterated evil. Incarnations. And the implication is that somewhere, there are baby-devils sucking at the breasts of momma-devils who cook stew for the papa-devil who comes home from a hard day's work of terrorizing humans. Were the plot written for a humanoid, it would work and perhaps even evoke a sense of sympathy for the poor orc, hobgoblin, whatever. But for a devil? At best, it makes them feel more human and thus less scary. Plus: Killed by a child with a crossbow. It doesn't get more humiliating and pussyfying than that.
Additionally, the statblock does not use the correct devil-subtype-traits: Devils not only get a range-limited darkvision, they also see perfect in even deeper darkness. They are immune to fire and poison and don't have a paltry resistance of 5 to fire. They wouldn't have to learn language because almost all of them have TELEPATHY - even 1 in a thousand imps! They have a resistance to acid and cold 10, not just cold 5. The antagonist also uses imp-poison without having an imp and lacks the information that his attacks are considered to be lawful and evil. Per default, they don't get a spell-resistance. Even if you take the cop-out and argue that this devil has degenerated, the modifications have made the subtype unrecognizable - this is no devil. In fact, the whole adventure is nice, but I can't get over that. The villain should not be a devil and the only reason for him being one I could find is to provide a racial restriction on the usage of his tome. In the moment that you accept that the devil is an outsider, any outsider apart from a native one, really, the whole plot unravels. Stranded on the prime? Makes no sense. Families? Make no sense. Sympathy for the devil? Not here. Lemures have an average of 13 hp, + DR 5/silver + good for a total of 18 points necessary to kill a lemure, the weakest kind of devil in the bestiary. The proposed devil father was killed by a bolt - assuming a heavy crossbow with a d10 (wielded by a boy, nonetheless), you can do the math, even on maximum damage, what an exceptional individual the boy must have been to kill the devil in one shot for the background to work as written. And my example stipulated a lemure - the devils in question being free-willed, a more powerful kind would have to be stipulated... And only if the boy managed to shoot a friggin' heavy crossbow without dislocating his shoulder and crit with it. As soon as we presume a smaller crossbow, the shot becomes quickly almost impossible... Ridiculously weak devils that get shot trying to save someone else? Check. And I haven't even started with him granting access to alchemist class abilities without taking levels in the class. Why? It all comes apart at the devil.
Editing and formatting are ok, I noticed some glitches, though, as well as inconsistencies regarding a statblock which may or may not be intentional. Layout adheres to adventureaweek's two-column parchment-style standard and features big buttons that show you where a box denotes a trap etc.. Personally, I don't like them, but some people seem to do so. Artworks are b/w and nice and the cartography is stellar. The pdf comes with expansive bookmarks and herolab-support, but no printer-friendly version.
All in all, the writing is much more consistent than in "Crypt of the Sun Lord" and adheres to a mostly captivating and well-written prose. I particularly liked how herbs and ingredients are mentioned in some salves and the way in which the PCs may use their skills to improve a cabin. The overall investigation, while easy to pull off, is well-presented and the environmental complications are neat. I also applaud the use of alchemist-rules. What I don't applaud is the lack of information regarding the rules for the salves introduced. And then there's the big catch. The background story, presented to the players partially in cutscenes has a MAJOR logic bug. A suspense of disbelief-breaker. Something that contradicts multiple editions of D&D and thus also PFRPG-lore. And then there's an almost impossible thing the players are supposed to believe and an unlikely foe they are supposed to potentially even feel pity for, which is actually impossible unless you presume a series of highly illogical assumptions. Additionally, a creature-subtype is used without providing the correct benefits associated. It's a pity, really. This adventure could easily be good if it featured another kind of primary antagonist - an orc, a hobgoblin...anything humanoid, really. Instead, the adventure presents me with major suspense of disbelief-breakers and stats that don't quite add up. This one major blunder, accumulates over the course of the narrative like an avalanche of logical errors and in the end, crushes the whole module for me and try as I might, while this has the potential for 4 stars, the accumulation of logic errors in the narrative associated to the primary antagonist make it impossible for me to recommend this pdf, especially for the steep price of 7 bucks. My final verdict, the honor the maps and the per se well-written prose that suffers only from the overall narrative, will be 1.5 stars, rounded up to 2 for the purpose of this platform.
[2 of 5 Stars!]