A number of gaming companies have tried to tap into an "old-school" feel, harkening back to the classic days of fantasy roleplaying games. Few companies are able to evoke this nostalgic design style as well as Goodman Games. Their adventures emphasize the best things about some of the early modules, while still maintaining the high standards of design and quality modern gamers have come to expect.
Like other adventures in this series, The Transmuter's Last Touch gets right to the meat of the adventure. Although the author gives a few suggestions on how to get the PCs involved, the vast majority of the module's 20 pages are devoted to the dungeon and its denizens. I really enjoy this kind of "less is more" philosophy. Giving too much background can sometimes make an adventure harder to use. A complicated and detailed backstory makes an adventure less generic, and therefore requires a lot more work on the part of the DM to insert it into his or her campaign world. Transmuter's Last Touch gets the balance just right. Essentially, kobolds have taken up residence in the lair of a long-dead wizard. The lair contains a legacy of sorts; a lingering residue of transmutation magic that alters its occupants in strange and unpredictable ways. The kobolds have learned to harness this "background magic", using it to give them an edge over their enemies. The PCs, after being drawn into this plot however the DM sees fit, must battle these magically mutated kobolds in their strange lair.
The adventure includes all of the things you'd expect of a good dungeon crawl. There are traps, hidden treasures, and an ill-tempered dire weasel. Alright, so dire weasels aren't as iconic as sharks with lasers, but at least they're ill-tempered. The designers give the kobolds in each area tactics, which should help to ensure that the little buggers offer the proper challenge to the party. The authors are also careful to note some of the logic behind where the various traps and other dungeon features came from, giving the DM some tools to improve his players' sense of verisimilitude. There is just enough detail to make things seem cohesive without bogging the adventure down with useless background information.
Finally, the areas of transmutation magic that can temporarily "mutate" the kobolds help to give this adventure a unique flavor. Not only must the PCs face a group of enemies who enjoy a home-turf advantage, but they must also contend with fire-breathing kobolds, quickened kobolds, and other magically-altered baddies. The fact that clever PCs can also tap into these transmutation "pockets" and gain their own enhancements makes things even more interesting.<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: The Transmuter's Last Touch is a nice little adventure that incorporates some of the best things about D&D's truly classic modules. It's not trying to be a stunning work of plot and intrigue, nor is it offering a unique and never-before-seen adventure concept. Instead, the Transmuter's Last Touch is simply a fun adventure full of the kinds of things that make D&D dungeon crawls enjoyable. It has background without getting bogged down in small details, interesting yet familiar monsters and encounters, and some nice old-school art.
While the authors are going for a classic feel, the adventure design is thoroughly modern. The enemy tactics are sound and the game mechanics are spot-on. This is a nice, professional adventure that I'd love to run for my group.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: This sort of adventure isn't for everyone. If you're looking for an adventure filled with plot, or the kind of thing you can build a campaign around, other products will serve you better. If your group doesn't enjoy dungeon crawls, then they probably won't like Transmuter's Last Touch. The background details are here, and certain elements could definitely inspire a creative DM to build further adventures, but those kinds of things aren't the focus of this product. This is a dungeon crawl against a lair of kobolds...with a twist. If that's not your cup of tea, then you might want to look elsewhere for your adventure needs.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br><BR>[THIS REVIEW WAS EDITED]<BR>