In Search of Adventure is a 115 page pdf adventure collection from Goodman Games for the 4e GSL system. This product contains 6 short adventures for budding first level adventurers, though these adventures are each scalable for slightly higher levels if required. The adventures all vary in theme and location, and contain an eclectic and intriguing collection of plots ranging from ancient temples in the jungle, to a forgotten wizard's tower, to the desert pyramid of the Snake Queen. These adventure are ideal for kick-starting a new campaign, introducing players to the game, or just as a one-off adventure.
The adventures come in a single pdf file, with each adventure clocking about the same page count in the product. In addition to the six adventures, the product contains a plethora of new monsters in the appendix, and a few useful ones at that that failed to make the cut in the release of the new 4e GSL edition. The writing and design is excellent, with top quality RPG writers and authors contributing to this product, and the product sporting a highly professional and well-developed presentation. The cover illustration by Ben Wooten is excellent, as is the interior art, although the latter is all in black and white. A full set of bookmarks and a useful table of contents is included to round off a superb presentation and a great-looking product.
The first adventure in the product is titled King Dretch and takes place in a wizard's tower where a particularly fiendish dretch has managed to build himself a small army of creature to do its bidding. Player characters must take on the dretch in his tower, and solve the mystery of what happened in the tower, and where the dretch had come from. The adventure is a single location scenario, with plenty of new and fiendish monsters and a few useful and clever traps. It's a fairly simple scenario to run for novice DMs and players, although the ending does involve somewhat more involved future quests that new players or DMs would likely want to leave out or deal with more easily. The ending leaves some strings loose and it would've been better if there was at least a simpler way of solving the problem rather than having it hanging over the PCs' heads. Nevertheless, it's a fun romp through the tower, fighting dangerous and challenging creatures, and dealing with the magic of the wizard's tower.
The second adventure, Children of the Snake God, sees the characters stumble upon the lost temples of ancient powers within the jungle. There they must contend with a local tribe of serpent creatures which has plans for the lost temples and the wealth of treasure they are supposed to hold. This is probably one of the better adventures in the series, as it features more guile and cunning, subterfuge, and opportunity for roleplaying and diplomacy. Coupled with a fun romp through an ancient temple, this is a strong adventure and story. Like most adventures, the story is often something that's largely left for the DM rather than the players, but this adventures explores the plot well with the PCs.
The Scorpion Queen is the next adventure, and sees the characters travel to a pyramid where they must face off against the traps and beasts that do the bidding of the malevolent Scorpion Queen. The characters will get a chance to discover the mystery behind the pyramid's appearance, and vanquish the evil that lies within. The Scorpion Queen is another straightforward dungeon adventure, where the PCs battle their way through the pyramid to the source of its evil. As with most of the adventure in the series, the locations are quite fun, and there are lots of remnants of events from older adventures gone by. Having such interesting and varied locations allows new players to get hooked into the endless possibilities of RPGs and the fun they entail.
The fourth adventure, The Forbidden Crypt, takes the characters deep into the heart of the tomb of an ancient king, and allows them to explore its riches and its history. Like all the other adventures in the pdf, this is a single location scenario where the PCs enter a maze and work their way through it. Unlike the other adventures, this one contains a number of clever riddles, and is perhaps more of a thinking person's adventure that a straight fighting adventure. It has to be said of this adventure, and indeed of the others, that the combat encounters and encounter locations are all fairly interesting, with new creatures abounding and clever use of terrain and creatures throughout.
Next is Legacy of the Labyrinth, which again sees the characters explore a labyrinth, but in this instance the labyrinth serves a far more sinister purpose, and the actions of the characters can have repercussions should they not navigate the labyrinth correctly. I quite like the premise of this adventure, and it's certainly one of the more interesting ones. The location, too, is fairly intriguing, although I though in places that it could've been done a little better. Nevertheless, it's a fun adventure and one that's easy to use for incorporating long-term adversaries into your campaign world.
The last adventure is called Tides of Doom, and is probably my favorite of the bunch, although that's not saying anything about the quality of the other five. In this adventure the characters are confronted with something sinister in the village of Crafthaven, and will need all their guile and cunning to survive the machinations of evil in the village. I do wish that a little more roleplaying opportunity had been included in this adventure, as the premise is fairly 'classic' and one that young adventurers will have fun exploring.
When I first looked at this product I was impressed with the quality of presentation and the novelty of adventure locations but couldn't quite shake the feeling of 'It's been done before'. Having thought about it, I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing - a new era of gamers is bound to stumble across this series of adventures, and, looking at it from this point of view, it's no different from the classic adventure of old from thirty odd years ago that shares the same name as this one. Also, while the adventures on their own aren't that fantastic, I think together they create quite a good combinations of adventures that cater to quite a few different tastes in adventuring style. The strength in this product is that it does a splendid job of creating good first level adventures, particularly for new players or players new to the system. Old gamers might not find the adventures as good, but I think there's a richness in here that's bound to appeal to many, and even those that have played games for many years will still rediscover some magic within these pages. Very good product.
[5 of 5 Stars!]