A Review of the Role Playing Game Supplement Fane of the Undying Sleeper Collector’s Edition

Fane of the Undying Sleeper Collector’s Edition by Creighton Broadhurst is a role playing game supplement published by Raging Swan Press for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. As such, it is covered by the Open Game Licence with some parts considered to be Open Game Content as a result. This is an adventure for 3rd level characters and is a revised version of Fane of the Undying Sleeper. The adventure and nearby village have been integrated into the Duchy of Ashlar and the Gloamhold setting.

The supplement is available from RPGNow for $5.95 for the PDF, $10.99 for the softcover print on demand book and $12.98 for PDF and book. The PDF is the version reviewed, although it was purchased at the greatly reduced price of $0.52 as part of a special bundle. The PDF comes in two versions, one optimised for screen and mobile and the other for print and desktop.

Fane of the Undying Sleeper Collector's EditionThis is a 42 page bookmarked PDF. Two pages are Raging Swan’s standard plain front and rear covers, one page is an ad for their Patreon campaign, one page an ad for their website, one page the front matter, one page the Contents, Stat Blocks by CR and Foreword, one page a standard one on Reading Stat Blocks, one page an ad for Gloamhold and one page the Open Game License.

What Has Gone Before is a single page and gives a brief history of the shrine, once occupied by a cult of sahuagin and skum until they had a falling out. Half the page gives details on the god Dagon, whom the cult worshipped and who has been seen in other Raging Swan supplements, with a brief sidebar on substituting another suitable deity.

New Template: Deformed Creature is another page and gives details on creating such – many of the villagers possess it – and the effects it has.

The Adventure Begins is three pages. This has a map of the Duchy of Ashlar in the vicinity of the fane, various hooks to get the characters to start the adventure and a d8 table of rumours, some true, some false, relating to the fane. There is a section on how to facilitate play in the village and some suggestions for other adventures. Finally, there is a list of various activities that can be done in this depressing place.

The Village of Coldwater is essentially Village Backdrop: Coldwater, which has now been added to the adventure, and starts with a full page title.

Two pages give background on Coldwater, demographics, marketplace, notable NPCs and locations, lore and whispers & rumours. The latter is focused on the village itself. There is also a map of the village. This section can be found in the free GM’s Monthly Miscellany: August 2015.

Notable Locations is two pages and covers the ten locations from the previous section in more detail, with a sidebar on the sea deity worshipped at the local chapel.

Life in Coldwater is the final page, covering trade & industry, law & order and a d6 table of random events, together with two stat blocks, one for a normal villager and one for a deformed villager.

Next is The Fane, which is the adventure itself. This starts with another full page title and the first thing is getting to the fane itself, which is reached by a sunken stair that is only revealed a few times per year, it being underwater the rest of the time. The cove it is located in must be reached as well, and getting there by boat and climbing are considered, with d8 tables of events and discoveries for travelling by boat and a combined d8 table for climbing.

Then there is the fane itself. Although small, each area has substantial details, with descriptions of the constituents of each area as well as clues that can be found by those looking for them. The fane is really well detailed.

There is an interlude in this section detailing what happens as the tide rises; characters have only a limited amount of time to search the fane.

The conclusion of the adventure has suggestions for more adventures – different from those suggested in Coldwater – and stats for two Dagon cultists that could be encountered in such.

The final section is player material, which starts with another full page title. There are six pre-generated 3rd level characters and a couple of pages on how combat and movement are affected by water.

Fane of the Undying Sleeper Collector’s Edition in Review

The PDF is well bookmarked with the various major and minor sections linked, although the sidebars are not. The Contents are less thorough, but navigation is on the whole very good.

The text maintains a two column format and no errors were noticed. As well as the various maps, there are several black and white illustrations, some of which would appear to be either stock or reused (the portraits of the pre-generated characters are distinctively done by Larry Elmore). Presentation is very good.

The primary difference between this version and the original would appear to be the integration of the village of Coldwater into it, and the tying to the Gloamhold setting. Coldwater, with its strange and often deformed village folk, distance from everywhere else and proximity to the sea and its involvement with smuggling and, perhaps, piracy, practically screams as being the base of operations of some type of sinister cult (think Innsmouth). So it isn’t; a nice subversion of a Lovecraftian trope that players may not realise.

The fane itself is a beautifully described small dungeon, and one in which there can be definite time pressure. Taking too long can drown the characters; coming back later can mean that any items that weren’t found on the first visit have been destroyed by water. The combats are fairly standard, but they do all have methods of scaling them up and down, making them more flexible. There is a potentially dangerous encounter with Dagon’s idol, but there are clues about how to survive that.

Fane of the Undying Sleeper Collector’s Edition is a good, small dungeon with an attached village and quite a few adventure hooks, and it can be found by clicking here.

 

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