A Review of the Role Playing Game Supplement Side Quests IV: The School of Sorcerous Arts

Side Quests IV: The School of Sorcerous Arts is a role playing game supplement published by Art of War Games. This is one in their Side Quests series of short adventures, although this is one of the longer, and therefore comparatively more expensive, ones. The supplement is listed as being D&D 5E compatible and is covered by the Open Game License, with the result that some of it is considered to be Open Game Content. It gives an overview of a town and a nearby adventure location, the school, which suffered a catastrophic event in the past.

Side Quests IV: The School of Sorcerous ArtsThis is a ten page PDF which lacks bookmarks. It is available from RPGNow at the regular price of $2 but was purchased at the reduced price of $1.40. One page of the supplement is the colour cover and one page the Open Game License.

Around two and a quarter pages are an overview of the settlement of Binala, which is located close to the titular school. There are some details of the town, its rulers and government, local goings on and a tavern. The tavern has details on the innkeeper, menu and a patron. Then there are details on a rival adventuring band, giving their name, race, appearance, class and motivations. Finally, this section has three rumours and details on whether they are true or false.

Next is a full page map of the school or, rather, the underground part of it that survived the catastrophe. Around two and two thirds pages then detail the various locations in the school.

Lastly, around two pages give the stats for the various NPCs in the adventuring party that were mentioned earlier.

The supplement lacks bookmarks and, although they aren’t essential for a supplement of this length, they would have been nice. The text maintains a two column format and a number of spelling and grammatical mistakes were noticed. A bigger problem with this publisher’s supplements is the inability to search them or use copy & paste; the latter not so important but the former a bit of a problem. Apart from the cover, the only illustration is the map, which is plain but serviceable.

The adventure is aimed at D&D 5E but only stats for the NPCs are provided; the various monsters encountered are just given a reference which is presumably for a page in the Monster Manual, although this isn’t stated anywhere. The adventure could be adapted to other similar systems without too much trouble.

The adventure location itself is a fairly decent dungeon crawl. It is unclear as to why the nearby town and a tavern needed detailing; the settlement isn’t really covered in enough detail to make it truly useful and means that any GM using the adventure elsewhere has a chunk of wasted space.

Overall, Side Quests IV: The School of Sorcerous Arts is a nice little adventure, but the problems with the PDF, the fact that it isn’t as long as might be expected due to the, potentially irrelevant, town details, all decrease its utility, especially when compared to the cheaper entrants in this series, and it can be found by clicking here.

 

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