A Review of the Roleplaying Game Supplement The Crucible of Freya

The Crucible of Freya by Clark Peterson and Bill Webb is a role playing game supplement published by Necromancer Games. The adventure is intended for use with Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition and, as such, is covered by the Open Game License with some parts of it considered to be Open Game Content. The adventure is intended to be an introductory adventure for 4-6 characters of levels 1-2.

This is a 50 page bookmarked PDF which is available from RPGNow for $3.50 as the PDF, $7.99 as a print on demand softcover and both PDF and softcover combined for $7.99. Print editions can also be found from places such as Amazon and it is one of the products included in the Necromancer World Collection, which is how it was purchased and at the reduced price of $18 for the collection. Two pages are full colour front and rear covers, one page is the front matter, one page the Open Game License and one page an ad for other products.

The Crucible of FreyaThe supplement starts with the Introduction, which gives some background to the adventure, an overview of it and how it is linked to The Wizard’s Amulet, notes for the Dungeon Master, how to modify it and how to begin, again referencing The Wizard’s Amulet.

Part One is Areas of Adventure. This takes up 25 pages of the PDF, as well as another four pages of black and white maps which are probably in the centre pages of the original printed version. This section has the local wilderness, corresponding to the map, a wandering monster table and four monster lairs.

Next in this section is the village of Fairhill itself, the base for the adventure. This is also mapped and has details on its demographics as well as rumours, notable locations and important non-player characters, some of whom can be used as replacements if any player characters die during the adventure. There is a sidebar on the deity Freya, after whom the adventure is named.

The Ruined Keep is the last area, and this describes a keep from which orc raiders attack the village and steal the titular crucible. The keep is run by a priest of Orcus (a sidebar is provided on Necromancer Games’ favourite demon lord) who has come here from Rappan Athuk.

Part Two is The Crucible of Freya, the actual adventure, and this is eleven pages long. This deals with running the locations from Part One. It starts with the arrival of the characters in Fairhill and their initial dealings in the village and is then divided into four acts. The first is the theft of the Crucible and the players being asked to recover it, the second is their pursuit of the orc raiding party, the third is attacking the keep and the fourth is returning to Fairhill. Depending on the players’ actions, especially in Act II, what they find at the keep may vary depending on how long they took, whether any alarm was raised and what changes there may be as a result of these, giving a fair different potential outcomes.

Next is a page of Supplemental Information, which gives some additional side quests that could be set in Fairhill and continuing the adventure.

Finally, Appendix One: Monsters collects the stats for a number of standard creatures encountered in one place; more important ones have their stats in the text itself.

The Crucible of Freya in Review

The PDF lacks either bookmarks or a table of contents, making navigation definitely subpar in the electronic format. The text maintains a two column format and only a couple of errors were noticed with the text itself. However, the supplement is stated as being an original electronics file; however, it actually appears to be based from a scan, as the text is blurred in a number of areas. In addition, the text that the DM is intended to read aloud to players is on a dark background, and is harder to read than it should be. There are a number of black and white illustrations, as well as the maps, and these appear appropriate to the associated text.

The adventure is based around a village which is located close to the city of Bard’s Gate. It is also in the Stoneheart Mountains, which are the location for The Tomb of Abysthor, and that dungeon is intended to be the next place to visit, and there are also references to Rappan Athuk, as the priest of Orcus hails from that megadungeon. This can therefore be used as part of an extensive campaign using available material, but Fairhill can also be easily be dropped into another location.

The Crucible of Freya was originally published under the d20 license but, with the revocation of that, it is now available under the OGL. Although aimed at D&D 3rd Edition, it should be possible to convert it to Pathfinder, perhaps with more work than would be needed for D&D 3.5.

There are quite a few references to material that can be downloaded from the Necromancer Games website to enhance play; handouts, maps and other items. Unfortunately, that site no longer exists and, although it may be possible to get some content from the WayBackMachine, other content appears to be lost. However, spending time on the WayBackMachine looking up the Necromancer Games site on it can retrieve some material. In particular, this adventure is intended to follow on from The Wizard’s Amulet which was available for free from the site. A free, D&D 5E version is available from Frog God Games‘ site, but the D&D 3rd Edition version does not appear to be. That adventure, plus this, and the third in the series, the Tomb of Abysthor, can be found in collected editions available for Pathfinder and Swords & Wizardry, The Lost Land: Stoneheart Valley. The Wizard’s Amulet has been found here https://web-beta.archive.org/web/20120315103359/http://www.necromancergames.com/freestuff.html and the supplementary material for Crucible here https://web-beta.archive.org/web/20120315122810/http://www.necromancergames.com/prod_support.html.

This may be intended to be an introductory adventure but, following the tendency of Necromancer Games, this does not mean safe or easy. It definitely has the potential to be quite lethal. Given the number of different ways in which players could go about the attack on the keep, it is definitely recommended that a GM study those options carefully and be prepared to make changes on the fly. The introductory part would appear to be more for players than GMs.

The biggest problems are not directly related to the adventure itself; they are related to problems with the PDF and with having to search for the supplementary material. Other than that, The Crucible of Freya is a decent, if dangerous, start to a campaign with the potential for a number of side quests or integration into a larger campaign and it can be found by clicking here.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close