If you’re like me, then you probably have played through many published adventures for role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons. If you’re not like me, then let’s say you are attractive, in your twenties or thirties, and have long flowing locks of beautiful hair. Let’s also say that you are wealthy because you made really good financial decisions very early on in your life. While we are at it, let’s say that you are at the beach, sitting in a comfortable chair with a refreshing beverage. Okay, that’s settled.
Now let’s return to talking about published adventures. Published adventures have been a preferred side dish for your RPG meal since players set out In Search of the Unknown, which if I remember correctly was when I first learned that mushrooms could scream. Published adventures allow a dungeon master, or DM, or Crazy Person, to quickly provide highly detailed stories and locations for their players to manipulate in ways that are weird, unexpected, and headache inducing. Dealing with these manipulations is one of the best things about being a DM, in my opinion.
The Five Temples of the Earthmother, written by Shawn Merwin and Christopher Sniezak is a very good adventure that’s available for 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons. About a year ago, some friends and I decided to stop attending our weekly Adventurer’s League meeting and set out on building our own homebrew Dungeons and Dragons campaign. We chose the Forgotten Realms as our setting and thought we would focus on a region known as the Moonshae Isles. You can tell that it’s an extra special part of the Forgotten Realms because it ends with that cool ae thing.
While searching for resources that would help me get things rolling, I found the aforementioned adventure at DriveThruRPG.com in The Dungeon Master’s Guild. Not only was it set in the Moonshae Isles but it seemed like a good starting place for low-level adventurers. Shawn Merwin was a familiar name from 4th edition Dungeons & Dragons and the art looked good, so through the magic of internet commerce, I exchanged my $4.95 for a 21 page watermarked pdf.
The adventure places the players on the island of Alaron, and immediately gives them a reason to go adventuring. There are goblins attacking travelers on the King’s road, the Great Druid has gone missing, and the Earthmother is bringing back five lost temples from the Feywild, which is like another dimension. Two of these temples, the Temple of Life and the Temple of the Moon, are featured in this adventure with some nifty maps and illustrations. In addition, there are some unique monsters included, which is always a bonus, especially when dealing with experienced players
The adventure promises up to 12 hours of game play, and that was actually pretty accurate for my group. This is definitely a quest style linear adventure, so if you are looking for a sandbox style of play resource, you should probably keep looking. All in all you get 21 pages of well written and beautifully illustrated adventure. You certainly get more than your money’s worth. I think this is an excellent adventure and I highly recommend it if you want to run a game in the Moonshaes.
I have one complaint. The adventure was supposed to be part one of two, and part two was advertised as being available in 2016. Well, it wasn’t available then and at the posting of this review, it still isn’t available. It’s not the end of the world, but I felt like I had to integrate the events and rumors that were established in the adventure into my own ongoing story, and there are so many unanswered questions. Like why the #@&% is the Great Druid missing? What were the other three temples? I’ve got the life and moon temples, so what’s next? Sun and stars? Trees, lakes, and shrubs? What would a lost shrub temple look like? What would the players have to do in The Temple of Lost Shrubs?
DM – “You escaped the hedge maze. Now what do you do?”
Player – “I find the poisoned moonwell and use my +1 shears of snipping to sculpt the large juniper bush into the shape of a mermaid.”
DM – “Excellent! You earned an additional 100 XP and you get advantage on your next ornamental horticulture roll.”
Everyone – “Huzzah!”
We’ve since moved on into a more sandbox style of play, based on the forces that are at play in my plot outline. I managed to come up with answers to all of the nagging questions raised in The Five Temples of the Earth Mother, except one. I have no clue why the Great Druid is missing. I’m sure I will come up with something at some point. If you are an expert on the Forgotten Realms and would like to send me some ideas then leave a comment after this post or contact me through Twitter @gameguythinks.