Ssendam's Dungeons & Dragons Scenario Reviews

The Lair of Maldred the Mighty

Author : Mark Byng
Publishing Details : The Best of White Dwarf Scenarios - Volume II (Pub 1983)
Levels / Number : "Moderately High Level" - ? Sheesh ! I would say 6-8 PC's of 6-8th level
Synopsis of Plot : Mighty wizard finds an evil book that will transform him into a major demon, (Ooops I mean of course Tanar'ri)...(no wrong again it's back to demon!). However the process takes 100 years and during that time Maldred remains in a "cocoon". Travel to Maldred's Lair, find him and kill him before the transformation is complete.
The Adventure :

This is a first class adventure. The wizard's lair has been constructed in such a way that it has two distinct hallmarks. The first is that design, contents and hazards can be created by a high level wizard using your bog standard core rules. In other words there are no "Bolts of Pure energy" or similar phenomenon that don't feature in a wizard's spell book or in the rules. Some might see that as a bad point in that there is less originality in the dungeon but that is not the case. It nicely illustrates how a well thought out wizard's lair can be a challenging environment.

The second hallmark is realism, (well in so far as a world full of magic can appear real). You won't find any convienent secret riddles to inexplicably help the PC's here. Instead it's a wizard's lair, designed to keep people out but suffering the neglect of 100 years.

The detail in the dungeon is some of the best I've seen, and I don't mean quantity I mean relevant detail i.e. (a small example) a ring found by the PC's "If the rotted remains of the gauntlets are removed, then a ring will be revealed on each skeletal hand. On the left is a copper band holding a small transparent blue stone (identifiable by as aquamarine and assessed as being 100gp in value; actually it is a ring of XXXXXXXX)". Overall the scenario makes an excellent atmosphere with the feeling that there is a great story being uncovered.

It's difficult not to give anything away as the story is straight forward and any deeper discussion will involve talking about specific situations and traps. Instead it's a sort of Tomb of Horrors but becuase the challenges come out of game mechanics accessable by the players you don't feel a sense of "luck of the draw" when you tackle problems.

Good Points : Many ! High in relevant detail with challenging, (and often dangerous), problems to overcome.
Bad Points : Errrrr well White Dwarf printed it in very small type so it's awkward to read ... Well what do ya expect I gave it 4 1/2 stars!!!!!!
Stars out of Five : Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Half Star
Reviewed by : Justin
Justin Unsworth - copyright 2007