Ssendam's Dungeons & Dragons Scenario Reviews


UK5 : All That Glitters ...

Author : Jim Bambra
Publishing Details : TSR Module UK6
Levels / Number : 5 to 8 characters of 3rd-5th Level
Blurb : The dark jungle trees loom above you and the scent of tropical blooms hangs heavy on the windless air. Overhead, brightly coloured birds wheel and dip angrily as you raise a waterskin to your lips.

Still as you push on, carefully following the river-bank and the fragments of your map. Those scraps of parchment came from this jungle - of that you are sure - the carving they had been carelessly wrapped around was the work of local natives. Now you have left those peaceful craftsmen far behind and the map has led you no towards the uncharted territory of the murderous Atem.

Ahead the river breaks into white water. These must be the rapids marked on the map. Reaching into your pouch, you draw out the fragments of the parchment, and once again your mind drifts ahead to your ultimate goal - the treasures promised at the journey's end. Riches! And hopefully an end to this stifling, humid jungle.

Can you unravel the map's mysteries and find your way to the promised treasure? Or will your dreams end only in death and an unmarked grave far from home!
The Module :

The adventure starts when the PC's discover an ancient map in the wrapping on a small wooden statuette. Now most groups don't take these things for granted so any DM worth his salt is going to have to make sure that the map generates enough interest for the PC's to follow it up and the scenario doesn't really help with this. The map shows the path through a tropical jungle and a secret pathway to a hidden valley where it hints untold riches are to be found.

Essentially a 4 part adventure starting with a trek through the jungle and various battles with local natives. It then leads to a magical tunnel, built by an ancient civilisation now all but forgotten, that turns passengers into wind and blows them at high speed down the tunnel. At the end of the tunnel they find a once lush and fertile land now a desert nestling inside the mountains deep in the jungle. Here live the descendants of the people who built the mountain passageway and the party must find their way past them to an ancient temple and untold riches?

What I love about this adventure is the variety, the 4 distinct parts make it interesting for the players. At the same time it is well written and a true ready to run story. Slotting this in to existing campaigns might be tricky as you need to have Jungle and Mountains on your map. I ran mine in the Forgotten realms and so Chult was a perfect location ... but then you have to get the PC's there somehow.

Best Action Remembered : As the PC's enter the temple towards the end of the scenario they were attacked by hordes of zombies. The party stood to fight but were soon being overwhelmed as they were attacked from all sides. They turned and fled to some ruins. One party member, a half-orc who no-one really liked even though he was of a good alignment, could not escape and as the party turned back they saw him disappear under a mass of Zombies who tore him apart. And the moral of the story is: that even though the PC's were of a high enough level to easily take on the Zombies, the players were experienced and had a fair number of magical items they were beaten back with losses. Which shows that you should always be careful. I hasten to add he was covering the others retreat.
Good Points : Excellent use of the jungle environment and then in the secret valley a desert, nice combo. There is a special magic gateway to take the PC's from the Jungle, through the mountains to the lost valley. This gateway and the halls surrounding it is 1/3rd of the adventure and is excellent. The scenario gives the feel that the players are visiting a once great civilisation now destroyed. Handouts are provided in the module.
Bad Points : I only feel that more could have been made of the jungle side of the adventure, realistically there is only so much room and it is jam packed.
Stars out of Five : Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star
Other Notes : TSR produced a series of UK modules, running from UK1 to UK7 (I think). I am only missing UK1, but all the other modules I found very good with this one being my favourite.
Reviewed by :Justin -
Justin Unsworth - copyright 2007