Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Module Review: The Aielund Saga I - Nature Abhors a Vacuum

I'll never get tired of that castle.
It's been a while since I've posted, but the reason is that I've been playing Aielund 1.  It's a pretty long module compared to the others I've been playing, and is plenty challenging.  And my play time has been reduced to a few nights per week these past weeks because of the demands of my teaching load.

In any case, I finally finished it tonight.  It was a thrill.  Here are my comments.
My vote: 9.5 - Excellent, Recommended to Anyone
My character: lv 1 dwarf fighter, reached level 8 by the end of the module.
I voted on this module, under a different name (Brandiles), back in April 2005.  I just finished playing through a second time, which allowed me to experience all of the new updates to the module.  These include the fantastic tilesets that debuted with Darkness over Daggerford, as well as a bunch of new touches and features.  It's been long enough that I remembered very little of the module, so I felt like I was able to experience it all again for the first time.
Wasn't expecting to find you guys down here...

The strengths of this module are numerous.  Combat is engaging, challenging, but feasible--especially if you pay attention to your usable items.  The story is well delivered, though is a bit railroaded at the beginning before opening up considerably.  The ending is more or less on rails too, but the story compels this and it seems natural.  The characters, and especially the henchmen, are real delights, with well-defined personalities that add flavor throughout the module.  And the module's final chapter really cranks up the intensity, and ends in a dramatic final encounter against a principle enemy that was staged well and was gratifying.
In the end, any critiques I can offer are pretty minor.  I wish I somehow had more opportunity to learn about the main villain in this module, because named foes are pretty rare in this module and it seemed as though he was interesting (though I vaguely remember him coming up again later in the series).  I also wish there was a bit more choice in the early goings.  In particular, it seemed like there should have been an option to circle around the town once you gain access to the exterior.  I understand the design reasons for it, but I don't think this was well articulated.
Overall, it's just an excellent module, and is a tremendous kickoff for the series.  I'm looking forward to rediscovering the next one!

Some other screenies after the jump:

Horses!  Not that I got to ride them...

Swarms of foes

Ogres are brutal.


I heart this tileset

That's what a church should be.

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