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DDEX1-11 Dark Pyramid of Sorcerer’s Isle (5e) $4.99
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Greg T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/15/2019 19:48:07

A confusing mess, best avoided

Dark Pyramid of Sorcerer's Isle has a good idea - revisiting the Pyramid of Yarash, previously featured in the Pool of Radiance videogame and novel. It's a semi-iconic location, and an Adventurer's League set in Phlan is a great time to do it. Unfortunately, almost every aspect of the actual module doesn't work.

(1) The adventure simply doesn't make sense given its placement in the Adventurer's League season. Phlan has just fallen, and in the immediate previous adventure (and in the season finale) getting out of the city is now hard, requiring an entire adventure to achieve. But players here are able to pop out and back for a leisurely jaunt upriver to check out something of marginal relevance to anyone in Phlan.

(2) The trip up the river is pointless busywork, best skipped.

(3) The lower level of the pyramid features an unmappable maze where players must face a certain number of random encounters to progress. This is lazy design, and is transparently frustrating to players. Some of these random encounters are interesting; most are not.

(4) The module theoretically features substantially different pathways depending on which entrance players make use of to the pyramid. In practice, these pathways are only marginally different but require double-printing many encounters. The reality is that there's a path that favours talking and a path that favours fighting, and a good GM should be orienting the adventure to their players' preference anyway.

(5) The adventure features (spoilers) Slaads, a rarely-used and interesting foe, but it doesn't use them terribly well. They're one faction in the pyramid, along with lizardfolk, Red Wizards and cultists, but the adventure is overly prone to fights featuring a single class of enemy, leaving them vulnerable to having their weaknesses exploited rather than demonstrating their strengths. (The wizards don't have any tanks, the slaads don't have any range, etc.)

(6) There's a weightless sense about the whole adventure, that none of it really matters or has consequences for anyone. Plus, there's just too much going on in the pyramid - too many factions, whose motives are too poorly explained, even in GM text, and moreso once you consider how to impart what information exists to the players.

In the end, this turned out to be the weakest adventure in Season 1 of Adventurer's League for our group, and one we were eager to hurry through and be done with. Not recommended.

[2 of 5 Stars!]
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DDEX1-11 Dark Pyramid of Sorcerer’s Isle (5e)
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