Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Risen from the Sands


This year's Free RPG Day took place on the 21st of last month. Like most years, Paizo released a short adventure for it. This year's is Risen from the Sands by Rob McCreary (the pdf is available for free at the link). It's a short dungeon crawl playable in just a few hours (probably only one session for most groups). Set in Osirion, it works well as either a one-off adventure or as a brief interlude in an ongoing campaign.

There's not really anything about Risen from the Sands that makes one go “Wow!” It's a straight-forward adventure that's not particularly original and has nothing that really makes it stand out from other adventures. However, there's nothing particularly bad about the adventure either. It does its job and it does it competently. With a skilful GM, it will provide a few hours of fun for any group.

SPOILERS FOLLOW

The adventure involves the PCs exploring the tomb of Sekh-pa-Mefer III (also known as the Pharaoh of Sphinxes), which has recently been uncovered in the area of the Osirion Desert known as the Parched Dunes. It opens with the adventurers already at the entrance of the tomb, allowing GMs to provide their own incentives for their PCs to go there. A boxed-text introduction is provided for those using the adventure as a one-off instead of part of a longer campaign. Within the tomb, the PCs encounter a number of traps, constructs, and other obstacles as they try to find their way to the burial chamber of the Pharaoh of Sphinxes.

There is a definite thematic overlap with the current Adventure Path, Mummy's Mask. Indeed, the Parched Dunes figure as a location in Mummy's Mask, and therefore one might expect that it would make a suitable side quest for groups running that adventure path. Unfortunately, Risen from the Sands is designed for 3rd-level characters. By the time characters in Mummy's Mask reach the Parched Dunes in Shifting Sands, they will already be 9th level, and the challenges of Sekh-pa-Mefer's tomb will be child's play for them. It seems a bit of a shame to me that this opportunity for crossover was ignored. It's not a big deal and it doesn't ruin the adventure in any way. It just would have been a nice added touch.

While Risen from the Sands may ignore the opportunity to advertise Mummy's Mask, it certainly doesn't ignore another advertising opportunity: the forthcoming Advanced Class Guide. The adventure comes with four pregenerated characters, each of which is one of the classes from the new book, providing a bit of a sneak peak at these classes. The characters include Crowe, the bloodrager; Quinn, the investigator; Jirelle, the swashbuckler; and Oloch, the warpriest. While a look at these classes will be a big draw for many people, for me, the Advanced Class Guide is probably my least-anticipated Pathfinder book so far. I don't really see the need for these new classes (there will be ten total in the book). However, I'll leave that to my eventual review of that book. There's nothing about Risen from the Sands, however, that requires the new classes or the pregenerated characters. It can easily be run with any of the standard classes from the Core Rulebook or other sources.

Overall, Risen from the Sands makes a decent one-off adventure that GMs can use to fill a single session. While it may not be the kind of adventure players will talk about for ages afterwards, it should still keep them suitably entertained.

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