Tabletop Review: The Ruins of Old Soguer (4e)
by Frank Williams on February 5, 2013

The Ruins of Old Soguer (4e)
Publisher: Unicorn Rampant Publishing
Page Count: 77
Cost: $7.99 (PDF)
Release Date: 6/20/2012
Get it Here: RPGNow.com

The Ruins of Old Soguer (pronounced so’-qwair according to the adventure text) is an adventure for Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition for characters of levels 10-11. It is a location-based adventure that is part of a larger campaign called The Heir of Soguer, but can be a standalone adventure as well.

The story begins when the young heir to the defunct Kingdom of Soguer has conquered one of the counties of that kingdom. When he asked the local religious leader to coronate him as the next king so that he can reunite the kingdom, they refused. A vision had told the priests that he could not be king until his grandfather’s sword and crown were recovered. The adventure starts when a call goes out for heroes to recover the sword and crown from the ruins of the kingdom’s old capital city. The heroes (i.e. the PCs) must travel to the city and bring back the artifacts.

The premise is very simple and straightforward. Because of that, this adventure could be dropped into just about any campaign setting. All you need is an area with a kingdom that has fallen apart and needs to be reunited. With the level of this adventure set at 10-11, this adventure could be a capstone adventure for a heroic-tier campaign set around this ruined kingdom.

The adventure seems reasonably well written, but one thing that turned me off a little bit is the overall amateurish look of the adventure. The artwork is cartoony and the monster stat blocks do not follow the 4e monster stat block formatting. The stat blocks are all green without the organization by action type common in 4e.

Speaking of stat blocks, there are very few in this adventure, so anyone running it has to do some homework to have the stats for each creature on hand while running the adventure. I am sure the authors did not want to violate copyright law by writing down official 4e stats for these monsters, but they could have created their own tweaked versions of these monsters. This adventure would be much more useful if stat blocks for creatures were included.

Some of the monsters chosen are not good choices for a 10-11th level adventure. In one case, a group of 5th level monsters are used when level appropriate minions would have been better. In another spot, a level 22 standard monster was used as a solo creature. The authors could have created a 13th level solo version of this creature. In the former case, the 5th level monsters have defenses and attack bonuses too low to be of any threat to the PCs, and in the latter case, the 22nd level monster would have defenses and attack numbers too high for the encounter to be interesting. For example, a typical 10th level PC has an attack bonus around +15-16, and would need an 18 or 19 to hit this monster. Most 4e players do not like missing that much. One of the custom monsters in the adventure has a similar AC.

Now let’s look closer at the adventure itself. The adventure is broken down into three parts:

Part 1: The Journey to Soguer
Part 2: The Ruins of Old Soguer
Part 3: The Fall of Soguer

Part 1 has the PCs travel down a river and through a swamp to get to the ruined city. This is a short section with only a couple encounters. The first thing that stands out to me here is that there is only one way given to reach the city of Soguer. It seems that, if this city were the kingdom’s capital in the lifetime of the young heir’s grandfather, there should be some roads going there also. If I were going to run this adventure, I would expand on the area and provide alternate routes for the party to reach the city.

Part 2 is the heart of the adventure. It details the ruins of the old city and the dangerous monsters that have taken up residence since its fall. This is my favorite part of the adventure. This part could even be taken out and used for a generic ruined city in any campaign setting. This part takes up about half of the adventure text, and overall is very well done (except for the previously mention problems with the monster selections and stat blocks). There is sufficient detail for a sandbox exploring of the city without any mission for the PCs beyond treasure hunting.

Part 3 is the climax of the adventure, and has the PC travel to the land of the dead to retrieve the deceased king’s sword and crown. This is an interesting twist that should be very unexpected by the players involved in the adventure. The final confrontation with the king gives the PCs the option of a skill challenge to convince him to relinquish his sword and crown, or if that fails (or the PCs decide not to use that option), they can fight him (and his dragon).

At the end of the adventure there is a new magic item: The Flask of Renewal. This item gives you the option of drinking a small sip each day to act as a healing potion, or draining the entire thing for a huge healing boost once, but it ceases to function. I give them a thumbs up for this nice little item.

In summary, there is a lot to like in this adventure. Especially for someone like me that likes to take general story ideas and pieces of adventure and mash them together with pieces of other adventures. However, whether it is run like that or as intended, it will require some DM work to pull monster stats (which is not too hard to do if you have a DDi account) and redesign a few encounters to make them more level appropriate.

The price tag of $7.99 seems a little steep for this adventure, especially with the release of official 4e adventure PDFs through www.dndclassic.com for around the same price, and older edition adventures that could be converted for a lower price, but in the end I would recommend it since it is a decent adventure for under ten bucks.



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