Tabletop Review: Castles & Crusades: A Shattered Night

Castles & Crusades: A Shattered Night
Publisher: Troll Lord Games
Cost: $4.99
Page Count: 26
Release Date: 07/08/2014
Get it Here: DriveThruRPG.com

A Shattered Night is the latest adventure in the “F” series for Castles & Crusades. These adventures take place in a fantasy version of Post-Roman Britain. This includes adventures like The Goblins of Mount Shadow, The Crimson Pact and of course, To Kill a King, the winner of last year’s “Best Adventure (Solo)” award.

A Shattered Night is a pretty open ended affair where the PCs attempt to save a kidnapped princesses from an unsavory Saxon prince. The adventure is designed for two to four players whose characters range between levels 4-6. I think a Rogue, Druid, Ranger and Assassin would all be quite helpful in this piece, as the adventure is one that is as much stealth as it is combat, and much of the adventure takes place in the woods or outside. The adventure is divided into three parts: getting to the princess, storming the location where the princess is held, and then saving the princess. The first part is mostly left up to the CK. Random encounters and some specific events are provided in the adventure, but the Castle Keeper will really need to flesh things out. as well as have a plan in place for how they want this first act to flow. In this first act you might encounter everything from a friendly giant to an ally who just seems to make a mess of all the PCs well-laid plans. You might even encounter a certain Nordic All-Father. There is definitely a lot of good stuff here, but you’ll want a more experienced Keeper to connect the dots between all these pieces.

Act Two is essentially a very straight-forward dungeon crawl. Of course, the dungeon is actually a well-stocked and heavily guarded castle, complete with 100 well trained soldiers and a powerful witch, so this is, again, where stealth is just as important as NPC slaughter for A Shattered Night. There are a lot of magic items to be found here, but there are also a lot of monsters or enemy soldiers looking to disembowel you, so risk vs reward is a huge part of this section of the adventure. The third act is saving the princess and escaping enemy territory. There is a bit of a plot twist here, but nothing super shocking or “Vince Russo-Esque.” If players can abscond back to the country that hired them, riches, fame and rewards await them. If they can’t… well, they will probably die horribly.

The adventure feels a bit short and is not something you want to give to a new or inexperienced C&C Keeper, but it is a very fun one. There are many ways to tackle this adventure. We’ve already covered stealth and straight forward combat, but you’d be surprised how good the gift of gab can be with this adventure. A highly charismatic PC with some lucky rolls could actually make it so the adventures have to do little, if any, of the messier side of A Shattered Night. Players will also walk away from this adventure with some potential new allies and/or various enemies who will be seeking revenge on them soon. With several dangling plot threads in this piece, an enterprising Keeper can definitely spin this off in several different ways.

Besides the adventure in its own right, A Shattered Night also gives us a slight preview of the upcoming Codex Germania, which should delight fans of Codex Celtarum and Codex Nordica. There are also six new monsters provided in the back of this adventure, ranging from a shape-shifting cat demon that can shoot vampiric butterflies out of its mouth to a two headed hell hound. All of these monsters are fine additions to the Castles & Crusades rogue’s gallery.

In all, A Shattered Night is fine adventure. You don’t have to be familiar with any of the previous F series adventures to understand or enjoy this one. It works just fine as a standalone or as part of a continuing campaign utilizing the full series. About the only real complaint I have about the piece is the territorial map on page seven is exceptionally blurry and you can’t really make out the words on it. This is a very minor issue though. Other than that, this adventure is a short affair that should keep you and your friends busy for a session or two. It’s not the most memorable Castles & Crusades adventure, but it is an entertaining one that you will definitely get your money’s worth out of.

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