When I was first approached about a review for Attack on Coppercoil I immediately wondered if it was something to do with Eberron. Coppercoil instilled visions of cogs and complex machines. But, it turns out that Coppercoil is the name of a gnome settlement (choose any setting you like) that has been attacked by a gang of duergar. (I’m not saying the title is misleading. I think I just had Eberron on my mind after reviewing Sharn, the Missing Schema and other titles.) This conflict is the titular attack on Coppercoil.
Attack on Coppercoil
Writer: Tal Aviezer, (edited by R.P. Davis)
Publisher: DMs Guild
Product Length: 42 pages
At its core, the module is a deep exploration extravaganza. Coppercoil is a gnomish “castle” built into the trunk of a massive sequoia tree. Presumably, Coppercoil lived in peace and prosperity since founded by Rooni Larderspice. However, duergar tunneled into the settlement from below attacked it without provocation. And when I say it was recently attacked I mean this attack occurred only hours ago. Rooni maintains a hibernaculum of messenger bats and has dispatched them with a distress call attached. If the players hurry, they may find fresh clues or even the culprits who did this.
I love the idea of a gnomish castle in a tree. With Coppercoil, Tal Aviezer gives us an interesting setting that can serve as a recurring place of interest for several sessions to come. Even outside of this module, DMs would do well to remember Coppercoil not only for its place on a map but also as inspiration for creating new and fascinating places of their own.
Duergar attacking this fortification from underneath reminds us of the castle moat’s intent: to flood out anyone who would tunnel beneath the castle’s walls. But that’s real life and I’m not sure a moat would have stopped this particular attack on Coppercoil since the duergar came from the Underdark. But it brings up a larger point that things should be included only if there is a reason for it. Everything about this adventure is thoughtful and intentional.
This is not a short module and I was wondering if that meant a long and arduous read was in store for me. However, it hits the ground running and reads easily and expressively.
All in all, the production is solid. R.P. Davis did great with editing but I’m not in love with the layout. I’m familiar with Travis Legge’s work with layouts and this is not his strongest work. The text boxes feel cramped and the red text is a bad shade to contrast with the background. I didn’t really have a problem with other positioning of images or margins. But I feel like it could have been better overall.
Lastly, some of the art feels off when you consider it all as a whole. The cover is great and the interior art, when considered individually, is fine too. But the contrasting styles really start to stand out after a while, especially when a particular image doesn’t have a transparent background. The map of Coppercoil is nice (and I LOVE that it was included right up front!) but could have either been scaled down some or filled in with other things for the players to involve themselves in.
Design is where Attack on Coppercoil really shines. Coppercoil is a captivating place. I like the pulleys, zip-lines, dumbwaiters, concealed entrances, and the hibernaculum. It all comes together to feel very gnomish. The scalable encounters and suggestions for how those encounters play out is great. New monsters/NPCs, treasures, and poisons will keep things refreshing.
Simply stated, go buy this adventure. My complaints on production notwithstanding, this is a great example of an adventure with several exploration opportunities as well as nearly limitless roleplaying. The encounters will be meaningful and memorable. And if your group can help Coppercoil, they may create lifelong allies that can be invaluable to them in the future.
4.6 stars (of course, I’ll have to round).