To follow my review of Yeryl’s Super Happy Fun Murder Dungeon I thought it would make sense to do an exciting dungeon crawl by Simon Collins called The Feybane Gauntlet. This is not an adventure about a magical piece of armor. So dismiss that from your thoughts. This adventure is about making your way through a gauntlet-style dungeon. There are traps and new monsters, and even a means for inter-planar travel. And yes, there are fey. Just as the name of this product suggests.
The Feybane Gauntlet
Writer: Simon Collins
Publisher: DMs Guild
Product Length/Inclusions: 17 pages
This is my first exposure to anything written by Simon Collins. I was impressed by the cover art. Overall it has a polished look with the embossed leather look. But the pencil sketch in the window of the cover suggests to me an adventure in progress. As if the characters have unfinished business to attend to. It’s a beautiful and inviting cover. It drew me in right away.
In case you missed it in my opening paragraph. This is a gauntlet dungeon adventure. Players should not start this adventure anticipating a ton of exploration opportunities. The Feybane Gauntlet is a linear dungeon but that doesn’t mean the adventure is dull. You will find plenty of traps, both mechanical and magical, in this adventure and the purpose of the dungeon ties in brilliantly with the hooks, the overall story, and the conclusion. I was particularly taken by the author’s usage of lodestone as a deterrent (kind of like kryptonite for Superman). The substance has some interesting properties and players will have some cool challenges with it. I also liked the NPCs and new monsters.
It goes without saying that Simon is a competent writer so I don’t want to be overlong on his diction or tone of voice. He’s got a great command of what he wants to say and easily navigates the reader from page to page.
First, I love the cover. It’s stock art and some may find the included sketch in the center to be incongruous to the look but not me. It focuses my eye to the center as if to suck me into its pages. The structure and organization are also great. I love the Celtic feel to the whole thing. Helping the aesthetic, the pages are bracketed in Celtic knots (Icovellavna) and the section headings are stylized with thematic font. Even the NPC names sound decidedly Celtic.
Where the module could use some help is in the map itself. A gauntlet dungeon is simplistic (rarely more than a few halls) but this particular one is a bit of an eyesore due to a low resolution. It might have been better to skip the attempt to make it pretty and just stick to making it functional with a traditional graph paper style. It’s not horrible. But it could have been better.
This is a gauntlet dungeon. It is deadly and it is unforgiving. But the adventure itself is more than that. Sure, your players may not want to be overly attached to their characters but the ones who live will find an amazing conclusion to their efforts and a launching off point to something potentially epic.
Surprisingly, this is the first DMs Guild product that has felt as thoroughly Celtic as this one has. I think it may be because many creators want to be careful that their theme/setting not be overly Western European lest it feel like Tolkien. However, that genre will never be overplayed in my opinion. Surprisingly, another pop culture icon I kept thinking of as I read this module was Indiana Jones. The Lodestone Rolling Sphere Trap reminds me so much of the boulder scene in the Temple of the Chachapoyan Warriors. This is a great module and while the map leaves something to be desired the total package is a hit!
Thanks, Simon, for the review copy of The Feybane Gauntlet.