The Sunken Village of Corth is a time-travelling, mind-bending, paradoxical adventure that will prove challenging even for an experienced DM. Don’t let the fact that it’s for level 2 players fool you. This adventure requires quite a bit of gentle prodding, if not outright railroading, to pull off successfully.
The Sunken Village of Little Corth
Writer: Dylan Hyatt
Publisher: DMs Guild
Product Length: 46 pages
The product page on DMs Guild for this adventure states it is 40 pages long. This is a review of a “deluxe” version, provided to me by Dylan, which appears to have been removed as of this writing. The deluxe version was 46 pages long including maps.
The players stumble upon an intriguing situation wherein they are dropped into a time-loop adventure where they must prevent an alternative future a la Back to the Future style paradoxes (sorry…no DeLoreans make an appearance). It is up to your players to deactivate an orrery and stop a twisted wizard from resurrecting a long-dead god. However, the trick will be not only besting their foes, but also besting themselves.
When I opened up this PDF to read it I immediately loved the concept. A small settlement, Little Corth, rises from the marshes once every 360 years and the players have uncanny resemblances to the heroes of a nearby town called Parthem. Their likenesses are so close that people believe they ARE the heroes. And they just may be. Yet those heroes are dead.
So what does Little Corth have to do with this? Well, it all ties back to that pesky wizard creating problems for the heroes. The players do not want to go down with Little Corth!
The writing for The Sunken Village of Little Corth is mostly good. There are some tricky passages and Dylan is capable of creating vivid imagery and compelling plot lines. What makes this adventure challenging to read is the volume. There are roughly 40 pages of text interspersed with stat blocks, images, and maps. But there are still over 20,000 words. This adventure is the length of your average novella. And a lot of the writing anticipates the players to follow a linear path. This is why I mentioned this adventure is not for the novice DM. An experienced DM may be able to keep the players on rails without it being obvious. Or the experienced DM may be able to think on the fly when the players inevitably wander into uncharted territory.
The production is not as polished as you will find with more seasoned Guild creators. Aesthetically, it’s okay. The issue for me comes back to the writing I already mentioned. The text is incredibly dense and some pages are overwhelming as walls of text. A few here and there wouldn’t be a problem. But the example below is typical. The art is (for me) charming and I actually like the colored pencil vibe I’m picking up from it (see the cover for an idea). The maps are helpful for giving the DM a sense of where things are and how they are laid out but you probably wouldn’t print them and give them to the players via some NPC. You also probably wouldn’t use them in a VTT.
What really shines in this adventure is the puzzle the players must solve. There are a series of levers that the players can flip and once they get the right configuration all is well. Each lever can trigger particular effects too (like aging a player one year or causing him to shrink in size). If your players are not into puzzles and riddles like this Dylan also included a section for a quick resolution to the orrery. I do wish there were more suggestions for how to handle things when the players don’t follow the script. They inevitably will. There are occasions when Dylan addresses what happens if they players don’t find a particular treasure but even still, managing the paradoxes that could arise in this adventure will be a challenge.
Dylan Hyatt’s The Sunken Village of Little Corth is an incredibly ambitious and well-thought adventure. My struggles with it are how dense the writing is for a 2nd level adventure. The adventure is great for DMs and players who like a gritty (in terms of tracking things) and mostly linear campaign. But if your players are prone to wandering off in unexpected directions at any given moment, you may want to make sure this is a good fit for your group.