Module Review: Midnight in the City of Brass (GM Lent, M. T. Black): 5 Stars
The air seems to shimmer around you, and the world warps in your vision. then, without warning, everything around you save your companions disappears and is replaced by an unfamiliar setting.
Midnight in the City of Brass is a high quality, Tier 2 metropolitan adventure module set on the plane of fire. Expertly crafted, brilliantly plotted, and uniquely executed, everything in book, from the plot, to the character options, to the artwork, is a masterclass in what an adventure should look like. While some of the more particular stylistic and layout decisions could be a turn off for the more nit-picky consumer, Midnight in the City of Brass is an adventure that every DM and Player should seek to experience at some time (or even multiple times) in their TTRPG “career”.
Plot. Midnight in the City of Brass treads a fine line between the genres of “heist”, “race-against-the clock”, “strangers in a strange land”, and “mystery”. While it is a relatively short plot, taking course over three-ish days, and only 8-10 hours of game play, it accomplishes quite a bit in that short amount of time. The author does well to anticipate and offer suggestions for tangents, while not crowding the book with too many adventure hooks, and while the plot is relatively linear, the premise on which it is based avoids feeling railroaded. In plot alone, this adventure has something for everyone.
Setting. I love that this module is set on the plane of fire, and the City of Brass is exquisitely described and permeates every aspect of this module. The players and DM’s will be immersed, feeling though they’re avoiding rubbing elbows with efreeti and being subbed by the snobby society at every turn. Danger lurks around literally every corner, and not a street passes that is not deeply imbued with a rich history, imagery, and existence that could literally snuff out the players if they make the wrong move. I could not think of a better setting for this plot–the two are inseparably linked.
Player Kits. Among a host of appendices crowded with magic items, lore, subclasses, and minutia about the City of Brass, the section on player kits stand as a sublime cherry atop the narrative cake. While not a new concept in D&D, it is not something I’ve seen yet amid the collection of 5e indie content. Kits are more than backgrounds, though they represent that from which your character has come (barber, mounted warrior, mamluk), they require certain ability score and grant minor mechanical advantages. They are almost like a miniature multi-class, and I would love to see them expanded upon in a separate supplement.
Encounters. The encounters present a variety of options between the three pillars of DnD, providing something for everyone at the table, and meaningful and consequential skill checks for players to flexible deal with encounters in ways that are unique to them. My favorite moment of the entire module has to be the “heist” portion: a confluence of “mission impossible” and “Arabian nights” the table is sure to love.
Language Barrier. One of the most difficult aspects of reading this module is the heavy influence of middle eastern language in many of the names and places. I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing, and it was definitely necessary to imbue the work with the maximum amount of flavor, but many DMs or players may find pronouncing the names intimidating or difficult, which may subsequently hurt the overall immersion. It’s just something for readers to be aware of, but you shouldn’t let it keep you from running the module!
Excessive Setting Materials. There’s a lot of stuff here, and while most of it actually aids in running the adventure, I found myself skimming through or ignoring a large portion of the appendices, and even the stuff at the beginning. It’s something that could go in a separate book, but in this case it makes sense to include it with the module. At 80+ pages, however, just be prepared for a lot of reading to prepare this adventure! It is, after all, intended to be a source book.
Midnight in the City of Brass is possibly one of the best modules we’ve read, and may be in the running for “best module of the year”. We are rating it 5 Stars and giving it a Must Have for any tier 2 party. You will enjoy running this, probably multiple times. If you’re looking to pick it up, help support us by using the picture below to click through to the site!