Module Review: Sunken Village of Little Corth (Dylan Hyatt): 4 Stars
Over two millennia ago, a village called Little Corth sank into the mire; it rises every 360 years with the return of the Green Comet -due anytime soon. The sunken village then rises nightly for one year, its church bells heralding a massive increase in the undead. You were intending to have reached Candollyn by now, but your journey has been hampered by bad weather and now your nearest haven is the village of Pathem.
The Sunken Village of Little Corth, by premier author Dylan Hyatt, is an ambitious level 2 module with an extremely intriguing premise and packed full of exceptionally engaging and entertaining encounters. While it delivers on some of its ambition, its greatest strength also presents as its greatest weakness. While very likely a fun and interesting module to play through, its linearity, production quality, and necessary suspension of belief could be difficult for some players and DMs who prefer a more “realistic” or “sandbox” approach to their games.
Overall Concept. Little Corth’s biggest asset is its attempt to incorporate time travel as the premise of the entire plot. This is incredibly intriguing, and as both a player and a DM, it instantly excited me. Still, I was skeptical. How would the author prevent inevitable inconsistencies in the plot, especially if players died halfway through? How would he prevent players from going back in time and then going off on their own? By and large, this is the author’s greatest strength, that he’s able to account for several “temporal disturbances” that may arise by making the final battle very hard. Your players don’t want to follow up on what will obviously benefit them in the future? Well, they will reap what they sow. Hyatt handles these potential discrepancies with surprising foresight and expertise.
Some Art. The maps in Little Corth, though obviously hand-drawn and simplistic, are well done and enjoyable. The style aids in the overall feeling of the module, and they are very usable. Most of the other artwork–the rundown houses, the portrait of the mayor’s daughter, etc.–are very well done.
Creatures/NPCs. The unique creatures and NPCs present a major asset to this module. The author has taken great care to ensure that fighting undead doesn’t become the usual mundane grind. Juggling skeletons, zombie sheep, and a ghoul in a top hat and gentleman’s vest are all ways in which author Dylan Hyatt spices up otherwise banal combat encounters and makes them both challenging and interesting.
Writing. Overall, Hyatt’s writing is flowing and easy to read. Though he occasionally suffers from over explanation or wordiness, and at times struggles to find a specific voice, the writing is professional, relatively well edited, and easy to read. However, there were still some parts that become overly complicated or difficult to understand, but the overall effect of the writing is an asset rather than a detraction.
Non Combat Encounters. The author does well to include non-combat encounters into the module, including a massive puzzle which can be solved with either complexity or simplicity depending on the needs of the group. I found this particular encounter to be extremely interesting, and appreciated that, though the module seems to be combat focused overall, there were plenty of opportunities for other sorts of engagement.
Linearity. While the time travel aspect is ambitious, exciting, and generally well done, it leads to one major flaw–railroading. Hyatt tries really hard to give the illusion of choice under the guise of world altering consequences should the characters fail. He also tries to account for player choice. The result is still a literal narrow path the players must follow to complete their checklist. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but definitely could turn off a large swath of players who dislike linear-based adventure modules.
Some Art. Some of the art is unappealing to me. In particular, the picture of Vordan apparent on the cover and elsewhere throughout the module. I’m not opposed to his top hat and vest, but something about the way he is positioned, combined with the bandages on his arms, just doesn’t sit right for me. The “time turner” is a nice concept, but I don’t feel the picture of it adequately portrays how it’s described in the adventure.
Production/Layout Quality. While many good products use Microsoft Word for layout, The Sunken Village of Little Corth suffers from many of the problems of being a premier module. Monster stat blocks are done with simple lines within the tool, and most problematically, everything is a single column within the page while industry standard is double columns. This makes the module feel excessively long and slower to read. Fortunately, these problems are somewhat easy to fix with a little practice and would go a long way towards raising the overall quality, and the rating, of the product.
Since the initial publication of this review, author Dylan Hyatt has significantly improved the layout and production of this product. With two-column format and updated tables and stat blocks, we believe that this product is now deserving of a 4 star rating!
Balance. This adventure is difficult, especially for characters at level 2. One encounter has a player potentially losing strength and changing size permanently, and there are several high DC ability checks. Players will often find themselves in deadly combat encounters. This is not necessarily a bad thing–could even be a good thing–but players need to be aware of what they’re getting into before they start, and be welcoming of that.
Despite its many flaws, The Sunken Village of Little Corth, presents a fun and challenging take on the level 2 adventure. I am giving it
3.5 4 Stars and recommending it for those who like a challenge and can willingly sacrifice flexibility for fun in an engaging and original plot. Pick it up in our store, or by clicking the picture below: