Short Module: Altar of the Spider God (Dan Harlan): 4 Stars
A large chamber looms before you, lit by an eerie, purplish-blue radiance emanating from the eyes of a huge black stone spider-idol. The huge idol appears to merge with the center of the eastern wall as if stepping through some unseen portal from beyond.
“Altar of the Spider God” is one of a series of location (maps combined with a mini-adventure) available on DMsguild. Though the tier of the map is never mentioned (it can be inserted into any adventure), it seems to be created for 1st tier parties, and would probably take just an hour to get through, depending on your party. As such, it’s the perfect map to have on hand to throw at your party when they veer off into the random antics players so often do. While it could technically be used in any environment, this drow temple would be most appropriate for an underdark dungeon.
What Worked Well
The map and artwork was very well done, though simplistic. The layout and enemies are flexible and there are various options given for loot. The map can fit easily into any campaign, and could spawn at least two other side quests for the adventurer’s to follow up on. The file comes with three different types for you to use, including a specific one for the DM. The inclusion of drow poison and a potential ally for the players is cool, if not particularly original. The instructions and descriptions are detailed and should be helpful for any DM.
What Can Improve
Some of the ability checks on this map seem a bit hard for the tier which its intended, though that can be easily adjusted. The stat blocks for the NPCs have a different look than a canonical D&D publication, but they’re not ugly or bad. There’s not a lot of “content”, the whole pdf is only 5 pages long, and as such it could be considered overpriced at $1.95, though professionally edited content with original artwork and maps does tend to be more expensive.
If the aim of this publication is to provide Dungeon Masters with a quick map, side quest, loot, and quest hooks, then it accomplishes its goal very well. If that’s what you’re looking for, than I definitely recommend keeping this stashed in your D&D binder for quick access. Is the $1.95 price worth it? The answer is subjective, but its hard to put a price on a product that helps you build a library of high-quality, quickly accessible adventures for the party that tends to veer off-track. Pick it up by clicking on the picture below!