Short Module Review: The Mourning Lord (Clark Harper): 4 Stars
It is now almost twenty years later, and Bane has bided his time long enough. Now he seeks to use the fort to exert his will upon Faerun. His dark powers are spilling over, causing the dead to rise around the fort. The undead menace is just the beginning. If nothing is done to break the curse, Bane will amass an army large enough to threaten Elturel itself!
The Mourning Lord is a 4(ish) hour, tier 3 adventure by Clark Harper, officially set within the Forgotten Realms, and consisting of some really enjoyable original creatures along with the standard undead. Though it suffers from a few weakness (like railroading and needless NPCs), with plenty of unique elements and an engaging plot, the module is likely to be a fun session for any tier 3 table.
Fun Encounters. The Mourning Lord is packed full of a variety of encounters that, while of various difficulty, will be entertaining and relatively unique. An underwater door, numerous instances of gravity reversing, fun monsters (including a cactus monster), rescuing an outpost from an undead horde, and a fort suspended in time. These all aid in a riveting plot and a series of fun encounters for a short, jam packed, module.
Unique Creatures. While boasting a substantial amount of traditional undead like mummies, wights, and death knights, Clark Harper has included a few rather brilliant original creatures with this module. They include a rather dangerous cactus, a large carnivorous plant, and the Mourning Lord himself, who possesses a high degree of difficult and awesome abilities. These monsters play a significant part in adding to the originality and immersion of the module.
Engaging Plot. The premise behind the module–breaking a ritual by dark cultists–is mostly well crafted, immersive, and full of narrative cut scenes that keep the pacing and story moving forward. While the first part of the story seems unnecessary from a narrative perspective, it is still a chapter of the modules that players and DM alike will enjoy. The handouts included aid in advancing the plot and immersing the players.
Needless NPCs. There are two engaging NPCs in this module–the Mourning Lord and his wife. The cast you meet in the beginning, while rescuing and exploring an outpost, are mostly flat, uninteresting characters inserted into the module because it wouldn’t make sense for the outpost to be empty. While I appreciate this need, and that the outpost serves an introduction to the plot, it’s the linear nature of these characters (that they’re only there because they have to be), that makes me believe most groups won’t spend that much time interacting with them. It’s the challenge of a linear plot, and one that is understandable and mostly forgivable, but I would love to see the outpost NPCs playing a bigger consequence in the narrative as a whole.
Railroading. As mentioned, the plot is relatively linear and there is not much choice for the players to deviate if they want to complete the story. While experienced players and DMs could work something out, the author gives no options for how the players could deviate, or what to do if they do. Still, the plot is engaging enough that it may not be a problem for players who are expecting a straight narrative.
Production Value. While this book is filled with quality, relevant art, it suffers from the occasional lack in production. One of the maps is a little blurry, and there’s multiple styles of art that don’t necessarily mix well within the same product. There are a few grammar errors (which may or may not be noticeable to the average reader), and at times the style of writing seems overly colloquial or unofficial. They layout itself, however, keeps the information flowing and segmented into easily usable chapters and appendices.
The Mourning Lord is a fun, unique module that higher level players are sure to enjoy despite a few minor flaws. We’re giving it 4 Stars and recommending it for players who want a fun series of encounters and who don’t mind the linearity of the plot. If you appreciate our reviews and want to support us, click through the picture if you’re thinking of purchasing: