Although there is no scenario in the rulebook for Shadow of the Demon Lord, the first RPG released by Schwalb Entertainment following a successful Kickstarter campaign, one of the excellent decisions upon the part of the designer has been to release support—and release it early—in the form of scenarios for the game. This way a gaming group can get playing quickly, even if they are just using the core rules presented in Victims of the Demon Lord: Starter Guide and an adventure. In addition, the publisher has also released Tales of the Demon Lord, a complete mini-campaign that takes a party of characters from Zero Level up to Eleventh Level. In the meantime, the tenth adventure is Beware the Tides of Karshoon.
Beware the Tides of Karshoon is the fourth adventure written for characters who have entered the Expert Path, that is of Third Level or higher. It is written by T.S. Luikart, author for such diverse supplements as Ruins of the North, published by Cubicle Seven Entertainment for The One Ring RPG and the Dragon Age: Dark Fantasy Roleplaying Set 2 from Green Ronin Publishing. It comes as a six page, 11.99 MB PDF. Physically, Beware the Tides of Karshoon is decently presented. Notably, the cartography is excellent, done in the same three dimensional style as The God Below, but here to much better effect. The adventure is decently written, although it does feel as it comes to an abrupt halt without the ramifications really gone into.
The adventure is set in Gateway, the oldest city in the Northern Reach. Here a dead
pirate’s vengeful curse has seized a poor, ramshackle neighborhood in a fearful grip, the denizens of Bilgewater having been beset by a rash of mysterious thefts and incidents. These include the destruction of a school, its teacher, and its students by a rogue wave, as well as people being torn apart in broad daylight into bloody gobbets of flesh by things unseen. The people of Bilgewater believe that a ‘pirate’ curse has been placed upon for their failure to maintain an ancient monument in black basalt carved with symbols of the sea and dedicated to ‘Karshoon’. The local councilor hires the player characters to investigate, pointing them towards ‘Obsidian Triumph’, a shrine below ‘Karshoon’ that is said to be home to a giant pearl called the ‘Ocean’s Tear’. She believes that if the pearl can be retrieved and returned to the monument, then the curse will be ended.
This is, of course, only partly true... Beware the Tides of Karshoon is essentially a mini-dungeon that is more straightforward than the plot at first appears. As a dungeon, it has an aquatic theme, one that has been taken advantage of by the scenario’s actual antagonist. As a result, the scenario feels much like it could be set in Freeport, the pirate city setting published by Green Ronin Publishing, but then the writer did coauthor Skull & Bones, the same publisher’s pirate sourcebook for the d20 System and did contribute to Buccaneers & Bokor, Adamant Entertainment’s d20 System magazine devoted to the Golden Age of Piracy. The scenario really does not have a piratical element, but it merely has that feel.
What this means is that the scenario has some nicely done monsters for the player characters to face and it makes good use of the aquatic environment. Though not necessarily spectacular, Beware the Tides of Karshoon is a solid enough adventure.