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Friday, 7 September 2018

Friday Filler: Phaunt's Tower

Phaunt’s Tower is the first release from new publisher, Farsight Games, a scenario written for used with Swords & Wizardry White Box, but which could easily be adapted to Swords & Wizardry Continual Light or other Old School Renaissance retroclones. Designed to be played by a party of four adventurers of any Class, of between First and Third Levels, although a Fighter is an absolute must as the adventure involves a lot of combat, Phaunt’s Tower offers a single session or so of play and its fantasy is generic enough that a Dungeon Master can drop the adventure into a campaign of her own design.

The setting for Phaunt’s Tower is the town of Wherwest, best known as home of its liege lord, the high Level wizard, Phaunt. Indeed, his tall tower stands over and dominates the town. Each year, the town hosts the ‘The Festival of the Stones’, a day of dancing, competitions, drinking, and general merriment, including archery and grand melee contests at which Lord Phaunt hands out magical swords and bows as prizes. The player characters are free to engage in the contests or not, but after the contests have ended, they are approached by both Lord Phaunt and Captain Snodgard, the head of the town guard. Someone has been snooping around the wizard’s tower and both want the matter investigated. As that happens though, there is a huge explosion atop the tower and all chaos breaks loose! The adventurers have a new task—find out what happened and put a stop to it!

What follows is a hard fight to the top of the remains of Lord Phaunt’s tower, through wave after wave of demonic creatures, where a further mystery is to be found. The main encounters to be had involve combat, but alongside that, the scenario includes some interesting decision points where following one course of action may make the challenges faced by the player characters that little more difficult or when they have to make a moral choice. Perhaps the quirkiest encounter is with a sloppy Gelatinous Cube, but over all, the adventure is straightforward.

Phaunt’s Tower is not perfect. It needs another edit and it could do with further development, primarily of the town of Wherwest. In the introduction it states, “This is a town full of opportunities at every corner, adventure through every door and danger at every turn. Glory and gold awaits! That is, if you can get past your first night here.” Unfortunately, there is not enough information here to support that assertion and whilst this is the first scenario to be set in the town, it is a pity that more information could not have been provided as support. Further, whilst the two competitions included as part of ‘The Festival of the Stones’ do help the adventurers with the events to come, it is a pity that just the two competitions are given and very obvious ones at that. Certainly some social and some magical competitions could have been included, the latter especially given that Lord Phaunt is a wizard himself!

Besides the need for another edit, Phaunt’s Tower is decently produced and presented. The illustrations—also drawn and inked by the author—are reasonable enough, but the plans of the tower are really rather good.

Phaunt’s Tower needs more development in terms of the town of Wherwest, but the core adventure is solid enough to provide an evening’s worth of play. Perhaps the best aspect of the scenario is that a Dungeon Master can easily take that and drop it into setting of her own. This is a reasonable first adventure, but future releases from Farsight Games will need to be more sophisticated and provide more of a game.