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Shadowdale: The Scouring of the Land 09.07.2007
Saving Throw's review of Shadowdale: The Scouring of the Land.

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Shadowdale: The Scouring of the Land
published by Wizards of the Coast reviewed by Martin Drury
160 pages, 2007, $29.95
Story 18
Enjoyability 17
Adaptability 12
Intelligibility 18
Overall
16
Solid Hit
Review Scoring

   Set in the winter of the Year of Risen Elfkin (1375 DR), Shadowdale: The Scouring of the Land takes place shortly after the Last Mythal trilogy. When the adventure begins, Elminster has been defeated and the Weave is being destroyed, preventing the Chosen of Mystra from coming to the defense of Shadowdale, which has fallen to the combined forces of Zhentil Keep, House Jaelre, the Auzkovyn clan, priestesses of Shar, and House Dhuurniv. It is up to the player characters to rise up as heroes to lead the peoples of the dale to expel the invaders.

Shadowdale: The Scouring of the Land is designed to be run either as a follow-up to Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave or a separate adventure. The adventure is also written to serve as a lead in to Anauroch: The Sundering of the World. Player characters will start at level 9, and should finish the adventure at level 13.

Shadowdale: The Scouring of the Land is split into five adventuring chapters, each covering one of the major tasks in order to lead the dalesfolk to freedom. The book finishes up with two appendices, one covering the city of Shadowdale itself, and one covering new materials introduced in the adventure. The adventure makes heavy use of the tactic encounter format designed for Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures and while a few of the maps have minor omissions, it is nothing that detracts from the overall quality of the work.

The player characters are tasked with freeing the remnants of Syluné's spirit, putting a stop to the Shar servants' plan to rip a hole in the Weave, destroying a portal the Zhentarim army is using to bring in reinforcements, disrupting the various Drow forces and finally leading the uprising to drive the Zhents from the dale for good. The task of driving the Zhents from Shadowdale might seem straight forward, but in order to succeed, almost everything must be accomplished perfectly, or the Zhentarim will only come back in with more troops and a hankering to punish the citizens of Shadowdale. This adventure, therefore, can be quite challenging and leave even a moderately successful party feeling the sharp steel of defeat in the end, but of course that only makes victory taste all the more sweeter.



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