While the purpose of by “spin cycle” blog articles is to re-purpose MERP and other modules for use in Shadow World, Assassins of Dol Amroth (AoDA) is an excellent module for quick, easy to run adventures in any setting.
Cover Art. First, the cover is another great Angus McBride piece, showing a female assassin ready to ambush a shadowy mounted figure. Is she the hunter or the prey? There are small details like the soft boot covers for stealth, the gargoyle broach and the color patterns on the inner cloak (is it reversible?) that add a lot of depth to the scene.
Scope. Rather than a hybrid regional overview with adventures, “AoDA” is a simple product comprised of 3 adventures: Murder on the Docks, A Home be the Sea and The Hill of Shades. There are 18 pre-set PC’s; 6 for each adventure with stats and descriptions. The professions are basic MERP: Warrior, Scout, Thief, Ranger, Animist, Bard and Mage that could easily be adapted back to RoleMaster.
Adventure 1: Murder on the Docks. This is a short, simple adventure, pitting the group against a formidable assassin in a run down warehouse. Reading it through the first time, some things weren’t made clear and there wasn’t a clear segue into the next adventure, but it did keep the theme of “Assassins”! Total of 6 pages with artwork, most of it dealing withe warehouse layout. I think it’s good for a short gaming session.
Adventure 2: A Home by the Sea. In a run down manor, the PC’s will encounter another group of Assassins. Again, this is really a self contained adventure that could be played in a single session. Of the eight pages, most of it are lengthy room descriptions for the manor layout. This was true for Adventure 1’s warehouse descriptions. Kudos to the author–many MERP modules had only the briefest descriptions for rooms.
Adventure 3: The Hill of Shades. The denouement of the module is the players confrontation with the Assassins guild in their secret hideout. Again, these are straight foward single session adventures, but easy to use and great drop in for a campaign to build player experience.
Overall, this product is more a generalized adventure series than a true Middle Earth product, but it’s fun and basic. Artwork is generic and most has little to do with the content and the layouts and maps are about as weak as you’ll see in any ICE product. However, if you need some filler material or want some challenges regarding assassins then this could easily work. For Shadow World, this is a great drop for virtually any city.