Game: The Secret of the Blue Tower and Witching Hours
Series: The Dark Eye
Reviewer: Professor Morbius
Review Dated: 18th, July 2004
Reviewer’s Rating: 8/10 [ Really good ]
Total Score: 8
Average Score: 8.00
The Secret of the Blue Tower and Witching Hours
Two Introductory Adventures by
Stefan Kuppers and Florian Don-Schaven
32 Letter-Sized Pages US $9.99
Review by Craig Brain
This is the long-awaited first English adventure for FanPro’s The Dark Eye (the English translation of the German RPG, Das Schwarze Auge). The booklet contains two short adventures, which have been play-tested for years at conventions (admittedly in German).
In the first adventure, the Heroes find a map that has been stolen from the Temple of Hesinde (the Goddess of Wisdom and Science), which leads them to a mysterious tower once owned by a magician called Vasilos in the town of Honeyton. There are a few encounters and plenty of interaction with NPCs, while keeping the fighting to a manageable level for beginners. I particularly like the twist taken with (WARNING – SPOILER) the magician’s treasure. This effectively prevents the game from being unbalanced as a result of successfully completing the adventure.
The second adventure takes place in the village of Millington. The inhabitants of the village have been driven away by a series of hauntings and bizarre incidents, leaving only one person in the entire village. The Heroes must solve the mystery of the hauntings and disappearances in order to successfully complete the adventure. This adventure has very good potential for role-playing as well as humor, and will serve as a terrific introduction to some of the game mechanics, other than just combat.
Both adventures provide additional background information to assist Highlords (DMs, GMs or Refs in other systems) in developing the correct atmosphere for the game. The adventures expand upon the background information found in the TDE Rulebook. This makes the booklet quite handy since TDE currently suffers from a lack of background information in English.
The layout of the book is hard to fault, and the quality of the adventures is very high. The artwork is very good, and easy on the eye. The cover artwork is also of very high quality and the same as for the German original. The maps are hand drawn, not computer generated, which is a pleasant change from the industry norm these days. For a translation, the grammar is fine with only the occasional turn of phase sounding a bit odd, and I spotted only three spelling errors (this is better than many RPG manufacturers in English speaking countries). The tone and style of the writing is very good with a lot of detail going into descriptions and possible outcomes.
Additionally, there are two new spells listed in the book, a handy Brief Glossary, five pre-prepared characters and a copy of the character sheet. There are plenty of hints for novice Highlords along the way. All good hallmarks of an introductory adventure and pretty much everything you need to start a game quickly.
The format of the booklet (32 Letter-Sized pages) is terrific, making the booklet easy to read and handle, and reminiscent of the early days of RPGs, without duplicating the exact format used by other manufacturers. The glossy, color cover and grey-scale page edges show that little bit of extra attention to detail that really make this product stand out. It is nice to see somebody producing cheap, high-quality stand-alone adventures again.
These two adventures are well worth the price of US $9.99, not just the TDE players, but to anyone who enjoys a good adventure. With a little effort, this could easily be converted to your favorite system. I will stick with TDE, which is quickly becoming mine.