Review: Last Flickering Light
Good evening all! Today I have a review for you and this time it is an adventure designed for 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons. Last Flickering Light is an adventure by Rat King Now! It is designed for characters of 5th to 10th level and intended to take somewhere around the 8 hour mark. Now, fair warning, I have not played through the adventure so I cannot make claim as to how well it runs or any hiccups I personally experienced. Nevertheless, I want to take some time to discuss the adventure, because it is pretty awesome.
Old School In My Mind
What do I even mean by that? Well, when an adventure strikes me as old school there is one major aspect that usually stands out: the dungeon. Now I grew up on Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale, as well as mostly just looking at books and those all feature a great variety of concepts. But I was also initiated via the stories of my father’s AD&D days and his tales of vast underground complexes. To me, old school D&D features the old dungeons of elaborate and dangerous design, exploring it, and hoping you make it out alive. I love that about RKN’s Last Flickering Light. It is, at its core, a dungeon crawl.
It is relatively small, and straight forward. No winding passages, no multiple levels depending ever farther into the bowls of the earth. It is a dungeon, a buried place that hides more than anyone expects. A place offering answers and perhaps treasure, but taking its tithe in blood. From my reading it is not an easy adventure, but that isn’t just because it suggests 5th to 10th level. This adventure does what old dungeons did. It tricks you, it traps you, and it confuses you. Paranoia may be driven up and immediacy and quick thinking are needed. Best of all there is no turning back once you are in there. These are the qualities you want in a dungeon and its what you get in Last Flickering Light.
Who Needs Combat?
Rat King Now! does a wonderful job of reminding me of something I have been trying harder and harder to remember. Story is great and I try my best to weave great tails for my players, drawing from what they want and do and making it into something bigger. At the table, though, this shows through in many ways and combat tends to be a highlight. This is especially true in dungeons, but this adventure reminds me that a dungeon can be complex, fun, challenging, and wearing on a party without much combat. All it takes is some added cleverness and, occasionally, blocking the doors behind the players.
Last Flickering Light, of course, still has monsters and combat, but they are used to help weave the tale of the dungeon and drive up the horror and fear of the players. What really makes the adventure look like a great time are the puzzles and traps. I love the way they are used, the way they are activated, and the simple no-nonsense temptations of doing something you probably shouldn’t some of them involve. Some of them just mess with you too. While I any not get a chance to fit the whole adventure in a game, I will be pulling the puzzle and traps out for my own adventures. Of that you can be sure.
This adventure is a PDF found on the DMs Guild, like so many others. It is a bit of a toss up as to what you will get, though many things are good. Rat King Now! goes for a basic approach as to product design. It is a simple font and no crazy background. Art is mostly black and white, aside from the touches of purple which relate to the adventure itself. All in all it looks good. The white background is a more minimal approach I have been toying with doing, and it looks good in Last Flickering Light. The text is separated in boxes for read-aloud portions, as is standard. Due to the nature of the adventure, there are also sub portioned parts. All the description is provided and explanations are good. The art matches the need and a map is included in the document and as a stand alone printout. There are even notes to the DM about intent or possibility, warnings of a sort to make sure the person running the game doesn’t get confused and is drawn to key factors. This is something I can really appreciate.
All in all, this is a great product. It looks good, will print well, and is full of awesome encounters. It has an old-school feel, but there is some story to get the players there. Something simple enough to adapt, but with enough hook for them to bite into. Plenty to work and wiggle with. The puzzles are fun on their own and the whole complex is an insane ride. It leaves more questions asked than answered and opens up the potential for more. At the same time, however, things could end right there. Rat King Now! has done a great job with this and I would definitely suggest taking a look. If you want to see more of RKN’s work head over to the site here or just head over to this link for Last Flickering Light!