Free RPG Day Review: Khyber’s Harvest

This is the final installment of this year’s Free RPG Day reviews. I saved the last one for Khyber’s Harvest by Wizards of the Coast.

Free RPG Day 2009 - Khyber's Harvest Cover

Free RPG Day 2009 - Khyber's Harvest Cover

This book is a quick-and-dirty D&D adventure set in the Eberron world. The adventure is for second level characters, and five sample characters are provided in the back of the book.

I’m not going to plot out the adventure here and spoil it for all of you players. I am going to say that I love the detailed work WotC put into the adventure, and I’m still totally in love with the new style of stats for monsters, adversaries, traps and other such obstacles. However, I’m still not a huge fan of social skill challenges. If it’s a mechanical, arcane or some other physical challenge that the players can’t get up and safely reenact, then I’m all for dice rolls. However, for things that involve the characters talking, then the players can talk their way through it. Using skill challenges to replace role playing opportunities just seems horribly wrong to me. If I were to run this adventure, the diplomacy, bluff, intimidate, etc. style checks would be thrown out and replaced with true-to-form role playing, not dice-invoked roll playing… but that’s just me.

The adventure came with a card stock, double-sided piece that contained nicely done maps of two of the rooms. However, I would have preferred WotC to save their money on the card stock and spend it on higher quality printing of the GM’s maps. The two maps on the inside covers of the adventure are lacking in detail, hard to read and are missing the ever-so-vital (especially in 4th edition) grid markings. I did notice faint hash marks in place of grid lines, but that induces so much eye strain, it’s not worth it. Despite the poor print quality of the maps, they are well done and match the flavor text very well. It’s always frustrating when a module or adventure doesn’t get the text to match the maps. That’s not the case with Khyber’s Harvest.

Grade: B+ — Give me better maps, and it’s an easy A. Wizards of the Coast just barely missed the cut in getting an A for their freebie.