Welcome back for another installment of Shadowy Paths. This time we will be looking at a comparatively darker module than the first. Remember, all modules I review are available free from Dragonsfoot. Now let’s dive in to Horror of Spider Point.
Time for the fun to begin. Any DM will be happy to find that our villain’s motivations are laid out, and make sense. It is a rather sad, horrible story, but it was needed to make this NPC what he is. Also included is an recommendation for music suitable for the various atmospheres, and a timeline to keep the game going, as tension should be high.
One thing thing that I noticed right off the bat was the lack of various enemies in this module, although its quality makes up for it. This is not to say that the murderous demonic entity that’s want him dead isn’t interesting, but as a matter of fact there are only four different stat blocks in the module. If you are opposed to this I would recommend some zombiefied dolphins to be included in the massive zombie attacks.
Malin; he once was happy, then he screwed it up. Malin was a mage who accidentally set his love in a coma and was chased out of town. He found his island and spent time trying to revive her, until a demon worshiper appeared who tricked him into murdering innocent fishermen. This worshiper, Dravis, used magic to convince Malin his wife was healing, when indeed she was weakening. Eventually Malin figured out Dravis’ darker motives, and unfortunately was spelled. Dravis took Malin’s body under his power and had him watch as his hands murdered his beloved.
As the adventure comes to a close Malin himself will appear, a roughly humanoid monstrosity. Instead of hands he has large pincers, and we can’t forget his two extra arms. Malin should prove a very hard threat to deal with, but if your players are smart they will find an alternative way to defeat him. A magic spell that can be found that seals Malin in a ring that must be assembled.
Under Malin is the most common enemy your players will fight in the entire adventure. I guarantee if you run this module as written, by the end your players will never want to see a Sea Zombie again. These pesky buggers will be your first encounter, and there be more then twenty of them. Sea zombies will also trouble your players when the sun sets. By this time your players should be held up in the house.
On this island is a house that smart players will hide in, and board the windows. Wave after wave of zombies will hit this house, and hopefully your players foresee this. This module recommends having any barriers players may place in the house break at cinematic points. I disagree. Instead, try this. Bring a small bag of stones or some marker to the table, and as players board up the various entrances roll a d6, and mark each on the map included. Every major attack that entrance sustains will drop the value, at zero the barricades break and zombies are in the house.
“What treasure? I don’t see any treasure around here.”
No really, there is very little treasure in this module. The mostly valuable item they obtain is a ship, which they have to rebuild. Other highlights include: a mage’s spellbook, 12 gold pieces, a +1 dagger, glassware, a disc to banish Malin, and journal notes. Really, that’s about everything of interest.
Horror of Spider Point is an excellently-designed module and a wonderful introduction into Ravenloft. What the module lacks in enemy variety and gold, it makes up for in story and atmosphere. Malin has an intricate history that gives him a logical purpose as opposition to the player. Likewise the massive amount of sea zombies add the suspense required for this story. In the end I give Horror of Spider Point by Mark O’Reilly 4.5 out of 5 Sentient Fire Swords of Planar Travel.