Cover of N5 Under Illefarn

N5 Under Illefarn

Daggerford is fairly quiet for a frontier town. Sure, lizard men raid the local baron's holding now and then, orcs sneak out of the Misty Forest to raid caravans on the Trade Way, and Lady Bronwyn has a few suitors who are a touch too passionate, but there's nothing going on that a member of the renowned Daggerford militia can't handle.

Except that the Shining River has turned green, and cattle are dying. Except that the Elf King of Laughing Hollow, a place where no human dares go without fearing for his life, is asking the militia for help. Except that strange substances are oozing from the fissures caused by a recent earthquake. Except that the earthquake also has opened an entrance in the cliffs around the Laughing Hollow that might lead to the fabled dwarf mines of Illefarn.

Suddenly, being a militiaman isn't quite as easy as it used to be.

TSR 9212

Written By
Steve Perrin
Published By
Publication Year
Battle Mats?
Includes Characters?
Levels 1–3
Found In
Boss Monsters and Villains
Common Monsters
Notable Items
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Jigurd has played this adventure and would not recommend it.

The setup to this is interesting, and some of the encounters early in the adventure could be cannibalized, but Illefarn itself is disappointing. It's a great sprawling dungeon with three factions fighting for dominance, but these factions are not given good motivations. They all amount to "there's good loot here, yo!" but none of them except maybe the dwarves are trying very hard to find the loot. Aside from the story, the dungeon is also hard to prep and dull many rooms in the dungeon are completely empty, some are lacking descriptions entirely and the maps are confusingly laid out and hard to read. How the different floors connect is not immediately apparent, so you spend a lot of time squinting at the map for this floor, going back to the side-on diagram that shows how the staircases connect, and then trying to find the room it connects to on a third page. Sometimes these things don't even line up and you just need to find the correct answer by process of elimination.

And then you get to the bottom and you solve the great problem of the poisoned river by literally pulling a lever that dumps a bunch of poison in the river.

Only pick up if you are really in love with the idea of your players starting as City Watch in a little border town or have a cool idea for a three-way struggle in an old dwarven ruin between Orcs, Necromancers, and Dwarves, and don't mind spending a lot of time frowning at old maps to make that idea come to life.