Back in February Carl Bussler at Timeless Adventures designed a very interesting Pathfinder adventure : The Tribute. It’s a rare gem, where time is essential and player decisions has a great effect on the end result. Those decisions could mean life or death to the PC-s and to inhabitants of the local village.
The Tribute is a Pathfinder adventure for four 7th level characters. The adventure is 40 page long (including covers) plus features six high-quality maps for the most important locations.
In the story the players have to defend the village of Honningstad. For about 30 years the village payed tribute to a dragon and a group of Bondsmen clerics “guarding” it to maintain the peace. Everything was fine, until this year the tribute weren’t able to reach it’s destination as a group of marauding ogres attacked the delivery. It’ now the players turn to save the village and the survivors of the assault. But could they do both in time ?
The Tribute adventure features a clear 2-column layout with several nice-looking maps. I think you could find everything easily in the book, the only confusing thing I found that the three different roads to take from the village are divided into two different pages. I see the reasoning behind this, so I guess it’s matter of personal preference.
The most unique aspect of the adventure is the so-called Scroll of Omens : much like a time-line it’s follows that what happen to the prisoners at the giant camp and the villagers if the players don’t take action. Anything they do it’s advance the track on the Scroll of Omens, so they really have to act fast and effectively, avoiding unnecessary time consuming. While the entire mechanic is optional I HIGHLY recommend it.
Looking at the adventure structure it’s like a sandbox campaign where players could freely travel between the locations and do as they wish, with their only limit is time. On the other hand, there is not much to do outside the main areas. This also means that the players won’t find any opposition (except the occasional non-combat encounter) except at the Fangcrag Keep and the giant camp, but this makes sense as the area is well traveled.
Speaking about opposition, some of the possible enemies are quite strong and the major villains both have some memorable and unique combat encounters, using the surrounding environment to their benefit. I don’t want to spoil much, but the dragon really packs a punch and several tricks in it’s (metaphorical) sleeve.
What I really like that while The Tribute features many different enemies, none of their appearances feels forced as in many adventures. This is a great plus for me.
I think The Tribute is a very interesting and challenging adventure with no obvious errors I could point out. On the other hand, I think that without the Scroll of Omens some of the tension is lost, so I give it 5/5 if you use that mechanic and 4/5 if not, as the ability to rest more often and and to make more preparations could turn things much easier.
I really recommend this adventure.
For those who are interested, The Tribute is available at DriveThruRPG, on this link.
Zoltán “Cain” Mészáros