Written by Clark
Peterson and Bill Webb
Reviewed by Rob
Brott, Copyright© 2000
Edited by Suzanne Campbell for The Guild Companion
Much has been said (some right here in The Guild
Companion) about the decline in the number of people playing
roleplaying games. Many reasons have been given, but one thing
remains clear: more new people need to be introduced to the hobby.
Along these lines, Necromancer Games has released a
free introductory adventure module called
The Wizard's Amulet. This module is
designed for the new Dungeons and Dragons© Third Edition, but
the module can probably be converted to other systems without too
Clearly, Necromancer Games has aimed this module squarely at
novice GMs and players:
This adventure is designed
to be used ``out of the box,'' ...
The Wizard's Amulet is the perfect
adventure for new GMs who want to try their hand at running
their first adventure ... and you should be playing
your first Third Edition game within fifteen minutes!
The aim is good. This adventure is a nice introductory affair for
novice GMs, and perhaps even grizzled veteran GMs. Oh, and fifteen
minutes? Maybe, but more time spent in preparation will surely be
The plot is centered around a tyro spellcaster named Corian,
who is a player character.
Corian, it seems, has discovered a letter from a wizard named Eralion, who attempted to become a lich. With the
also found an oddly-marked amulet. The basic plot-line is simple:
Corian must gather a group of adventurers; set out on the road to
find Eralion's keep, and uncover what surely will be riches, items
of power, and great knowledge. Of course, Corian is not unopposed.
Vortigern, an acquaintance of Corian's, also seeks the amulet.
The choice of "Vortigern" as the name for the main nemesis is
interesting...Is there some historical parallel here, or is the
name just cool?
The adventure itself is a tightly scripted affair, written in
an act and scene format for about six first-level characters. The
plot is very linear, and includes a combat or two, a time for some
non-combat roleplaying, a red herring/golden egg (depending on
your point-of-view), and a finale that provides for many outcomes.
Indeed, this adventure dovetails nicely into a follow-on
adventure, The Crucible of Freya, also
by Necromancer Games.
Much attention has been paid, by the
authors, to provide assistance to the GM as the adventure unfolds.
For example, text and artwork is provided in order to
provide ambience and information, and certain helpful information
is provided in the margins in "side boxes". The encounters are
fully fleshed out, and advice has been given on how to adjust the
difficulty level of the encounters, depending on the character
party's condition and makeup. Necromancer Games is to be saluted
for this, for a good GM needs to develop this as an innate skill.
In addition, very little supporting information is needed by the GM which should aid in running a smooth first-time adventure.
And it is pleasing to see that a version of the Golden
Rule of Game Mastering is here as well: use what you want, discard or
change the rest.
The Wizards's Amulet also provides a
nice section on concluding the adventure. Players need to have
some feedback from the GM about how the adventure went.
Ultimately, the goal is fun for all, but something concrete from
the GM is always appreciated. Here, the authors give a detailed
breakdown on how to award experience for the adventure. Indeed,
this would allow for The Wizard's Amulet
to be run in a tournament setting with ease by providing the
grading system to compare various groups' performances.
Although The Wizard's Amulet
provides a lot of good advice and hand-holding for GMs, it would
have been nice if the authors had put the same effort towards the
players. True, they do provide pre-generated characters
representing lots of classes and races, and in the 3rd Edition
Character Generator Format. These pre-generated characters
obviate the need for a lot of--what can be for greenhorns--tedious work. However, with the exception of Corian (who is
fleshed out with a reasonable and interesting back story), none of
the other supplied characters have such information. For example,
Galdar, a cleric, is strongly recommended as one of the characters
the players should choose. But aside from the fact that it's
always nice to have a cleric in the group for healing purposes,
little else is provided about Galdar.
In the end, The Wizard's Amulet hits
the mark as a fun, well-written, well-organized, introductory
adventure that can only help bring new players into the fold of
The Wizard's Amulet, is written by
Clark Peterson and Bill Webb, and is produced and distributed by
Necromancer Games. It is available for free as an eighteen page
PDF file from their web-site. Their contact details are as