DMs Guild Review: The Rotting Caverns

The Rotting Caverns is a dungeon crawl for 2nd or 3rd level characters by Scot LaFaive.

The Ferrum Caverns is an iron mine in Faerun, situated in the Forlorn Hills. However, recently there have been no news, and more importantly no ore from it. The players are tasked with investigating what happened, and possibly resolving whatever problem has arisen.

In terms of structure, the supplement begins with some background over what’s happening in the mines, as well as some straightforward hooks to get the players involved. After that is an introduction, in which the players meet a sick and dying miner who gives them a short glimpse of what might be involved (zombies. Zombies are involved.) and then we’re off into the caverns!

And speaking of, we have a detailed map of every room in the mine. Rooms, furniture, doors secret and not, and the exact positions of some of the enemies as well are included. It’s a pretty good map, both in terms of information conveyed and aesthetics as well. Every room has its own number, which is detailed on its respective text section. These sections contain some boxed text for the GM to read, details about possible traps, dangers or encounters, loot, and general descriptions of the space.

This might be a dungeon crawl, but don’t think it’s a mindless murderfest. There’s a story here that is quite engaging, and there are encounters in the caverns that don’t need to end in violence. Everything is also quite straightforward, so you can easily run this for new players, or people who want a quick session but don’t want to mess with plots and intrigue.

I should mention however that besides the Player’s handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide, and Monster Manual, you will also need Volo’s Guide to Monsters, so keep that in mind.

Overall, The Rotting Caverns is a short and sweet dungeon crawl that would be a great and easy to run one-shot.

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