Review – Deadly Delves: Reign of Ruin

Reign of Ruin is an adventure for a 7th or 8th level party by Richard Moore, published by Jon Brazer Enterprises, in their Deadly Delve series.

The main plot is that a black dragon wants to rule over an area called the Great Swamp, using a tribe of Lizardmen as well as several half-dragon hybrid creatures. The players are involved in this when a ranger arrives to their location and informs them a nearby town has been razed, before collapsing dead, prompting them to investigate.

The adventure is very heavily focused on combat, pretty much a dungeon delve as the name would imply. There are a lot of combat encounters, traps, et cetera, with not much time devoted to roleplaying. I’m not saying this is a bad thing at all, just noting it so that people know what they’re getting into. There is however quite a bit of a backstory to this that is intriguing and explains the motivations of the antagonist and the general history of the area nicely.

The players first get a taste of combat when they reach a small town to resupply, which gets raided by the Lizardmen of the Ixtupi tribe, the servants of the black dragon Nyrionaxis and the evil deity Tlaloc. As the fight progresses, the dragon gets involved herself, showing to the players what they’re up against, before retreating back to an ancient temple she uses as a lair.

The main part of the adventure takes place in this temple, in which the players arrive after a short trek through the swamps, with various additional encounters with wildlife or lizardmen if you so wish. The temple has 5 levels, each with a map provided, and with plenty of enemies and traps in the way. Lizardmen, dragons, kobolds, an assortment of half-draconic monstrosities, undead, and Nyrionaxis herself occasionally making an appearance to harass the party. Speaking of, there is some good information on how each encounter should go in terms of enemy tactics, and more on how the dragon should appear and act throughout the adventure and at the end, making her much smarter than just a bloodthirsty monster (which she is, no doubt, but she knows how to go about it).

In terms of editing and layout, things look pretty good, having a sort of old-school aesthetic, and I didn’t catch any errors. However, the way things are set up is that in every encounter, the enemy statblocks are in the page, in a way that for me at least broke the flow. Especially since there are multiple types of enemies in each one, and new or modified creatures as well, it’s just pages upon pages of statblocks in the middle of the adventure. Perhaps it would be better to have them all in a single appendix for reference.

Overall, Reign of Ruin is an excellent adventure if you like some hardcore delving with lots of combat, and it will keep you fighting for at least a couple of sessions.

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