It took me about two hours to finally manage to get to a game store that was not only participating in Free RPG Day, but also not requiring a randomized roll to get the game product you wanted. In hindsight I suppose I should have given the d20 a shot, but honestly I didnt really give a shit what most companies were desperately trying to pitch. It would have been one of many other things to rot on my bookshelf that I would, "get around to," eventually.
By eventually, I of course mean never.
I wanst terribly thrilled with Treasure of Talon Pass, though it was alright since I also managed to get the dungeon tile and mini (instead of just one of the above), but this year would be different. We get something that is introductory level, for Eberron, and by Keith Baker. I mean, it cannot possibly fail, can it?
Khyber's Harvest is a level 2 adventure that is intended to be something that you could use to introduce your players to Eberron. It takes place in the Shadow Marches, and centers around yet another ploy by aberrant agents bent on doing in general not-nice things. As a fan of Eberron, the Shadow Marches, and H.P. Lovecraft I heartily endorse this setup.
The gist of the adventure is that the party shows up in Blackroot looking for someone, and discover that she's been kidnapped. They then go off on a wonderful journey of discovery as they plow through a cavern filled with living words, mouths-in-the-floor, dolgaunts, and other frankly bizarre shit.
I think that this is a very good adventure. I mean yeah, its free, but in this instance the price does not reflect the quality: I think its got a lot of good content and other stuff that make it worth the...time, I guess? I really didnt sacrifice anything else, though I did buy a new battle mat just so I didnt seem like that I just showed up to get free swag.
I plan on running it tomorrow for a 4th Edition newbie and another guy that is new to our group, just so one can learn the ropes and the other can see how his character plays out.
On another note, this adventure is chock full of stuff that you can take away into any game. The first thing I noticed was living darkness, a type of living spell. Living spells were introduced in Eberron, and the name says it all: they are magical effects that function much like oozes do, but also carry the effect of their spell. A living flaming sphere, for example, can surround you and deal fire damage. Living darkness basically sits on you, blinds you, and deals necrotic damage.
This is a good benchmark for DMs wanting to make their own living spells: pick an effect, and model it like an ooze. This one is a level 6 elite, so I expect most to also be elites. Except for a living magic missile...that would be a neat small ooze minion that deals force damage on a charge. Fuck yeah.
Another cool thing? Symbionts. They are slotted magic items that use healing surges in order to activate their powers. Also, if you roll a nat 1 then they do something negative to you (aberrants are immune to this critical failure). Interesting and cool.
I'm really glad I put up with the frustrating of burning ALL my free time this morning to hunt this sucker down. Well worth the effort and bullshit, even if I had to wait til I got off work to actually read it.