Wizard in a Bottle – M. T. Black
This adventure is for a party of four 2nd or 3rd level characters, and would, in my opinion, work well as a side quest.
I’ve said it before, but here we go again, I love adventures with a good sense of story! Wizard in a Bottle has an interesting and easy to follow narrative that repeatedly shows itself throughout.
Without giving too much away, the characters are asked by Ulfgar, a simple but memorable character, to search for an old wizard friend of his from his adventuring days. He has already done most of the work in terms of locating her, and so sends the party straight off.
This first section is a great opportunity for roleplay. This adventure is designed for low level groups, and its a chance for them to develop their characters by responding to the attitude of Ulfgar and his request. They might feel sympathetic toward him or maybe think he’s hopeless. Either way, a perfect opening for a quest.
The dungeon itself is my favourite part of this adventure. Although simple in design, each room presents new surprises, whilst carrying on the theme of a ruined sorcerers tower, in which an adventuring party met their untimely end. Not only are the room unique, but there are several novel creatures, including a lesser water weird, for characters to tackle. It’s always great to see people making new monsters! There is also a cracking puzzle for players to solve. I thoroughly enjoy puzzles, riddles and the like when I get the chance to play (which is basically never!) and I think it’s great to see them used by others.
The final encounter in the dungeon (no spoilers) is sure to be a memorable one. There are interesting challenges, NPCs and a novel take on combat. It’s a superb end to a well crafted and highly stimulating dungeon!
For me personally, the adventure should maybe end there. The characters (hopefully) manage to solve the puzzle of the missing wizard (minor spoilers) and bring her back to town. After this, maybe a paragraph or two on her reactions to being back in the world, and the responses of her old friends. The author instead has decided to make the return of Amilya the wizard another section of adventure, based entirely in roleplay. As much as it makes for a good read, I can imagine the players getting a little tired of this section. After they’ve wrapped up the dungeon nicely, the NPC of Amilya keeps lingering on and causing minor issues, that personally I don’t see the need for.
Having said this, if your party love roleplay and really engage well with NPCs, then this section is excellent. It’s a good extension to the adventure, and helps to completely tie things up for Amilya, I’m just not sure that it’s entirely necessary.
Despite my feelings about the final ‘Going Home Again’ section, I still think this adventure is incredible. The hook is intriguing, the dungeon masterfully crafted, and the NPCs are strong, memorable characters. This adventure would make a great addition to any campaign as an easy to run side quest.
The cover artist is named Dan Cole.