The City of Talos is the third adventure by Kevin Watson and Dark Naga games. Kevin has provided me with a rough version of the adventure to do a pre-release review. The adventure is designed for 3-7 characters levels 8-10. It is also part three of the Haunting of Hastur series. If you’ve played the previous adventures, The Lost Temple of Forgotten Evil and The Buried Zikurat, then you’re in for a treat. In The City of Talos, Hastur’s insidious plan moves forward.
The adventure is actually made of two parts. The first is the adventure booklet itself. This contains 13 related extended encounters/short adventures. The first is designed specifically for parties that haven’t played the previous two adventures. It features an evil temple and an introduction to the unique dark elves of Dark Naga’s books, the Formene. The other 12 adventures are unique mixture of classic dungeon/cave crawls, exploration, and roleplaying and diplomacy. While they may not take up too much space in the book, each can provide hours of game play. For example one of the extended encounters is a lost subterranean city. The combats are unique and varied. The party will be fighting classic Lovecraftian opponents like cultists and denizens of Leng as well as more classic fantasy fare like zombies, kobolds, and medusa. Each encounter works and the variety and flexibility of their use helps keep things from getting stale and predictable.
The adventure is fantastic, but to be honesty I enjoyed the gazetteer of Talos even more. As mentioned before, Dark Naga’s “dark elves” are quite unique and are definitely not drow. The Formene are pale skinned with bulbous eyes and are aren’t evil spider-worshiping bastards. They have and knowledge-loving society. The gazetteer starts a history of the Formene, Nexuses, and their ecology. It also discusses the sentient rocky Dehava and their relationship to Formene society. The rest of the book discusses how the Formene deal with surface dwellers and gives a detailed over of Talos. Each of the quarters features a “# of things you need to know.” These are really helpful and do a fantastic job of fleshing out the city. As a librarian, the Knowledge Quarter was most definitely my favourite section. Kevin might have even asked me to provide a bit of “professional input” for this section, so I might have a slight bias.
If you like straight forward, rail-road-y dungeon crawls, this adventure isn’t for you. However, if you like flexibility in your modules and the chance give your characters something new, you should definitely pick up The City of Talos.