Cruel Shadows

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Um, it's April 9th. 4e is launched on June 6th (anniversary of D-Day invasion...any significance to that?). This article is not helpful for several months. Wouldn't it have been better for this article to have had 3.5e stats now, with a 4e web enhancement in a couple of months? Or, perhaps even better, if this article had been accompanied by the stat sheets for the sample encounters?

The Customization paragraph isn't really all that helpful. And, which Monster Manual is the article referring to in the paragraph entitled 'Shadar Kai'.
i'm assuming this is the "ramping up" to 4th ed that has been talked about.

the article itself is ripe to be mined for ideas and puts an interesting twist on a static dungeon. the location mentioned is interesting (to me) and could be the basis for some mid-level adventures. namely, what else is in that place?

since the shadar-kai appeared in the fiend folio for 3rd edition (and, to my knowledge, no place else) then i would assume that the article refers to the 4th edition monster manual. then again, i have not seen the last two monster manuals for 3rd edition so i could be off.

the article didn't strike me as being stat heavy and looks like it would work equally well if used in a 3.5 game or a 4th ed game.

i think these are the types of articles that we should be seeing in the magazines or as web articles right now. they seem useful to either edition and are well written.
It is a very intresting article... however i don't think it really tells us anything that couldn't be learned from worlds and monsters. It is basiclly completly useless in a 4ed context unless they release stats for some of the creatures in the encounters.

It is useful as a 3.5 attempt to capture the flavour of 4ed... but did i really need that? It's cool and better than nothing and probably even useful when 4th edition comes out, right now though it's useless to me.

Finally i have to say, i don't know what they could have done instead? dungeon is about adventures, so where does that leave the magazine while we wait for fourth?... well basicly it becomes a slightly different dragon if they aren't releaseing stuff like this. So imho this may have been the best thing they could have done (perhaps would have been a bit better with shadar Kai stats)
Stats for most of the creatures can be derived from the 4E DDM cards or have been spoiled already from pre-released cards or at D&DExp.

The issue isn't the monsters its that you probably need 4th level PCs to have a hope of completing such a module, if not 6th level or higher.
I didn't mean that if the stats were provided it would be more useful as playable in 4th.
I was more getting at that if the stats for the creatures were provided it would at least give a little more of an actual preview to 4th.
There are a lot of things I like about this article.
  • There are many opportunities for combat, but few inescapable/unavoidable combats.
  • There are NPCs who are neither clearly evil villains out to kill the PCs, nor clearly good friendlies seeking the PCs' aid.
  • NPCs could become allies or enemies depending on PC choices and actions.
  • Not all NPCs are homicidal/suicidal.
  • There's something of a hint of Planescape about the whole affair.

I think I find the Shadar-Kai themselves to be a bit cheesy, but possibly only because they're soooo goth.
however i don't think it really tells us anything that couldn't be learned from worlds and monsters.

I like it because I haven't read Worlds and Monsters
I rather liked the article, for exactly the reasons G-pa notes (aside from Planescape resemblance, since I've never played it). I particularly like that these Shadar-kai are set up at a delicate equilibrium, and the PCs can tilt it or even, if clever enough, play both sides for the middle. Lots of interesting possibilities.
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