Author Topic: REVIEW: Adventures in Tethyr (by Debbi Rapp)  (Read 1010 times)

Offline Olivier Leroux

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REVIEW: Adventures in Tethyr (by Debbi Rapp)
« on: January 31, 2009, 10:53:46 AM »
Adventures in Tethyr
by Debbi Rapp

Reviewed by Ben Sanderfer

 Somewhat of a letdown in length, "Adventures in Tethyr" is a gold-box style adventure set in an area of the Forgotten Realms. It's touted as being an epic, but unfortunately it can be finished in about two hours without much trouble. But what it lacks in playing time is easily made up in the content of the game, and this is one module that seems to prove that quality is much better than quantity.

While it introduces nothing remarkably new to the standard Forgotten Realms setting, the little touches make parts of this module an absolute delight. And in the end, it's these little touches that make the whole thing shine.

Overall, the main plot is straightforward and somewhat cliché at times, falling back on the standard "go-here-and-do-this-for-me-and-I'll-give- you-what-you-want" method of discovering what's going on. At one point in the game, I was trying to find something for someone so they could give me something I needed, which was something I was trying to get for someone, so they could tell me where to go next...or something like that.

Toward the end, the combats can be a little tough on those who love punching into "Quick" mode, and you'll find that you cannot beat the final battle with that method. In fact, the final battle was slightly tougher than expected, and I had to fight it more than once, finally falling upon the right strategies to make it come out in my favor. That is something often hard to achieve with UA's limited combat AI.

The art, while nothing I hadn't seen before, was fitting to the story. In fact, this module may have the most "shopkeepers" I've ever seen.

Let's review the ratings:

   STORYLINE: 8

Not overly original, but well told and not at all hard to follow. Some of the side-quests were wonderful, but many of the NPCs seemed a little bland and somewhat like cardboard statistic cutouts. The objective was never in doubt, and unfortunately, no surprising twists or turns on the path to the end.

   ARTWORK: 8

While fitting to the storyline, nothing jumped out at me as fantastic. The choice was good, overall, but that's about all I can say about it.

   COMBATS: 7

One thing I can say is that the combats were challenging at times, and I find myself rarely challenged by UA combats...and I like that. Also, the combats fit the setting, and didn't seem too powerful or too weak for the party to handle.

   SOUNDS: 5

I didn't care much for the sound effects, especially in combat. When a party member missed, the sound was so low, I thought maybe my sound card was going out on me. And the "hit" sound was outrageously annoying at times.

   MUSIC: 8

On the other hand, the music was well selected, and showed up in abundance. The author certainly didn't neglect the use of music in this mod.

   BUGS: 9

There were a few minor bugs, and at least one author "error." Nothing that really took away from the overall experience.

   OTHER: 10

I really must give high marks to the little touches in the game. Some of them really make exploring the game a lot of fun. Had there been more of them, the game might really have been better.

   TOTAL SCORE: 8

And I'll add that I hope there's a sequel some day.

Offline Olivier Leroux

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Re: REVIEW: Adventures in Tethyr (by Debbi Rapp)
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2009, 10:55:04 AM »
Adventures in Tethyr
by Debbi Rapp

Reviewed by Rob

This is a really good module that just lets itself down in a few places. Those places are generally to do with the 'polish'. There are quite a few places where text has obviously been edited and an extra word has been left in or left out. Not critical, and it's not really something I care too much about, but it is noticeable and lets a good story down. Likewise, there are a few places where there are inconsistencies in the 'highlight' on text.

   Now, having said that and got all the negatives out of the way in two sentences.., WOW! Debbi, this was a really enjoyable little romp around Tethyr. The storyline flows nicely, you always have a good idea where to go next and what to do, but you never really feel like you are being channeled on the one path. Having said that, I have only played once and don't know what the other choices would have led to.

   A real strong point in this game is the detail that the cities are presented in. You start in Saradush and could probably wander around it for an hour without getting bored. It's just that well done. You don't have to, of course, but if you walk into a tavern, expect a tavern. If you buy cigars, you don't get a boring inventory item; you get to have a smoke with the proprietor. Little touches like this really set a game apart, and this is where Adventures in Tethyr scores a lot of points for me.

   On the same note, I thought all the music was well picked and always added to the atmosphere. I particularly liked the little ditty that plays as you walk into a tavern. The sound effects are pretty good too, my favourite here being the sounds of gully dwarves running away behind me. :) Overall, I'd have to say the music added an awful lot to this module, without being overstated. It really kept the mood right.

   Well, I have already written more than I intended to. I'll finish with a recommendation. Download this module, play it yourself, and you'll see all the wonderful things and all the great work Debbi has put into this. It's a long module, so make sure you have a few hours to play it, because believe me, once you start, it's not something you'll want to stop.

Overall Rating: 9 out of 10

Offline PetrusOctavianus

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Re: REVIEW: Adventures in Tethyr (by Debbi Rapp)
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2017, 01:41:37 PM »
This was a nice module. Not quite of epic length, but it sure took me more than two hours to complete. To complete it in two hours Ben must have devoured it like a dog eats its dinner.

There is a definite feminine touch to this module, which is most evident in the staggering amount of shops in the game.

There were a few typos, and one bug that could have been game breaking. At the evil Baron's castle one of the two stairs up from the dungeon leads to dead end, but fortunately there is a second stair that can be used.

The best part of the module for me was the encounters. I liked how it was possible to resolve many of them in non-violent ways. The combat encounters were also quite varied, but became rather too easy due to the Monty Haul nature of this module, and its prequel. New characters start with 40,000 XP, but I imported some very well equipped (but nothing I couldn't buy in this module) characters from Genesis Gate with 20-25,000 XP and the only trouble was with some Purple Worms early in the game. Once they had -10 AC nothing could stop them, and the final battles became too easy. They ended the module with about 65 - 80, 000 XP.
The final reward for completing the module is 1000 Gold, which is ironic considering an easy minor quest rewards the party with a Vorpal Sword. The only thing my party lacked at the end were STR enhancing items.

There are several towns in this module, which took a long time to explore due to their sizes. Too much real estate was used for empty buildings, which is one of my pet peeves. Four 22x22 maps is rather excessive for a town, I think. There were many fun things to discover, though, my favourites being the dermatologist and the council building, but it would have been better if was more concentrated.

Overall a very nice module, with a couple of unfortunate (IMO) design choices.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2017, 01:52:07 PM by PetrusOctavianus »