* This review follows the designer's advise to run the Thunder Rift series (along with game07: B10 Assault on Raven's Ruin) in a particular order.
* Party rolled: Human female Paladin LG, Dwarf male Cleric LN, Halfelf female Ranger CG, Gnome female Magic-User NN, Halfelf male Cleric/Magic-User CG, Halfling male Thief CN -- Ray's Realm allows such racial classing as part of the adventuring package and encourages his Realm players to mix in as many races and classes so as to enjoy the breadth and depth of any given adventure... so's I dids!
A word about the Thunder Rift modules: these adventures were created in 1992 (when some of us were youngers just starting to explore the game) and were meant to be a sandbox of sorts for DMs and players both new to the game. They allowed for a lot of modification and were interconnected only by threads, to be filled and fleshed out by the DM running things, adaptable to any of the gameworlds. As such, there is ample opportunity for Ray to put his Realmstamp upon them, which I am pleased to find to be the case. I didn't think I would recall as much as I did about the wilderness spread of the adventures, but it didn't affect my play of them in the least. Ray's done the project a fine service in his importation to the Realm, with custom music and graphics detailing each design individually. On to it, then!
Our intrepid party, now with bright new levels after our last cat-and-mouse game, chanced upon the village Kleine. Of course, as soon as we set foot among the shopfronts and shanties, news of troubles-needing-attention caught our ears and didn't quite stop their echo until we'd paid a visit to the Melodious Harpy and hoisted a few there. Someone's been to an awful lot of thieving about Kleine lately, and though it sounded as if the whole truth of it was missing a bit off the top as well, we struck a bargain with the burgo. Off we went, into the woods to find the ruins of Raven's hidden roost and try to sort this shady business...
Ray's older work still holds up, especially with the way he set up his events and chains. Combat arrangements are spot-on, and though there is a lot to see and do (and walk off with), you never have to see the ropes and pulleys as it were: everything worked just as intended, including some special encounters that are the offbeat off-colour hallmark of the Realm conversions. I have this module and I would not have thought certain parts translatable to FRUA... but Ray managed it, and ably. This was all nostalgia for me, especially the art and the situations Ray formulates with events. Great stuff!
I accidentally left the village too soon after we celebrated our newfound notoriety (great change of events and attitudes with the npcs!), but luckily my party was able to book passage on a river trawler north and in the training hall there I [R]emoved each pc for copy/pasting into our next adventure's save directory!