DMs Guild Review – The Starlight Relic

Retrieve a relic from a forgotten temple hidden in the forest in this one-shot level 7 adventure.

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A review copy of “The Starlight Relic” was provided by the publisher.

Designed by: Ashley Warren

dms guild reviewThe Starlight Relic” is the third adventure in Ashley Warren’s “A Requiem of Wings” series, but you needn’t have played or read the first two to understand this one (and I confess, I have not). The adventure stands on its own as a self-contained artifact retrieval mission for level 7 PCs, with an excellent mix of puzzles, combat, and social encounters.

The PCs are summoned to the town of Magra by a wood-working merchant and musician, Vela Kapra. Vela has recently discovered the location of an important artifact, the titular relic, capable of repelling both celestials and demons. That’s a powerful thing to have when your city lies in the middle of an ongoing war between angels and demons.

There’s a few paragraphs of background information involving the region of Eberez, the city of Magra, and the war, but none of it is particularly necessary if your players want to jump right in. 

The adventure is organized into five scenes. Scene 1 gives the PCs some options for shopping and exploring the marketplace of Magra, but their primary concern is following up with Vela.

Vela reveals that she’s acquired a scroll with a song, a lovely, four-verse song that’s cleverly used as the framework for a later puzzle. The song eludes to the relic being hidden in a certain area in the nearby woods, and Vela wants the PCs to retrieve it. Vela is mostly neutral on the war, and wants to use the Relic as a defensive measure to keep Magra safe, and maybe bring peace.

A wrinkle is added in Scene 2 in the form of Sira, a mysterious warlock who offers to join the party on their quest before they embark. Sira claims to want to travel to the temple where the relic resides, but has no interest in the relic itself. She’s secretly a Celestial Warlock, and definitely has a side to the eternal conflict, and a desire for the relic. Hopefully PCs decide to take her along, but even if they don’t, she follows them anyway.

Outside the woods the PCs meet with a dwarven woodcutter who can fill in some details on the forest. Most importantly, she reveals the key to the Dethic alphabet, of which runes are inscribed on some of the trees. This turns into a really neat puzzle where the PCs must translate the runes on the trees to discover the right path to the temple – which is illustrated in the song. It’s the kind of smart puzzle that anyone can do, but which still feels challenging and fun for PCs to engage with.

dms guild review

In journeying through the woods, the PCs’ path diverges slightly depending on if they follow Vela’s song (combat encounters with Displacer Beasts and Will o’ Wisps) or Sira’s map (social encounter with faerie dragon, hostile encounter with violet fungus). All the encounters are richly flavorful to the fey-touched forest. For even more encounters, a d10 table is provided with suggestions for both combat and non-combat monsters.

Once the PCs are able to solve the Dethic rune alphabet puzzle (or roll some good Investigation checks), they reach the Temple of the Archfey. Sadly none of these areas are mapped at all. The temple itself is only three rooms but there’s definitely some combat involved, including an awesome boss battle with a hydra rising up from a pool of water (also teased in the song!).

The prize isn’t quite earned, as Sira makes a claim for the relic, creating an interesting final scenario. The adventure details several options for the PCs, including fighting her, siding with her, or negotiating with her. Some good-aligned PCs could especially see Sira’s point of view as wanting to tip the scales for the celestial side. Either way the PCs are rewarded either from Vela or Sira, as well as getting some nice loot from the temple.

“The Starlight Relic” is an excellent adventure that could be played as a very satisfying one-shot. The song-rune puzzle is really well done and does a fun job of teasing future events, like the hydra boss. There’s something for everyone here with fun battles, three-dimensional NPCs, and compelling choices.

Pros: 

  • The Song of the Starlight is cleverly used to tease future events and provide a framework for the puzzle to find the temple in the forest.
  • The Runic alphabet puzzle is used to solve the song, and the adventure includes printable handouts.
  • An appendix includes notes on major NPCs of the adventures, from a few sentences to several paragraphs depending on the NPC’s importance.
  • Table for additional random encounters.
  • Vela’s rewards include nifty magical trinkets that provide a skill boost.

Cons:

  • Only included map is the most unnecessary (the marketplace).

The Verdict: “The Starlight Relic” is a well-balanced, well-written adventure with an intriguing backdrop and excellent mix of role-playing, puzzles, and combat.

A review copy of “The Starlight Relic” was provided by the publisher.

Author: roguewatson

Freelance Writer

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