Support my work via Patreon.
Designed by: JVC Parry and Phil Beckwith
The conclusion to P.B. Publishing’s Minotaur Trilogy, “Minotaur’s Bane,” is easily the best of the bunch, and one of the best (and bloodiest) adventures I’ve read in quite some time.
Designed for a party of 8th level heroes who have completed the first two adventures, it drops the party into an abyssal battlefield filled with spectral orcs and minotaurs locked in eternal combat. Demons are the real threat, and the party must journey into a challenging and intriguing maze, then further into the depths of a blood-soaked demon-lair to stop the Prince of Beasts himself.
The Adventure Synopsis doesn’t do a great job of outlining the adventure, but thankfully it’s very straight-forward. Picking up right after the second adventure, “Minotaur’s Betrayal” ended, the party is thrown into a demonic demiplane with three separate layers.
The Eternal Battlefield is a giant chasm that opens in the ground beneath the heroes, 100 feet below. A war rages as this reverse-Valhalla captures the minds and spirits of minotaur and orc alike, while demons ravage the entire area.
The party is pursued by a group of Tanarukk using a unique form of chase rules, granting a great sense of pacing and urgency as they battle random encounters and explore demonic versions of previously visited locations, including a zombified town, and the home of demonic Astarte, former leader of the Minotaurs. The party can also pick up several orc and minotaur allies along the way.
Defeating Astarte opens up the way to the next level of the hellscape beneath her house: The Maze of the Minotaur. Any minotaur story has to have a maze (I don’t make the rules), and the maze presented here is fantastic.
It’s built like an old school Zelda dungeon with separate interconnected rooms. But which mini-maze room you end up in depends on which direction you exited. It’s all trial and error, which could lead to heavy amounts of frustration if the PCs are particularly unlucky with their choices, as monsters have a 50% of respawning.
The Maze is a lot of fun. It’s very combat-oriented but suitably twisted and spooky, including a river of maggots, a bestial arena, and a darkened room full of whispering skulls and bone walls. The final boss of the area is a giant demon surrounded by multiple environmental hazards. The bosses in this adventure remind me of Metroidvanias in the best possible way, big marquee battles that are given lots of detail and attention.
After the maze is Baphomet’s Lair. Compared to the first two areas it’s a more traditional dungeon crawl. Demons are torturing people, performing dark rituals, summoning more demons, the usual. There are some places where our heroes can rescue people, including a 9th level mage to add to their party!
The dungeon includes multiple demon-themed sub-bosses leading up to the big bad, a slightly weakened CR 18 Baphomet with demonic versions of both the minotaur and orc leaders. Defeating them actually weakens Baphomet considerably. I love that his tactics each round are spelled out. Very handy for those of us DMs who can be overwhelmed with huge monsters with lots of options.
There’s not much of an epilogue here other than the demiplane closing and Baphomet’s reign of terror coming to an end, though the damage done was irreversible and terrible. A bittersweet ending, though one fraught with peril. The themes of demons, warfare, and bestial wrath are well in each area, and the maze in particular is incredibly clever and well-designed. The Minotaur Trilogy couldn’t have asked for a better conclusion.
- Uses past characters and events from the Minotaur Trilogy in meaningful ways.
- Fantastic battle maps and overland map of the Abyssal Rift.
- Tons of custom NPCs and monsters
- The Eternal Battlefield provides a good mix of overland adventure, random encounters, chase sequences, and mini-dungeons.
- The Maze of the Minotaur is clever, lengthy, and challenging, and could translate well to virtual tabletops.
- Epic final boss battle versus Baphomet, Prince of Beasts!
- Several errors, such as miss-numbering foes, or pointing to an “eastern passage” instead of a western one.
- Baphomet’s Domain is strangely organized for DMs.
The Verdict: “Minotaur’s Bane” provides fun mazes, horrible demons, and large-scale warfare in this action-packed, epic conclusion to the Minotaur Trilogy.
Support my work via Patreon.