DMs Guild Review – The Curse of Deltor’s Hold

Discover a buried secret while escaping a collapsed mine in this level 1 adventure.

dms guild review

A review copy of “The Curse of Deltor’s Hold” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using affiliate links for shopping and pledging via Patreon.

Designed by: Nicole Sparks

Level one adventures are challenging to design, because level 1 PCs suck. Few hit points, limited spell slots, and most classes lack their signature capabilities.

The Curse of Deltor’s Hold recognizes these limitations by focusing on story and exploration, while still granting exciting opportunities for heroism and dungeon crawling.

The Curse of Deltor’s Hold is a short, 14-page adventure designed for level 1, with some adjustment notes for increasing (or decreasing) the difficulty for up to 4th level.

The adventure takes place in the frontier mining town of Silverhope, with half a dozen adventure hooks using the many fun NPC residents. The first chapter is expertly written, providing just enough information to build fun role-playing scenes with just a few bullet points and pages.

There’s Jorrin the smith, a curt woman of few words. She’s involved with the baker’s daughter and has a small fire elemental who works the forge. Zuleika’s Saloon is run by an ettin, and one of the heads loves to gossip. The Fox & Firbolg restaurant is run by a werefox cook and a gregarious firbolg hostess. Any or all of these places (and a dozen more) could make hilariously enjoyable social encounters.

Ultimately the party is here to investigate the Silverhope mine. Recent accidents have caused the miners and townsfolk to spread rumors about a curse. The manager, Philena, hires the PCs to investigate the next morning, though not before the PCs have to fend off a bar brawl with some disgruntled miners.

dms guild

In chapter two, the party barely begins exploring the mine before a massive explosion collapses the entrance. The mine crew includes over half a dozen NPCs who are given the same effectively succinct descriptions as the townsfolk.

The mine collapse is an awesome opportunity for our newbie heroes to act like, well, heroes. Some of the miners are killed in scripted events, but others can be saved as everyone works together to escape, including protecting the miners while battling giant fire beetles.

The way out actually leads to the titular dungeon, an ancient underground dwarven stronghold that served as a contentious warzone between the resident dwarves and a nearby town. The 9-room dungeon is perfectly paced to not stretch the resources of our weak party and their even weaker miner escorts too thin, instead focusing on exploring the ruins, including a neat puzzle involving time, clocks, and light.

The final room reveals the source of the curse, a CR 2 revenant knight bound to the Hold to continue prowling and attacking anyone who comes near – and then erasing their memory of its existence. It’s a neat little payoff, though the actual revenant looks incredibly difficult for a level one party, possessing an AC of 17, over 50 hit points, and multiattack with a +6 greatsword. Oh and she regenerates 10 hit points every round and is immune to Turn Undead. Those level one PCs are completely toast!

Barring the difficulty spike at the end, this adventure is absolutely wonderful. I love the writing and characters throughout the town and the mine, the collapse is an effective inciting incident, and the overall pacing and length feels perfect for level one.

Even more impressive are the maps. The adventure includes multiple full color, detailed grid maps for the mine and the hold, as well as a lovely map of the town, and each map has separate player and DM versions. Despite its brevity, The Curse of Deltor’s Hold is a complete package, and maybe my new favorite level one adventure on the DMs Guild.

Pros:

  • Succinct descriptive writing provides a wealth of information on the town of Silverhope and its residents.
  • Encourages role-playing with over a dozen interesting, fun NPCs.
  • Tense and exciting mine collapse leads to a dungeon crawl with excellent environmental story-telling.
  • Full color grid maps for both dungeons (including pre and post mine collapse!), and a beautiful isometric town map (DM and player versions for all maps).

Cons:

  • Final boss fight is a total TPK for level 1 parties.

The Verdict: With exciting situations, mysterious exploration, and a frontier town full of colorful characters, The Curse of Deltor’s Hold is the prime example of a well-designed level one adventure.

A review copy of “The Curse of Deltor’s Hold” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using affiliate links for shopping and pledging via Patreon.

Author: roguewatson

Freelance Writer

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