DMs Guild Review – Fool’s Gold: Mystery in Baldur’s Gate

An investigation into missing persons in Baldur’s Gate leads to a villain with the Midas touch in this 3rd level mystery adventure.

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A review copy of “Fool’s Gold: Mystery in Baldur’s Gate” 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: Colin Caelin

It doesn’t take a super sleuth to draw at least two conclusions from the title of Fool’s Gold: Mystery in Baldur’s Gate – it’s a mystery-based adventure, and it takes place entirely within the city of Baldur’s Gate. 

The 20-page adventure is relatively short and simple – but not dissatisfying, featuring a compelling investigation into some missing persons by a realistic villain with refreshingly selfish motivations.

The adventure is designed for 3rd level parties, and can begin through one of two adventure hooks that have been expanded into full-on prologues, each featuring a different missing person (having been captured by the villain at the same time).

You can choose the noble adventure hook, helping Liesel Eberhardt track her patriar grandson, Josef, or search for the blue collar contractor Samuel via his concerned sibling (a third adventure hook suggests replacing either of the first two with your own NPCs for an ongoing campaign).

Either way, the quest-giving NPC points the party to Josef’s house, where they can search the area for clues. Fool’s Gold is a very exploration-heavy adventure, which I fully expect from a mystery. You won’t find any random encounters anywhere in the adventure.

At the house the party can speak to a servant, cast Speak with Animals to interrogate some crows or a kitchen mouse, and find scuff marks, a letter, and even a mysterious gold finger, alluding to what the villain is doing to his victims. 

The investigation that follows should lead the players to the transport company that was last seen at Josef’s residence, as well as the guarded home of Oliver Lowe, the man who made the delivery (and our secret villain).

The adventure pays special acknowledgement to the party’s relevant backgrounds when it comes to knowledge and information. For example, an Archeologist or Noble would recognize the name Oliver Lowe and his dubious reputation, while a Criminal could use their contacts to discover his residence and gambling debts. I rarely if ever see a player character’s background ever come up in an adventure, and Fool’s Gold uses those oft-forgotten character building ties in some really satisfying ways.

Oliver isn’t at home. He’s at his secret base at a local iron factory with his accomplish, the foundry manager Jemma. By exploring his house (or the transport company), the party will learn about the foundry. 

I was surprised that we’re not given a mini dungeon crawl in the foundry, despite the grid maps for all the important areas (alas, Dyson Logos art style) and room-by-room breakdown. The adventure keeps the action focused on pure exploration, save two rooms that feature petrifying monsters, cockatrices (cockatri?) and a basilisk. 

The party can either fight the monsters and lure the villain upstairs from his secret underground rooms, or find the rooms themselves and get the jump on them. The adventure includes several epilogues depending on if the party is able to capture or kill Oliver, or if he successfully escapes or even defeats the party. 

The only big misstep the adventure makes is in Oliver’s magic ring. Oliver acquired a cursed ring that can turn objects (and people) into solid gold, and has recently started using it on people, in the hopes of selling the solid gold statues to pay off gambling debts.

I like the Why and the Who of the plot, but the How, the ring, isn’t well explained within the context of the adventure. The players never learn about the ring, nor is it mentioned in the final battle or the epilogue. Conversely, the artifact-level ring is given a full half-page statblock in the Magic Items section – and it’s an incredibly powerful artifact to fall into the hands of 3rd level PCs. It’s a weird oversight in an otherwise well-organized and well-designed mystery adventure.

Pros:

  • Satisfying urban-based mystery with a variety of clues and epilogues.
  • Detailed adventure hooks that act as three separate prologues.
  • Background Bonuses give PCs of different backgrounds bonus information and knowledge throughout the investigation.
  • Utilizes Baldur’s Gate factions and culture.
  • Attractive layout.

Cons:

  • Black and white, Dyson Logos art style for maps.
  • The villain’s magic ring is an incredibly powerful artifact, and isn’t well-explained in the context of the story.

The Verdict: Fool’s Gold combines petrification, the legend of King Midas, and an opportunistic villain into a satisfying mini-mystery adventure.

A review copy of “Fool’s Gold: Mystery in Baldur’s Gate” 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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