A review copy of “Keepers of the Pale Flame” was provided by the publisher. Find more reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

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

Designed by: M.T. Black Games

Keepers of the Flame is a haunted lighthouse adventure from one of the most prolific 5E designers, M.T. Black, whose work I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing many times throughout the years.

Like most of his work, Keepers of the Pale Flame is centered around a dungeon crawl, and feels inspired from classic D&D dungeon modules and old school adventure games. It’s relatively short run-time work in favor with the creepy though ultimately simple story.

The adventure takes place in the designer’s homebrew fantasy world of Iskandar, but can be dropped into any fantasy world with a small coastal village with a nearby lighthouse.

The Weeping Point Lighthouse holds a dark secret. Long ago a malevolent reef god appeared as a siren that lured ships to their deaths — pretty much the opposite of what a lighthouse should do! A priest and the then-keeper found a way to satiate the evil god by lighting candles and making animal sacrifices, keeping it slumbering.

But every few decades it has to be fed a single human sacrifice. Oof.

Fast-forward a few centuries and the latest keeper loses his nerve, and refuses to go through with the next scheduled human sacrifice. The reef god wakes up and starts destroying ships again, and the keeper ultimately kills himself by leaping off the lighthouse.

Then he becomes a poltergeist that haunts the lighthouse, attacking and killing anyone who tries to investigate.

It’s a simple but compelling backstory that begins with a paranormal investigation, and ends with an epic, multi-stage boss battle against an aquatic god in the sea caves beneath the lighthouse.

As I’ve learned over the years, this designer’s biggest strengths lie with dungeon design.

keepers pale flame pic

The lighthouse, including the basement and hidden sea caves, are only about a dozen rooms. But every single room has something interesting to do, whether it’s a battle against bone crabs, a tub with haunted water that tries to drown new victims, or a vision of Rados the keeper creepily throwing himself off the top of the lighthouse (save for psychic damage!).

The atmosphere is appropriately creepy, with haunted visions, disembodied voices, and frightening teases carved into walls. I particularly like finding an important key on a dead body (one of the villagers), which then opens a secret door to the sea caves below.

The climactic boss battle is supremely cool, especially for Tier 1. The shapeshifting god begins in siren form, but once defeated she drops into the water and emerges as a 12-foot long mantis shrimp! She has shark allies and can summon swarms of toxic shrimp.

As the party learns about the god’s weaknesses throughout their dungeon crawl, they come into play during the final battle, such as lighting the candles (the pale flame!) and splashing her with stored animal blood. Knowledge is power!

M.T. Black’s weaknesses also remain the same: presentation. Maps are provided, but they’re black and white Dyson Logos depictions, which I have never enjoyed seeing. This adventure also has the least amount of artwork in any of his adventures, pretty much just leaving us the dungeon and village maps. That being said, the lack of art and color isn’t out of place in the smaller, ezine format that he’s been using the last several years.

There’s also a lack of social opportunities outside of the village where you get the quest. The biggest missed opportunity is when encountering the poltergeist, considering we the DM know his entire backstory. Or the fact that a “sea god” has zero dialogue and is just a feral monster. But the relatively well-paced dungeon, which could be finished in a one-shot, and top-tier exploration helps alleviate these potential gaps in the story-telling.


  • Short but detailed dungeon, with something interesting to uncover (or battle) in every room.
  • Epic, multi-stage boss battle against an aquatic goddess.
  • Encounter adjustments for levels 1-4.


  • Black and white, graph paper dungeon map.

The Verdict: Keepers of the Pale Flame is a classic haunted lighthouse dungeon crawl with an appropriately creepy atmosphere leading to a well-constructed boss battle.

A review copy of “Keepers of the Pale Flame” was provided by the publisher. Find more reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

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