Looking Over Dungeon Delve: Coppernight Hold


It's still just cover art

Premise

A dragon-led kobold band has overtaken a dwarf mine and imprisoned the captured survivors, including some militia from a nearby town.


Good

The ideas to expand the adventure by having a larger complex and possibly having a mastermind villain interested in something special that the dwarves did not realize they found are good thoughts.


Giving each of the slingers a different type of special shot is a decent way to add some tactical differentiation to them.


Improvising traps out of tapestries and statues is a nice indication that the kobolds are cunning without causing immediate questions about how they set up their traps.


Similarly, I like the kobolds shouting to alert their allies in the next room.


The inclusion of reinforcement plans if the party leaves and returns later is nice.


Having retreat conditions for the dragon is a welcome surprise.


The advice for having the dragon act haughty and demand that the party either surrenders or retreats is wonderful and shouldn’t just be saved for in case the players need a reminder that those are options.


Salvageable

The hook to find out what happened to the missing militia members lacks a reason for the party to press on after finding out that the site is overrun with kobolds (instead of returning to the town for reinforcements). I’d offer a reward for their rescue, and perhaps a substantially lower reward for definitive proof of death, to provide more urgency.


Needing a check to notice a rope ladder going into a pit is silly. Just let the PCs see it.


A pot of glue immobilizing a character seems excessive. I’d change it to reducing movement speed instead.


Needing a check to move through the northeast rubble seems odd. It is already much farther from the stairs than the southwest rubble and thus probably a less attractive route; there’s no need to make it even less appealing.


Bad

The idea to expand the adventure by adding a magical communication system that can put the party in contact with the prisoners doesn’t make sense to me. I understand that the kobolds are invaders and wouldn’t necessarily know that the place they put their prisoners isn’t isolated; my problem is with the prisoners being free to respond with useful information. Why would they not be guarded or restrained, if not both?


If the north and west sides of the hilltop are “impassable due to high piles of unstable rubble”, wouldn’t those also provide obvious avenues to approach unseen?


Why is the ceiling in the mine 15’ high? Given that it was made by dwarves, I’d expect the ceilings to be uncomfortably low instead.


It’s not clear if the “northern section” lined with tapestries in area 2 is the east-west corridor, the area around the statue, or both.


The boxed text for area 3 implies the occupants were just lazing about when the party enters, despite the cries to alert them in the previous area.


Despite being a magical feature, the bearskin is omitted from the boxed text. I’m not sure if it was a matter of the text being too long to add that or of the bearskin being a random feature that was tacked on later, but it’s inconsistent either way.


300 coins is not much of a pile unless they’re comically oversized. For reference, consider that a 6” spindle can hold about 100 CDs, so the coins might not even cover the whole sitting area of the 10’x10’ chair if spread flat.


The sidebar advice about making the final encounter easier if the PCs seem to be in danger of dying presupposes that such an ending would be “a shame” (possible but not necessarily true; my first Dungeons & Dragons session ever ended in an anti-climactic party slaughter, and that did nothing to dull our interest in playing more). The further suggestion to cheat the dice rolls is antithetical to me.


Overall

This is a decent low-level adventure, if somewhat lacking in any strong characteristics. The different area layouts, terrain elements, oddities, creature abilities, etc. tick off plenty of boxes to be fun in the moment, but it all feels a bit thrown together without much consideration for how different elements fit with each other, and I don’t think anything about it really stands out as a highlight or makes me excited to put it in a game. Still, nothing about it is offensively bad, either.


The intro and the ideas for expanding it provide easy connections to greater context, between having a town nearby and/or having a mastermind behind the dragon’s/kobolds’ actions. Again, nothing groundbreaking, but it’s serviceable.


All in all, this is a very by-the-numbers adventure, but it does provide a reasonable baseline of quality. I have trouble imagining a case where something better wouldn’t be readily available, but it’s fine for a situation where a GM is truly lacking inspiration and needs something to fill a missing piece of content.


PS: The encounters in this book are written in the style for official 4E products, so I won’t comment on all the instances of bland flavor, missing personalities, or overlooked considerations for parley in the text as written, since those are omnipresent.

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