Looking Over Dungeon Delve: The Silence of Evil


It's still just cover art

Premise

A divination ritual reveals that an imprisoned dracolich has learned from its past defeats and is close to gaining the power to become a real threat, so the party is sent to fight through the prison’s guards in order to reach and destroy the dracolich.


Good

I appreciate that two of the encounters begin with attempts at parley.


The Silence reviving its angel minions when bloodied is a nice touch.


Salvageable

I’d get rid of the damage immunity on the Silence’s coldfire pillar ability and change its cloak of vengeance ability to activate when bloodied instead of disabling.


The Silence’s amulet isn’t noted in the equipment portion of its stat block.


The champions’ auras should have flavorful descriptions when they have detectable effects.


If the dracolich could use the magic item in its hoard, the dracolich should use it.


Bad

Why does this dracolich follow the fluff of older editions (where a defeated dracolich’s spirit would return to its phylactery and search for a new body to rise in) instead of the fluff of 4E (where “[o]nce a dracolich’s physical body is demolished, its phylactery is also shattered and the beast is gone for good”)? Why is the adventure about hitting the pause button on the dracolich’s scheming for the third time in its history instead of finding the dracolich’s phylactery to destroy it for good? Why is the dracolich held in a prison where it can still do magic? Even if antimagic zones aren’t available, why not entomb it in such a way that it can’t do anything? Why does nobody realize that the prison guards are actually evil beings masquerading as good despite existing in a setting where there is common magic capable of detecting lies or identifying something as evil? Why are there so many major problems with the premise alone?


The ideas to expand the adventure aren’t terrible in and of themselves (though the first one comes close), but they require pulling off a Your Princess Is In Another Castle moment, which is generally poor design.


Area 2 is “given qualities that would make it impossible for the dracolich to use its powers to escape”, presumably because “wards on the walls inhibit necrotic effects in the chamber”, yet there are no mechanics to back up that claim; in fact, opening the door to area 3 allows the dracolich to enter and aid the party in fighting against the maruts. Though, even if I accept it as a narrative detail that doesn’t have defined mechanical backing, that begs the question of why the wards are in this room instead of in the room with the dracolich itself. At this point, I’m tempted to believe that people at WotC were being blackmailed by Rian Johnson and/or Shane Black when this adventure was written.


The area 2 tactics mention the champions being able to inflict immobilized, but they have no such abilities in their stat block.


Why are there random undead serving the dracolich in area 3?


Why does the dracolich wait to use its breath weapon when it can flood the whole of area 3 with it? Why does the dracolich even consider trying to position itself to negate its radiant damage vulnerability when “dying” would presumably allow it to revive at its phylactery, free of the prison? Why am I still trying to make sense from any of this trash?


Overall

This adventure is terrible. It’s an absolute mess where nobody cared about any of it making sense, and I have no patience to bother with it further.


All in all, calling this filler would be giving it more credit than it deserves. I might use the Silence’s stat block as a basis for a creature in a better adventure, but nothing else about this is worth a second glance.

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