Temple of Dagon (PF1) by Necromancer Games
I am currently running a set of published modules for Pathfinder that take place in a "Lost Atlantis" kind of space. I thought a nice Temple of Dagon would make for a decent side event. So when it released, I tore through it to mine for ideas.
This is a pretty good answer to my desire for a side trek, but the module itself has a really big NPC-shaped hole in it.
The temple itself is a well populated old-school-influenced crawl. There's a good variety of by-the-book and custom-stat occupants to keep players on their toes. There's no "flow" to the temple, however. I need to state that this is both a good point and a bad one. There is the very real possibility that players will find their way into the more capstone encounters in the temple very quickly. But then, why do high priests and visiting divine emissaries always wait in the room farthest from the entrance? Well they shouldn't, so that's what I mean about the positive. There's also good advice about how the temple occupants ought to deal with an incursion by adventurers, so the big bad shouldn't sit in a room waiting for the climax anyway. Approve.
In addition to the eponymous temple, there are a handful of sandbox encounters, a minidungeon that's really more of an extended single encounter, and references to a few towns that are meant to set up the reason for the trip to the temple.
One of the sandbox encounters is a memorable set-piece. The others are simple, but effective.
The minidungeon is nothing that will stick with me or my players. I gather it is meant for the PCs to take over and use as a staging ground from which to assault the evil temple, evoking memories of a certain gatehouse in a certain classic module, but I doubt players will likely consider it for such without some help.
And the setup material... Well, I'm pretty happy I don't need it. The PCs are in a town, looking for work, when a mysterious stranger offers to send them on a sea voyage to another town to explore a ruined temple near there. Ok... But there's a genie child attached to this who is a strictly non-combatant loot-transport... and even though we've already got a job when we arrive in B town there's a proclamation (player handout! Me likee!) about a pirate bounty we're supposed to follow up on? Oh well, after that, there's no mention of which NPCs (if any) count against this bounty, so we appear to be done with it. I'm not really clear...
And then there's Namara... Or is there? NPC Namara is apparently the hook that takes us to that minidungeon. Thing is, there's no indication of who/what she is! There's a rumour about merfolk having visited town "several weeks ago". However the rest of the paragraph seems to imply we're talking to the merfolk since "They can serve as guides to the temple and [...] identify the [minidungeon]. They [...] can introduce the characters to Namara. The merfolk avoid combat and hastily retreat if threatened or attacked." So, I'm ready if my PCs attack the merfolk who were here several weeks ago and are offering to be guides... Ok, well at least I now have the name Namara...
Skip to the next mention of her where "while gathering information in town, the PCs encounter Namara." What's Namara? I don't know. She just tells them about the minidungeon. Oh and she lets slip that she's 800 years old. And then she gets mentioned only one more time, when we're pointed to the stat block of a 4th level half-elf, in case we need her stats... WTF. The genie boy who takes all my loot away gets a sidebar and an entire "ledger" handout page in the book, but Namara gets nothing.
Ultimately, I bought the Temple of Dagon, I got the Temple of Dagon, and my PCs are going to find themselves visiting the Temple of Dagon, so I am happy. But the stuff that pads this out to 30 pages... I can do without. I'd much rather have had a map of room T-7 (A pretty critical room in the Temple!) than poorly executed quest hooks, very poorly defined NPCs, and a forgetable mini dungeon.