Slumbering Tsar - The Desolation - The Edge of Oblivion is the first part in a 14 chapter mega-adventure from the creative minds of Necromancer Games and Frog God Games. This 14 chapter mega-adventure is divided into three main adventures: The Desolation (consisting of three chapters), the Temple-City of Orcus (consisting of five chapters) and lastly the Hidden Citadel (consisting of six chapters). It is generally not recommended that any of the individual chapterss are run on their own, though those chapters that form a particular adventure can be run as a single adventure product with some modification.
The Edge of Oblivion is the first part of the Desolation and sees the adventurers arrive at a rather dilapidated settlement called the Camp, where they get the chance to explore, learn about the various northern lands of the Desolation and encounter some of the numerous threats that pervade the area. The Ghosts of Victory, the second chapter in the Desolation, continues the exploration of the Desolation with the magically created Chaos Rift and the deadly storms of the Ashen Waste, while chapter three, the Western Front concludes the details of the Desolation with the Boiling Lands and the Dead Fields. In essence, this first adventure acts as a spring board to further exploration of the Desolation, which in turn, at the end, brings the characters to the gates of the Temple-City of Orcus where the adventure continues.
The Edge of Oblivion is a professionally and excellently presented product, with high production quality, excellent writing and very good art. It ticks all the boxes as far as presentation and writing go, providing vivid and frankly quite compelling details on the adventure background which features the battle between the Army of Light and the hordes of Orcus. The background details are rich and ripe with opportunity, allowing plenty of room to incorporate your own ideas and thoughts. The adventure hooks are enough to get you started on exploring the Desolation and the Camp, though I have my doubts about whether they're compelling enough to provide incentive and motivation to continue the exploration beyond that. With less than a handful of parts in the mega-adventure released so far, it's hard to estimate the purpose and motivation of the rest of the adventure, and how easy it will be to keep the characters hooked on the plot hooks provided. The lack of a complete adventure overview in some form is quite bothersome, as it doesn't give you enough information to make the most of the material provided, or to incorporate overarching plots across the three adventures.
This chapter of the adventure is focused solely on the Camp, a small, but wretched settlement. The aim is to give characters both a base of operations as well as an introduction to the adventure and the Desolation itself. Here the characters will deal with all sorts of interesting characters and creatures, and find themselves embroidered in a variety of schemes and conflicts. I though the Camp was very well done, with great roleplaying opportunity, very interesting encounters with all manner of creatures, and the opportunity to learn a lot about what lies ahead. There are several fixed encounters in the adventure, but also other encounters that are triggered by various events as the characters explore the Desolation. I thought this was an excellent touch, though at the same time I was disappointed that the adventure couldn't have provided more details or integrated further. For example, there's no integration with the other two adventures in the series (Temple-City of Orcus) and (The Hidden Citadel), and it would've been really nice to give a well-fleshed out base with colorful characters a more lasting role in the overall adventure.
Having read all three parts of the Desolation adventure, I have to admit that I like this one the best. It's got the most opportunity for roleplaying, the most opportunity for DMs to stretch the creative minds, and the author has provided a compelling area to act as a springboard to the rest of the Desolation. Within the scope of the broader adventure the Edge of Oblivion has a few faults, but as a stand-alone area it's a lovely settlement with diversity of characters and interesting subplots. For those not interested in running through this mega-adventure, the Camp is an unique location that can easily be used in other campaigns. Overall. a great start to the mega-adventure, but lacking in details as to what this mega-adventure actually entails, and a more lasting connection to its material for the Camp itself.
[4 of 5 Stars!]