Slumbering Tsar - The Desolation - The Ghosts of Victory is the second part in a 14 chapter mega-adventure from Necromancer Games and Frog God Games. This mega-adventure is further divided into three primary adventures - The Desolation (three chapters), the Temple-City of Orcus (five chapters), and the Hidden Citadel (six chapters). The primary adventures can be run as stand-alone or as part of the larger campaign arc, though it is not recommended that the individual chapters be run on their own, other than using material from said chapters in other adventures.
The Ghosts of Victory kicks off where the first part of the Desolation - the Edge of Oblivion - ended, with the characters about the leave the Camp and set out into the Desolation and beyond. The Ghosts of Victory described two of the four quarters that form the massive expanse that is the Desolation - the Ashen Waste and the Chaos Rift - while the third chapter in the Desolation describes the remaining two quadrants - The Boiling Lands and the Dead Fields - along with the network of paths and crossroads that run through the barren and dangerous Desolation. In the Ashen Waste the characters will encounter numerous threats and dangers while exploring the area, while the magically sundered rift, the Choas Rift, will reveal more about the history of the Desolation, the Army of Light and the hordes of Orcus and his disciples.
Like the first part, the Edge of Oblivion, the Ghosts of Victory is a high quality presented product, with excellent layout, art and fantastic writing. The maps are a bit sparse and perhaps bland, but no less functional because of it. The story details and background are handled very well, and elements of it are scattered throughout the various encounters of the Ashen Waste and the Chaos Rift. It's worth re-mentioning my complaint from the first part of the Desolation - there's no campaign summary, making it difficult to know exactly where all these chapters of the larger adventure are headed and how to plan around that to make the most of what is undoubtedly great background material. The problem is a little more prevalent in a way in this and the third part of the Desolation, in that there can be a lot of seemingly purposeless wandering and encounters that aren't necessarily tied to the plot in any way. It's a little like experiencing a vast wasteland of random encounters, though most of the encounters are either tied to events in the Camp or to story elements, though the players may not always be aware of this.
Issues of overarching story elements and plot aside, the Ashen Waste and Chaos Rift are locations oozing with flavor. The author has gone out of his way, even in the numerous available random encounters, to create every drop of flavor that he could, making each encounter here rich in detail and fun to play. There are some fantastic encounter locations, all described in gorgeous detail and with some challenging and interesting combat encounters. I naturally gravitated to those tied to the story elements or the exploits of the Camp, and it was a pleasure to read through this material. Each of the two quadrants in this product have their own flavor and theme, the Ashen Waste one of intense bone storms, and the Chaos Rift a deep gash in the earth caused by immense magical power. Despite the potential unrelated events and encounters that can be in these regions of the Desolation, players and their characters will no doubt have a blast. There's a very good variety of encounters and challenges, and with the Camp not far away, excellent opportunity for further roleplaying in between combat encounters. There is also some room for the characters to discover more about what happened here in the Desolation, the main players involved in that fatal clash of armies long ago, and what lies ahead for them in the Desolation.
The Ghosts of Victory is a very good product, oozing flavor and offering plenty of rich combat encounters and roleplaying opportunities. It's a pity the story elements, as yet, can not be tied together properly, but this product will be lots of fun even without that. Rich in detail, challenging in combat, and fun in unravelling the machinations of the Camp, this product offers a good taste of what is potentially to come. The differences between and themes of the two quarters of the Desolation are tangible, and players will enjoy the atmosphere created, and experience how the Desolation lives up to its name. Overall, a good product with a lot on offer - a dungeon crawl in the wilderness as only Necromancer can.
[4 of 5 Stars!]