‘The Heist of the Mad King’s Jewel:’ Adventure Campaign Book Review

The score of a lifetime awaits…but how long will that life last?

Welcome to Moscopolis, city of steam and steel, rags and riches, gnomes and…a lot more gnomes.  Within the mountain long revered by local tribes as a home for their gods and demons, a civilization of Gnomes, on the run from a corruption of life, has transplanted their great society, their incredible technology, and their genuine treasures.  A sprawling world held in only by the imagination of the Game Master, as the creative team has produced an incredibly detailed and meticulously crafted world, including many novel takes on races and subclasses.  There’s no question about the world here that I couldn’t find an answer to.  Want to know which gun manufacturer makes the best quality weapons?  That’s there.  Curious as to common ailments of low and dire consequence?  Yeah, they’ve got that.  Ever want to stamp your feet and go flying into the air with a unique and bespoke piece of equipment?  Well, me, too, so get a load of the chemical-powered Boots of Leaping, maybe my favorite piece in this book.

A combined campaign and setting, this tome has an enormous amount of information for a gaming group of any level of experience.  The main goal is to steal a very rare, very special item, but heading straight in and grabbing it might not be the best plan.  There are a slew of sidequest options available, and each and every one of them will affect the finale, either for the benefit or detriment of the party.  The way that all of the stories have been woven into a great tapestry pulls strings from nearly every part of the grand empire of the city.  What is even more impressive is that the designers have taken into account many different playstyles, from the quiet, careful, and coercive to the loud, brash, and bloody.  Now, any group of players has a chance of coming up with a solution to just about anything that will completely and utterly destroy the intended path of any simple task (like the group I had who cast Enlarge/Reduce on a creature and the branch that they had shoved into its mouth), but the team has offered a wide variety of options and potential results, more so than I’ve seen many other designers offer.

I love the artwork throughout the book, so many of the illustrations hearken back to some of the old days of D&D, when simple, yet menacing, black-and-white sketches spurred the imagination to wondrous heights.  Added amongst them are more modern examples, crafting an atmosphere that can draw the reader into the space wonderfully.  The maps are laid out very well, with many hidey-holes and secrets, and plenty of paths for one side or the other to gain a tactical advantage, if they think it through.  The layout is consistent with the standard of game manuals and campaigns, with tweaks that help to focus and organize the vast store of information that they’ve provided to us.

I had the opportunity to run some of the side quests with some of my gaming groups, and I found them easy enough to follow and execute, even when my players (Remember the enlarge thing?) went well off script.  Each plot is solid, well thought out, and will leave you and your group breathless with excitement and laughing your backsides off at the antics and results.  It’s the perfect place for a campaign of any kind of feeling, the humorous to the high drama, and it’s a story that I’ll happily play either side of any time.

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Creative Team:  Uroš Panić (Lead Designer); Slađan Rankić, Luka Stefanović, Gavrilo Kostić, Veselin Manojlović (Designers); Slađan Rankić (Loremaster); Uroš Panić, Veselin Manojlović (Editors); Vladimir Prodanović (Art Director); Ana Irga (Graphic Design); Minja Knežević, Alma Čitaković, Vitomir Višnjić,
Filip Vukoje, Nemanja Bubalo, Staša Miladinović (Artists); Dunja Gavrilović, Alec McKinley (Cartographers); Vladimir Prodanović (Cover Illustration)
Publisher: Mad Mage Games
Click here to purchase.



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