Ok, after the disappointing Forest of Spirits, Tide of Honor (written by Tito Leati) kicks it up a notch, and then some. Instead of an endless series of boring combat encounters, this module actually contains a huge variety of stuff, from social encounters to puzzle solving and (gasp) even an old-school maze. Sure, there’s also some combat of course, but here it’s not the main meal on the menu. Hooray for that. Many of the encounters and scenarios are also somewhat free-form in how the PCs might solve (or avoid) them.
The plot has the PCs, now in Minkai proper, realize that they need some serious backup if they intend to put their “own” girl on the throne. Enter a bunch of factions (some shady, some more legit) which might be willing to support a claim for the throne… assuming the PCs manage to gain their good graces. How to do that? Well, that varies a lot. In one case, it involves the assassination of a corrupt general. In another, the rescue of a geisha from an… ardent admirer. Or maybe they’ll need to get rid of some bandits, to get an important bunch of locals on their side.
Of course, all this takes some framing and a bit of delicate GM manipulation. Your typical D&D PC will probably just want to march to the capital city and claim the throne – it’s up to the GM to make very clear to the players that without local support, this is a monumentally stupid idea. Assuming that gets done, this module contains a lot of fun. In a way it’s somewhat old-school, in the sense that there are puzzles (and the aforementioned maze) here – but I for one like those, as long as they are well-executed.
Oh, and there are also ninjas here. There are always ninjas.