Dro Mandras II – The Conquered East is a 37 page document, number 5 in the series of Haunted Highlands products for Castles & Crusades, written by Casey Cristofferson and illustrated by Peter Bradley.
In this offering, we look across the river at the orc-infested ruins of eastern Dro Mandras; this is essentially a dungeon laid out on the surface, in the tradition of RuneQuest‘s Big Rubble. If the adventurers succeed in all their tasks, they may well play a major part in lifting the siege of Dro Mandras; each major objective they achieve scores points, and once they reach 400 points, the city is liberated. Thus, unlike previous DB modules, this one could be said to have a story arc.
First, the PCs must cross the river into the eastern city. There are several ways to do this, which pit them against sewer denizens or the thieves’ guild as well as their official foes. Then, they work around the city quarter by quarter, in no specific order, assassinating key figures and destroying materiel. As well as the usual set of locations, building plans, monsters and treasure, each quarter has 3-4 key targets. As there are five quarters, I’d guess a total of 20 sessions of play here.
The party may encounter large forces of goblinoids, so house rules are provided for speeding up combat when greatly outnumbered. I haven’t tried them, but they are a variant on treating a squad of smaller foes as mechanically equivalent to a single larger one.
Rating: 4 out of 5. Although basically another large dungeon, this one benefits from decently sized maps, an overall story arc which can be played or ignored as the players see fit, and a collect-the-set subplot for ancient artefacts.