Adventure Review: Who Watches the Watch Fires (for the AGE system) by Jonathan Roberts and Josh Jerman from Kobold Quarterly

Somewhere the gaming gods are smiling. It’s been a while since I’ve GMed regularly. And now that
I may have the opportunity to do just that sometime in the next few months, I’ve started putting some ideas together for a fantasy campaign. I’m sure it’s like knocking the rust off your trusty old bicycle, but I’m looking to do things a little differently this time. As such, I’m always looking for ideas…

And where better to look than in Kobold Quarterly? It’s always chock full of food for thought to get the adventuring juices flowing. And in the July 2011 issue – KQ#18 – they included an adventure set in Midgard called “Who Watches the Watchers?” by Jonathan Roberts. In it, the PCs must struggle against time and opposing forces to alert a sleeping city. As Jim Morrison once said with The Doors, “Come on baby, light my fire / Try to set the night on fire…”

A group of mercenaries have taken one of the watchfire towers along the southern road to Starlight Keep to warn the people of Friula against invaders. When the lights go on, the city locks its gates and the marauders are met on the field by the warriors of Friula.

I have to admit that because it was written for 4e I didn’t pay all that much attention. But, like many good ideas, this one merely needed to bludgeon me upside the head before I really saw it for what it’s worth. (Just ask my wife about the bludgeoning, it’s not too far from the truth!)

Thankfully the kobolds decided to convert the adventure for the AGE system. Josh Jarman did the work to convert it, and the kobolds released it into the wild as a free PDF. (Mace to the head!) Whether you play in Midgard or some other world, this adventure works beautifully as a way to transition from one set of adventures to the next. Change the place or the names a bit and you have a great introductory adventure as well if the party is particularly linked to a given kingdom.

The AGE conversion takes nothing away from the original adventure and merely tweaks it a bit. 4e’s skill challenge become AGE’s ability challenges, with text describing the target numbers (TN), abilities to be used, and so on. Really the mechanics changes are seamless. The stat blocks are similarly tweaked to show AGE stats for NPCs, though the stats are split up into multiple blocks vs. included in a combined 4e block. I did notice the addition of the heirloom blade to the end of the AGE-version of the adventure, which was a nice touch.

Honestly this adventure has a bit of everything – sneaking around, battling human mercenaries, fighting vicious war hounds, and lighting the watch fire to alert the city to impending danger. It’s perfect to get a new gaming group going with a bang or to work as a transition to some larger encounters down the line. This is definitely an adventure I’ll keep in my back pocket until I need it!

Check out at the Kobold Quarterly Store Who Watches the Watch Fires today (for free!) and see if your players have what it takes to save the day!

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