Module Name – The Secrets of Shirakawa Castle
Authors – RCG Harlow/Rosemary CG (Same person. First link goes to her stuff on DM’s Guild, second link goes to her twitter.)
System/Character Level – DND 5E for 4-6 Level 4 players
Price – $4 (We were given a review copy for free.)
Well, there was a three week gap between this and our part one review, which is… sub-optimal. But life happens, things go on, and most importantly, we did finish the adventure!
If you want to read the first part of the review, you can find it here.
If you want to read our DM’s thoughts on running the module, you can find part 1 here, and part 2 here.
Two brief notes before we really dive into this article.
This article will contain spoilers for the module. We’re reviewing it, and we can’t review it without talking about the content. Which means spoilers. You have been warned.
There’s also one part of the module that’s not quite fair for me to review. I’ll go into why later, but to put it simply things went a bit off the rails as the end. Who’d have thunk?
Overall, my opinion on Shirakawa remains more or less the same as it did part one: it’s a strong module where the NPC’s are written well, and it has a bunch of interesting monsters that are outside of the traditional fare of role-playing games.
The module’s primary weakness is that it gets a bit linear near the very end. It also feels like most of the combat gets a little less brutal as things go on.
I say ‘most of the combat,’ because my players didn’t actually do the final fight. They mostly just surrendered to become slaves/concubines of the big bad. So yeah, guys, I love you, but god damnit. I even made custom tokens for the fight and everything. And then you all just surrendered into slavery to quasi-immortal fox demon in the shape of a women.
Even after she told you that she EATS PEOPLE? And was going to eat the 13 year she had taken hostage?
This is why I don’t feel super confident assessing the combat: because it’s quite possible that if your players don’t fall head over heels for this fox lady, it’s going to end up being a brutal battle.
I wouldn’t know because mine offered to be her slaves and/or concubines. I think a lot of stories have a hero who falls to the dark side, but I don’t think many of them have heroes who just fall for the dark side.
In either case, everyone enjoyed playing the module. If you have a few bucks to spare, I’d highly suggest picking it up. The ending is well written, as long as your players at least like… try to defeat the final boss, but I wouldn’t know. It does set up another one shot, Return to Shirakawa Castle, where I’m gonna make them face off against their old PC’s.
Other then that, I don’t have too much else to say. I’m gonna close out this article with some uploaded images of the maps I made for some of the fights. Feel free to use them if you end up running the module on your own.