B7 Rahasia Capsule Review by James Landry on 14/04/01
Style: 4 (Classy and well done)
Substance: 4 (Meaty)
A deep and interesting adventure where the PCs must endeavor not to kill anyone while saving possessed elves.
Product: B7 Rahasia
Author: Tracy and Laura Hickman
Line: Basic D&D
Page count: 32
Year published: 1984
Capsule Review by James Landry on 14/04/01
Genre tags: Fantasy
This is one in a series of reviews covering most of the Basic D&D sets and modules. I was digging through my old D&D materials before selling them, and decided to write reviews of them for people to know what is worthwhile and what should be avoided.
These reviews will contain spoilers, so avoid at your own risk. Of course, since these modules have been out for 17 years or so, maybe it is a little late for spoiler warnings.
Rahasia was written by Tracy and Laura Hickman and appeared in 1984.
Rahasia is the name of a beautiful elven maiden. She lives in a small village near a temple, maintained by the Siswa, a group of teachers and students. A man known only as "the Rahib" has ensorcelled the Siswa and seeks to free three witches by allowing them to possess beautiful elven maidens. Rahasia is the only one left to be kidnapped and taken to the temple. The PCs must rescue the other two maidens, defeat the witches and the Rahib, and free the Siswa.
The first thing you notice about this module are the production values. The art is substantially better than earlier B-series modules. There is a fair amount of art, including three full-page pieces, and they are all good. Jeff Easley and Tim Truman provided their usual skills. In addition, the small side pieces and the wine bottles look very good on the page.
The other thing that quickly becomes apparent is that this is set in a different cultural milieu than standard D&D. Everything has an arabic flair, from the text to the names to the art. It's a nice surprise, and reinforces the sense of mysticism and magic in the module. There's a sense that the PCs have entered a different world with secrets and magic they do not understand. It works well for the module.
A nice twist to this adventure is that almost everyone the PCs will encounter is actually a good guy, charmed by the Rahib. Thus the characters have to take care not to kill the Siswa, and this is reinforced by the XP rewards: they gain XP for subduing and lose it for killing the Siswa.
The temple complex is very large, and makes frequent use of magical portals, that will redirect the characters all over the place. This is another nice way to unsettle the PCs and make them rely more on their wits. In addition, there are real advantages in the adventure to thinking before fighting. Some of the monsters (like the Bone Golem and the Siswa) will likely not attack characters if they wear Siswa robes.
In addition, the adventure is cleverly set up so that the PCs can enter the temple complex in a number of ways. If they are captured by the Siswa, they appear in prison cells and may try to escape. They can get in through the front door, or teleport directly to the third level by using the portal in the Roadside Shrine.
One interesting facet of the adventure is the use of wine to produce visions. In addition, the labels on the wine contain a secret code that will help the characters through a labyrinth. Now, this code isn't really necessary to complete the module, but it is nice to have it there for the observant players. It's also an original gimmick.
The main antagonists are a group of three witches currently attempting to possess three elven maidens. Only through the PCs' efforts can they be destroyed and the elven maidens freed. Interestingly, if all three witches are active at once, they all become stronger. This was a nice idea, and could probably be implemented in a much more interesting way in 3e.
This adventure had much higher production values and writing quality than earlier adventures. The plot is also more complicated, with characters first having to defeat the Rahib and then the witches, all the while navigating ancient puzzles and attempting to protect the Siswa and the possessed elven maidens. I recommend getting this one, and most of the elements would be easy to convert to third edition if desired.