All the King's Men
All the King's Men Capsule Review by Jon Mott on 27/07/02
Style: 4 (Classy and well done)
Substance: 3 (Average)
All the King's Men is a murder mystery where literally none of the suspects are what they appear to be.
Product: All the King's Men
Author: Michael Tresca
Company/Publisher: Monkey God Enterprises
Line: d20 System
Page count: 48
Year published: 2002
Comp copy?: no
Capsule Review by Jon Mott on 27/07/02
Genre tags: Fantasy
All the King's Men is at its heart a whodunit, only in the world of 3rd ed D&D, murder mysteries do get so much more complicated when you involve magic, a dead archbishop, and an ogre named Mungo.
The module takes place in a pretty standard D&D setting in the city of Hamdon, although any large city can be used. An acting troupe known as "The King's Men" have recently been accused of the murder of an Archbishop who was of course opposed religiously to plays and the King's Men's use of magic to do some rather effective impersonations of the local nobility and clergy. The King of course loves the plays, and it's the only reason the King's Men are still around. When the party of PCs ends up in the middle of a King's Men play in the Orb Theatre, the mystery begins.
Designed fot 7th-9th level characters, the module isn't overly long and could even be completed in one or two sessions, depending on how good the PCs are at finding clues. The mystery itself isn't that complex as there's plenty of clues to ferret out by both roleplaying or the use of skills.
As with the author's previous work Tsar Rising, what makes the module a good one is the characters, the attention to detail, and the opportunity for the DM to have as much fun behind the screen as the PCs do in the game. Since there's several bizzare characters involved as the players race to find those responsible for the death of Archbishop Hezekiah and exonerate the King's Men, the DM is encouraged to ham it up as best they can, and to really work to set the "stage" as it were for this adventure.
There's plenty of combat for those in your party looking to get involved in a scrap or three, including several new monsters included in the module. Also there's more than ample opportunities to use roleplaying and skills to interact with the people of Hamdon and search for clues and suspects. And of course like any good murder mystery, there's plenty of good twists and turns as the PCs try to sort everything out. Also included are some new magic items, a few maps and some decent artwork, and several real groaner puns.
If you're looking for something a bit out of the ordinary, or a murder mystery to test your players, All the Kings Men is worth the price, for as they say, the play's the thing.