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Item - Lathan's Gold

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Series: Dungeons & Dragons — no. 4
Translated Into: L'oro di Lathan (Italian)
Saran no ougon [ラサンの黄金] (Japanese)
Author: Rasmussen, Merle M.
Illustrators: Roslof, Jim (cover)
Easley, Jeff (interior)
Date: 1984
ISBN: 088038106X / 9780880381062
Product Code: XSOLO
Kveto's Thoughts:

This is the first of the 2-volume XSOLO series (the second being Thunderdelve Mountain) and it is probably the most complex of the solo modules I've found so far.

You are given a pre-generated character, the elf Latham, whose fiancee was kidnapped by an evil Baron. The Baron has promised to ransom her for a supply of gold. So you go in quest of a mythical cache of liquid gold on an island in the sea of Dread. It has a very complex combat system with lots of reference charts, particularly for wandering monsters, so it is much more a "game" than a "book." The choices tend to be limited to "go north," go west," etc.

That said, the module has a fair amount of options, including a city crawl as you try to recruit crew and sea and island hopping adventures. It even has an option if you get stranded on an island, you need to stay by the shore, rolling for random encounters until a merchant trader ship picks you up and you must negotiate passage.

It also has a number of other pre-generated characters, giving you the option of leading a party. Each of the other characters has a different mission, so you can either use them to carry on Latham's mission if he fails, or go on another mission (similar to the different missions in Midnight on Dagger Alley).

Unfortunately, like all of these solo modules, it suffers from a lack of descriptive writing with passages offering no atmosphere. A typical passage might say. "You lose one party member to the insect swarm. Cross off one of the NPC characters." Which lacks drama and feels very cold. While it is better than most of the solo modules, it still doesn't reach the storytelling level of an average Endless Quest book.

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