First the cover :
Art by Robert Ball and quite a striking cover in fact, certainly superior to the inside art. I'm assuming this shows one of Lord Azzur's troll guards. The titular port refers of course to Port Blacksand.
The interior art is more problematic. Minimilist art style is one thing but its quite another to obscure someone's face as seen in this illustration of Hakasan Za :
You can just about make out her face but whats the point of creating a new companion / character if you cant properly see them ?
As for the adventure itself, I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected to. Well written, fast moving and steeped in the lore and history of FF. However, it may have been just a little too easy to complete. Although there are many dangers to overcome , there is none of the fiendish numerical tests and wordplay from the vintage FF books. True, you need to have a lot of ' shopping list ' items in order to proceed at specific times but its much easier to just pretend you have said items than being told to solve an equation or add numbers together.
I also wished Ian had invested more character into the villains as much as he does the good guys. Zanbar Bone isn't a character at all, just a boss monster who appears at the end to be bumped off.
And the infamous Lord Azzur remains an enigma and a mystery as we see no more of him nor learn no more about him than we did in CITY OF THIEVES. And why would he ally himself with Bone, as surely that would undermine his own rule ? And its news to me that Bone was once human as Ian never mentioned this before. Its almost as if he were retroactively re-writing the history of FF.
At times, POP almost feels like an homage to FF rather than a proper FF adventure with copious references to the past, almost a greatest hits package if you will. That said , its extremely well written and cleverly plotted, a real page turner as they say.
And any veteran FF fan will feel a warn glow upon reading Yaztromo's final words which brings POP to a perfect close.
Although I found the timeframe somewhat confusing. Going by the encounter with Bignose, are we to assume that this adventure takes place concurrently with FOREST OF DOOM ? But surely it takes place AFTER City Of Thieves ?
A few plot elements also bothered me. It doesn't make sense to me why Gurnard Jaggle would leave booby trapped chests for other fortune hunters. And why are you foraging for scraps in Chalice when you are supposed to start the adventure with 10 meals ?
But these are minor quibbles because overall, Port of Peril is a good, solid, old school FF adventure. And one which I thoroughly enjoyed.
I hope you have enjoyed reading my review just as much !