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The Crumbling Hall of the Frost Giant Jarl (3.0)
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/18/2016 07:51:02

The basic premise of this adventure is that some frost giants - who normally eke out a precarious existance as bandits high in the mountains - are having ideas above their station, harking back to long-ago days when they were a force to be reckoned with in the area. There's a bit more detail regarding who's involved and their intentions in the background notes for the DM, of course, but the fact that they are getting a bit frisky is pretty much common knowledge.


A few hooks are provided to help you get the party interested, but it's left to you to decide where their lair - this crumbling hall - might be, with a suggestion that you might make finding it part of the adventure, involving research of old records as well as exploration in hostile conditions.


The actual contents of this module start with the crumbling hall itself. It's based on September 2001 offerings in the Map-a-Week feature on the Wizards of the Coast website, with the relevant portion being reproduced here (although the original link in the PDF still works at the time of writing). It's a pretty straight-forward delve with some nice touches, but just about every creature encountered is going to fight, no questions asked. There are a few surprises, though...


A chilly challenge with nice detail and one unique creature that could prove... interesting, especially if it gets loose.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Crumbling Hall of the Frost Giant Jarl (3.0)
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DDEX1-11 Dark Pyramid of Sorcerer’s Isle (5e)
by Julie Y. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/14/2016 12:05:02

A solid dungeon crawl with opportunities for roleplay and surreal weirdness. Without going into spoilers, the final showdown has some particularly colorful and interesting elements. This adventure works very well as a stand-alone and can be dropped into a homebrew world fairly easily; it has some Forgotten Realms-specific antagonists, but they could be replaced by any factions who are interested in the secrets of the pyramid.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
DDEX1-11 Dark Pyramid of Sorcerer’s Isle (5e)
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House of the Harpies (3.0)
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/13/2016 08:08:48

This adventures involves a group of thieves who thought they were ever so smart in having a base outside of the city on which they prey - the city guards are not concerned about what happens outside the city walls, and the thieves do not trouble anyone other than city-dwellers so nobody around the amazing tree-house they've constructed is interested in them either. Only they have now been ousted by some harpies...


The obvious mission is to evict the harpies: whether or not the party is happy about the thieves moving back in depends on their outlook (or who is paying them!). The hooks provided to get them involved include, interestingly, a couple which are completely inaccurate but will get them to the right place, as well as more obvious things like the party rogue being approached for assistance.


The city is left unspecified so you can run this adventure anywhere you have a city with a forest nearby capable of supporting the tree house. The plan provided (again originally from the Map-a-Week feature on the Wizards of the Coast website) shows an evergreen tree, but it's not important to the structure of the tree house so if the most suitable forest is deciduous, a tree of appropriate size from there will do fine. (Or perhaps you are not enough of a botanist to care...) Be that as it may, the actual habitable portions of the tree house - and the mess the harpies have created - is well-described and should prove an entertaining 'inverted delve' for the party, with assorted harpies to fight as they, understandably, do not wish to be evicted.


Neatly, the harpies are not treated en mass, there is a defined leader with her own plans and tactics, as well as other mature harpies and even some young ones - who still can make themselves unpleasant to intruders. A few brief notes on how to follow up the adventure, depending both on why the party got involved in the first place and the outcome, are included.


Overall it is a nice straightforward adventure which can slot neatly into any campaign when the party is in an appropriate location - perhaps you want to get them more involved in urban life, or maybe they are just passing through - and level, with scope for being treated as a side-trek or incorporated more closely into your plots.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
House of the Harpies (3.0)
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Battlesystem Miniatures Rules (2e)
by Chris J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/11/2016 14:17:20

At the risk of repeating what everyone else has said, this product is excellent. The page quality is so crisp and sharp it looks like it's been generated from the original DTP files rather than scanned like most ex TSR PDFs. The game is an eminently playable fantasy wargame designed to mesh easily with 2nd edition AD&D, but it plays perfectly well on its own merit and should be easy to adapt to 3rd edition+. I used to use this for semi-historical games of Aztecs vs Conquistadors which the basic rules handled fine.


If the rulesystem has a drawback it's that it's a buckets-o-dice system that uses most of the polyhedral dice types, so you may find yourself having to buy a bigger dice bag.


I've been eagerly waiting for this game to emerge from the Wizards' vaults, and can highly recommend it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Battlesystem Miniatures Rules (2e)
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The Secret of the Windswept Wall (3.0)
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/11/2016 11:53:19

Oh dear! This adventure involves a crew of workmen building a wizard his tower who have been trapped by a cave-in... as International Rescue doesn't cover your campaign world, perhaps the party might like to help?


The adventure uses two maps originally published in 2001 as part of the Map-a-Week feature on the Wizards of the Coast website, but don't fret if you cannot find them, they are reproduced here. A sea-side village called Poisson is quite a-buzz - home of the workmen, they were excited by the wizard Sionaas choosing to settle in nearby mountains and now they are concerned about the fate of those he hired to build his tower. Several hooks are provided to get the party involved, most of which are designed to put them in the right place to hear the plea for help. There's some information to be gathered if the party choose to ask around (or have a handy bard who can access his knowledge), and a fair bit of background about the area in general - perhaps they have already been exploring the area when the messenger arrives.


Further background is provided for the DM about Sionaas and what he's up to... something that leads to his rather odd request, when the party arrives, that they use no magic in attempting a rescue! So this adventure will involve a lot of digging!


There's an intriguing mystery to investigate and some new critters (stats provided) to defeat, but most interesting is the wizard himself, who IF he chooses to trust the party (he really does like his secrets) may have some interesting tasks for them in the future... but that, of course, will be up to you to design. Providing a whole area to explore and a potential patron, this provides a lot for a DM hoping to build up a campaign in a fairly remote area, a good framework on which to build your own ideas!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Secret of the Windswept Wall (3.0)
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DDAL04-03 The Executioner (5e)
by Kevin S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/10/2016 23:26:53

I wanted to give this 2 stars since at least the module is better after an update, but there are still plenty of typos and there are still confusing parts. Also, I feel this is insulting on WoTC's part to release modules for $3-$4 each (and now up to module 8 for the series). I'm simply too curious not to pay to read these, but honestly, these should be no more than $1 when you compare them to what else is on DMs Guild. At least the following module, DDAL04-04 is actually quite good.


This module, like the others so far, have the usual waste of 9 pages in the front with AL specific information (seriously, why is this repeated in every module?).


As for the adventure itself, maybe it's because I've read it through twice now, or maybe it's because of some additions/corrections (made between my first and second read) but it is not a bad premise for a module. At least now, there is a story that makes some more sense. It's actually amazing how a few lines added starts to connect this module with the others. But then, there are still parts that make me say "huhh??..". Example: how can anyone read the last 3 paragraphs of page 19 and not CLEARLY see that something is missing. It's like there are 2 or 3 key sentences simply left out. Now, for me, if I were to use this at all, it'd be at my home game so I could just make up anything. But why I find this so odd, is that these are supposed to be written for organized play. Isn't someone editing these things?



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL04-03 The Executioner (5e)
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DDAL04-02 The Beast (5e)
by Resh W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/10/2016 00:40:10

This adventure starts okay with great motivations for the player characters, however the ending assumes that the players will just sit back and watch the shop.


Most my players didn't accept the ending.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL04-02 The Beast (5e)
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Fang, Beak, and Claw (3.0)
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/09/2016 08:10:19

Fancy dealing with a spot of eco-terrorism deep in the woods? This adventure seed (it's not really a full-blown adventure) provides a few hooks to get the party involved in investigating just why a group of loggers is having such a difficult time. Some background notes for the DM explain what is going on, and then it's time to head for the forest.


Although designed with Faerûn in mind, there isn't really anything to tie it to the Forgotten Realms, so you can set it in any suitable little-exploited woodlands in your own campaign world if you prefer.


There's some basic details of what had happened so far - you will probably want to embellish this a bit - and then the party is expected to track the perpetrators (hint: make sure there's someone around who can track!) to their base of operations. Then you get notes on those involved, including stat blocks and details of how they are likely to react when the party comes a-visiting.


The nice thing is that there is actually an option to talk to the perpetrators rather than fight them - although if your party prefers to let their swords do the talking that will work fine as well. It could prove an interesting way for them to establish their credentials in the area as people who will sort out problems... always a good way for adventurers to get work.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Fang, Beak, and Claw (3.0)
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The Ministry of Winds (3.0)
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/09/2016 07:43:54

This is an urban adventure concerning a strange building in the middle of town. Which town is up to you, although it does tie in quite well with Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil and if you have that you could use Hommlet. It will work well anywhere, though, as it is quite self-contained.


The background for the DM explains what is going on within this odd building and several hooks are provided to help you to persuade the party that paying it a visit would be a good idea. A few snippets of rumours and lore can be gathered by parties prepared to ask around a bit, or if they have a bard who might have heard something...


Of course the first trick is to get in. That done, there is plenty to see within both above and below ground... for what appears to be a simple if mysterious obelisk has an extensive basement to explore. Based on a map originally presented as part of the Map-a-Week series on the Wizards of the Coast website (but reproduced here), the various chambers are well-described although it's likely that every encounter will provoke a fight.


It provides an interesting interlude, but that's about it. If you decide to set it in a town the party is familiar with, a spot of foreshadowing might be appropriate - mention the obelisk in passing as they go about their business. Of course, if they are new in town again they might notice it even before they have occasion to visit.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Ministry of Winds (3.0)
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DDAL04-03 The Executioner (5e)
by Paige L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/07/2016 22:49:00

The plot of this adventure makes absolutely no sense. In essence, the PCs must watch the plot unfold, and can do absolutely nothing meaningful to interact with it. Regardless of what the PCs do, they cannot alter the outcome in the least. This is terrible storytelling, and NOT what I expect from the adventurer's league. I'm going to have to completely reinterpret this adventure ot have it make any sense for my players.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL04-03 The Executioner (5e)
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DDAL04-05 The Seer (5e)
by Merric B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/07/2016 18:29:59

A competent, enjoyable adventure. Full review on merricb.com



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL04-05 The Seer (5e)
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DDAL04-04 The Marionette (5e)
by James R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/06/2016 20:31:08

An okay designed adventure, replete with editing errors and issues common with all AL adventures, which, now that they are a paid item, is quite unacceptable.


The pacing for this adventure is on the slow side, and unlikely to be completed withing the estimated 4 hours without any modifications.


Aspects are confusing, or down right contradictory, and certain encounters will need to be changed based on party makeup to have any hope of being beaten.


While easily one of the better season 4 AL adventures, it, and the AL adventures in general, have a while to come before they are up to the snuff that a paid product should be.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL04-04 The Marionette (5e)
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The Tower of Deception (3.0)
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/06/2016 08:08:09

History has long told tales of 'wreckers' who lure ships off course by placing false navigation beacons, and this adventure deals with something a bit similar. Inspired by a Todd Gamble map (presented as part of a 'Map-a-Week' project on the Wizards of the Coast website in the first few years of this century), it presents a tower to explore and strange evils to defeat.


There are two ways to get the party involved. Either they are approached by local merchants concerned about a 'ghostly tower' that has lured ships to their doom on the rocks or - and this is the novel one - you can grab them out of thin air when they are teleporting (of their own accord or for some other reason)... for the 'light' on the tower is actually a magical device designed to trap people who are teleporting! If you use this option, it's advised not to use it the first time they try teleporting. It's also a good way to get them to some completely different part of the campaign world - distance is no object to this device.


Depending on which option you choose the party either arrives by boat (crewed by some nervous sailors who promptly depart) or somewhere inside the tower. To handle this, there's a comprehensive level by level description of the tower and what can be encountered or found there, leaving you free to describe it as appropriate as the party explores. For a deserted tower there's a surprising lot going on there, with traps and monsters and more to keep the party entertained. The really tricky thing is that the tower is so designed that once you're inside, it is very difficult to get out again - thus the real adventure is to escape!


The adventure is inventive and well-resourced. Some ideas for follow-up adventures are provided, chiefly drawing on individuals met inside the tower. I particularly like the way it can be used as a regular adventure or to trap unwary characters, and the potential for turning a campaign on its head by sending the party to an entirely different part of your world - or even to a new one! - is something worth pondering!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Tower of Deception (3.0)
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Manifesting: A Tale (3.0)
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/05/2016 07:39:02

This adventure was originally released about the same time as the Psionics Handbook, and so provides an opportunity for a character who wishes to develop psionic powers to play out how he came to have them.


The background for the DM tells of how one Lord Prisius has a rather unusual castle with interesting architecture... and that his young daughter is the architect! Only one night the young lady vanished, and her father is offering a reward to anyone who can explain what's happened to her or, even better, bring her back. Enter the party... The background also explains what is really going on, of course.


The adventure involves a lot of interaction and investigation, meeting the various inhabitants of the castle and figuring out what has actually taken place. Once you have got the party involved, they may wander at will around the castle and surrounding lands. A series of encounters are provided, but they may be run in any order depending on what the party chooses to do and where they decide to go. The DM is provided with a list of 'Secrets' and it's made clear who knows what, role-playing will be needed to find out what each person knows - and if you wish to roll for NPC attitudes, their knowledge is differentiated as to what they are prepared to reveal depending on whether they are indifferent, friendly or helpful (along with the DC checks to get them there). A good map of the castle is provided too.


There is quite a good possibility of a fight at the very end of the adventure once the characters have figured out what is going on, but the rest depends on wits and role-playing rather than combat skills. The adventure will probably work best in a world where there is some but not much psionics, and it would be possible for the party - if astute - to figure things out even if none of them are gifted in that direction. However it would provide an excellent opportunity for a player who wants to develop his character's abilities in psionics to take the first steps as his gift slowly burgeons... talk it over out of character with your players in advance and if someone is interested in developing psionics, this adventure can provide the opportunity for his journey to begin.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Manifesting: A Tale (3.0)
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DDAL04-05 The Seer (5e)
by Kevin S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/04/2016 17:21:18

Plain dissapointing. There are two editors listed, but I don't believe anyone did any real editing or proofreading. The typos, grammatical errors, ommissions, and confusing writing is just as bad as the 4 prior modules. Again, it is insulting how bad this is for a product with a price.


As for the story, it wouldnt be bad except for the following:


There is an obvious path of inquiry at the conclusion of DDAL04-04 that this module doesn't even acknowledge. Since module 6 isn't on DMs Guild, maybe all this ties in later, but if you are dropping this AL storyline into a Curse of Strahd campaign, then it is VERY confusing at this time if you just follow what is published.


Unlike module 3 and 4, there is nothing special in this module. For a 4th level adventure, I really expect more; it is straight forward and a little dull. Albeit there is a skeleton of a story here that COULD be very interesting. So ONE redeeming quality is that in a non-AL campaign, i think you could definitely build on this.


If you have read other Vistani source material (ie Van Richten's guide) then the Vistani lore introduced here will be familiar, however, a couple terms are different. I don't know why the author just wouldn't stick to what has alteady been published (NOTE: I haven't read all FR sources, so i could very well be wrong, maybe there are different terms used in different sources). Furthermore, how the Moslavarics handle the banished Hanzi is inconsistent with what I've read. They just ignore him? Weird.


On page 14, an encounter with wolves is clearly mentioned, and there are dire wolf and winter wolf entries in the appendix. However, there is no such encounter in the modules.



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[1 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL04-05 The Seer (5e)
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