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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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One Last Riddle (3.0)
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/04/2016 08:18:27

This is a short and rather vague encounter-based adventure involving a dead sphinx... whose ghost persists in asking riddles! His motivation is that he wants his recent demise avenged, and he lures the party with promises about loot left in the last place that he slept.


The idea is that you have the ghostly sphinx accost the party as they are travelling - hence it's easy to slot in anywhere in whatever campaign world you are using. Even as a ghost, the sphinx is far too powerful for a party of the intended level, so this is a good adventure for groups who like to talk and think... or as a lesson to those who fight first and talk later if at all!


After meeting the ghostly sphinx, the party is directed to his lair - a bare cavern - and thence to those responsible for his demise, and those parties who want a fight can have one then, and again as they follow up to a nearby town (use one of your own, or there's the bare outline of one provided).


There's advice on how to run riddle-asking with suggestions about what checks could be made if nobody's good at riddles, and also about how to handle dealing with NPCs, in particular the use of checks to adjust attitude until the NPC is willing to talk or otherwise be helpful - useful to novice DMs (remember, this was originally release about six months after the rules...). There are no maps and minimal location descriptions (if you like such things you'll have to come up with your own), but there are stat blocks for those the party will encounter - even the sphinx although they aren't supposed to fight him. Some will, or you may want to use him again later.


It's a little thin, a step above a mere adventure seed, but with potential to make quite an interesting adventure if you work at it.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
One Last Riddle (3.0)
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DDAL4-01 Suits of the Mists (5e)
by Kevin S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/03/2016 14:26:37

Sorry to say, but this is quite a boring module. it is essentially 4 small gopher quests followed by a boring encounter. All of this only serves as a route to get your characters into Barovia.


If you are NOT running a strict Adventurers League campaign, then any of the hooks detailed in the Curse of Strahd book are much more interesting than this module. Do not spend your money on this. it isn't even interesting to read; there is nothing in this module helpful for running a campaign on Barovia. It doesnt even have any information about the area that is visited in the follow up module DDAL04-02.


Lastly, the amount of typos and grammatical errors is incredible. I would think that a simple scan in MS Word would have picked up 90% of them. It is what I would expect from a friend ee product on DMs Guild; not a paid product that was specifically comissioned by WoTC.



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[1 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL4-01 Suits of the Mists (5e)
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DDEX1-11 Dark Pyramid of Sorcerer’s Isle (5e)
by Kenneth B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/03/2016 13:03:18

An interesting dungeon crawl, but the story is a complete side trek from the season's narrative. "Ohmagerd our town's just been invaded and taken over by evil cultists! Quick, let's go explore this random ancient pyramid and take all the stuff!"



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDEX1-11 Dark Pyramid of Sorcerer’s Isle (5e)
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DDAL04-05 The Seer (5e)
by Kenneth B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/03/2016 12:57:29

Great flavor, interesting story, and a cool villain. Slightly unpolished, but all the pieces work just fine.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL04-05 The Seer (5e)
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The Rogues Gallery (1e)
by Samuel K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/03/2016 12:42:13

Great stuff! I had this as a kid, and bought the PDF from Paizo years ago. This PDF is a MUCH cleaner scan - everything looks really good. Very useful for your OSR game of choice, and the writeups of the old D&D writers' characters are still very entertaining. Recommended!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Rogues Gallery (1e)
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The Ghosts of Aniel (3.0)
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/03/2016 09:30:38

It all started out with the best of intentions, I'm sure, but now the population of the elf village of Aniel is deserted and haunted... and it's up to the party to find out what's going on and how (if?) it can be sorted out. The background for the DM explains just what went awry and who was behind it, and there are a few basic hooks to get the party involved.


If you have the party travelling to Aniel through the forest (called Celadon, but any suitable forest in your own campaign world will suffice), remember that it's wild and dangerous, and to that end there's a table of random encounters that you can use; while there are four main encounters to run once they reach Aniel. That's it - the party will have to use their wits and what they can glean from their interactions with the ghostly inhabitants of Aniel to figure out what needs to be done to restore a state of normality. If the party has a way to make contact with the ghosts, they can explain the situation (as given in the background) so one of the main challenges is establishing meaningful contact.


There's little in the way of resources. You'll have to come up with your own plan of the village and one for the local wizard's house and anywhere else the party decides to explore. The main antagonist's details are provided (including full stat block and notes on how he will act), but that's about it.


The situation and backstory are interesting and have considerable potential, but this one feels more like an adventure seed than a full-blown scenario. You will need to put some preparatory work in to run it at its full potential. When it was a free download on the Wizards of the Coast website, that was fine, but you may wonder if even 99 cents ought to get you more - as it does with many of the other adventures in this series!



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Ghosts of Aniel (3.0)
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DDAL04-03 The Executioner (5e)
by Kenneth B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/03/2016 08:33:41

This is an adventure with a great concept and a very flawed execution. It is rife with errors (including experience minimum and maximum), it has continuity errors with the previous adventure, and the basic concept of the adventure is not support by the components within it. If this adventure received an extensive rewrite, it could be quite good. As is, even with excessive guideance and preparation, it is not a lot of fun.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL04-03 The Executioner (5e)
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DDAL04-02 The Beast (5e)
by Heath B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/02/2016 12:02:04

Excellent adventure for Organized Play. A table of random players can easily complete this adventure in two hours. Optional encounters let a DM tailor the event to the group at hand, maximizes its replayability, and each works to enhance the tone of the season. My only quibble is the hazy motivations and actions of the central NPC couple, which as written seem chaotic and plot-driven rather than character-driven.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL04-02 The Beast (5e)
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DDAL4-01 Suits of the Mists (5e)
by Heath B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/02/2016 11:52:32

Bite-sized missions whose target audience is new-to-D&D players, this adventure succeeds in being different from what has come before. The theme, while present, encourages DM input and isn't as heavy-handed as Season 1's introductory adventure, for example. There are gaps in the connective tissue between missions, that a DM can fill in satisfyingly if they know the whole piece. The timeline raises questions, as it sounds like four inciting incidents have already happened when the players arrive though the players can only take on one at a time, but that doesn't bring down the flavor and spirit of a game for Level 1 PCs.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL4-01 Suits of the Mists (5e)
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The Alchemist's Eyrie (3.0)
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/02/2016 10:25:01

This is a brief adventure that ought to last but a single session. It's basically a delve, even if it involves a tower rather than an underground complex. The DM is provided with plenty of background as well as a synopsis and several potent hooks to get the party involved - if you are using this as part of a campaign, read it well before you intend to use it as there are several suggestions for foreshadowing, thus making it seem integral to your plot rather than a side-trip. However it will serve just fine as a side-trip or a one-off if that's what you need.


Although the background does give some indication of the tower's location, the adventure proper starts with the party approaching it. This should make it relatively easy to find an appropriate place in your campaign world to situate it. As well as the current residents and assorted traps left by the original alchemist, one difficulty many characters may find is that the tower was built with dwarves in mind and there's not much headroom - unless of course you are a dwarf or a member of another short race.


It's a neat compact adventure with enough variety, what with the traps and the nature of the opposition, to lift it above a pure dungeon brawl and provide an entertaining session for you and your group.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Alchemist's Eyrie (3.0)
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DDAL04-03 The Executioner (5e)
by Bryce L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/02/2016 06:24:40

This is one of the worst adventures written.


By Jerry LeNeave
WOTC
D&D 5E
Level 3


The locals are spreading rumors of the emergence of an age-old relic in a remote farming village. Surely you won’t be the only one to seek it, but can you afford to not be successful in this mission? And why haven’t they claimed it for themselves?


You know the drill. 31 pages, the first nine of which are (mostly) garbage and the last eleven are reference, leaving about eleven pages for two hours of adventure. Suck it you Adventurer’s League fools! Beg to pay for your weekly abuse from WOTC! Bwahahahahahahahaha!


Hmmm, a little harsh. There is a nice little adventure overview section and an NPC reference in the back reference material. Five of the Seven NPC’s presented are not present in the adventure, which means several of the NPC’s that ARE present in the adventure are not mentioned. The hook is either “you’re already in the village” (from the last adventure) or “mists transport you.” The first is fine while the second continues the long tradition of Not Even Trying. It’s ok, the summary looks like a railroad and the baddie, a wight, is running around town wearing a hat of disguise. Why? Please dear god, why? A wight in a hat of disguise. Why not just make him the archdevil asmodeus in a hat of disguise, or an atrophal or a black pudding in a hat of disguise? What do you want for $3? Spend $2 more and get Maze of the Blue Medusa? Ha! Not official WOTC!


The adventure is in three parts. Part one is to sit in the tavern and listen to rumors. The important points are in bullet form and generally summarized nicely, while the non-bullet information is generally useless and adds little to the adventure. One important point, a way to get the party out in tot he town, IS buried in the main text, and the rumors are not particularly interested. “Bob’s has been selling shit to Lazlo” is the form they are in. IE: all fact based. A little colour never hurt no one and a nice little colorful sentence could have replaced the fact, conveyed the same message, and been far more interesting. In the end the entire point of the adventure, the motivating force for he party, doesn’t actually come through. At all. There’s no real motivation provided.


Part two is to roam over town. Long and boring descriptions are the rule of the day, although to its credit at least one of the encounters allows for a nice bribe to avoid a combat. Oh, the wight in the hat, doing his shopping for the day. If attacked/defeated he gets to make a plot shield escape. “A patch of mist glides in and when it fades then he is gone.” That is a crap ass idea. Plot shields are crap ass to begin with but that one is worse than usual. Wait! Wait! It’s better! Check this shit out! “If at any point the characters begin spending too much time outside without taking direction, or they progressed quicker than anticipated feel free to roll on the random encounters table.” Ha! Just monster attack after monster attack there!


Part three is getting attacked by some undead: two zombies and two ghouls. It wants it to be a big torches & pitchforks and fire mob scene, with undead coming out of a burning house and forest to attack the mob and the party and wounded villagers paying about and so on. It fails miserably at this. There’s not much in this to inspire the DM to run a decent adventure … and four undead hardly match what text there is is trying to convey. Oh, then the mayor shows up and demands a strip search of the party and attacks them. Yeah. Great Adventure.


So, just to be clear: nothing in part one ties the adventure to part two. Nothing in part two leads to any other location in part two. Nothing in part two leads to part three and/or the mob. Nothing is strong, but the ties here are VERY tenuous. Basically, the DM MUST feed the party the adventure and lead them around by the nose, cause there ain’t no clues forthcoming and the adventure is not in a form in which the DM could run it in a looser manner.


It’s trying, especially with the bullet points and reference material. But the text is dull and not evocative and the reference material misses the point most of the time. Combine it all with the railroad nature and the UTTER lack of coherence when it comes to providing the DM information, so he can run it for the players, this wins one of my coveted Worst Adventures Of ALL Time awards.



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[1 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL04-03 The Executioner (5e)
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