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DDAL04-09 The Tempter (5e)
by Merric B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/24/2016 20:34:11

Some excellent ideas, although too many for the time slot. Great last encounter!
Full review here: merricb.com



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL04-09 The Tempter (5e)
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DDAL04-14 The Darklord (5e)
by James G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/24/2016 00:03:30

I've been reading it for 2 minutes, and I've already run into a fundamental problem, making it very difficult to run this module. It's a mid-tier (level 5-10 module), yet on page 3 it claims, "This adventure is optimized for a party of five 3rd-level characters. WoTC should invest my $3.99 in quality control. At the very least, they should fix this issue and re-post the module promptly. With few ways for characters to get out of Barovia, lots of DMs are going to be running into this.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL04-14 The Darklord (5e)
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Eberron Campaign Setting (3e)
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/22/2016 14:03:49

A fine product, full of many adventure ideas and campaign



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Eberron Campaign Setting (3e)
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I6 Ravenloft (1e)
by Shay E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/22/2016 13:36:06

First let me say i have never played this module before now. Also, I am a 5th edition DM. That being said, I purchased Wotc's new hardback of this classic and was so overwhelmed with how much material was there that I got rid of it, bought this one, converted a couple of thing and the group and myself have been immensely enjoying it. The download quality is excellent also. Thanks DriveThru!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
I6 Ravenloft (1e)
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Planes of Chaos (2e)
by Chadwick G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/22/2016 13:27:08

Great except you forgot one of the original maps and replaced it with something unrelated.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Planes of Chaos (2e)
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DDAL04-05 The Seer (5e)
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/17/2016 13:00:11

DDAL04-05 The Seer is the fifth adventure for Season 4, which is also titled "Part Four of Misty Fortunes and Absent Hearts". This review does contain spoilers, so please do not read below if you haven't played the adventure. The reviewer has played and run the adventure.


This event is another Season 4 disappointment, but the truly said thing is there is potential for such a better event instead of what is presented. Again AL staff fails its fan base by putting out poorly edited and developed adventures, relying on skilled Game Master to pick up their shortcomings. Below are specific points of failure, amidst few bright spots.


Two-hour events: Let’s lead with the biggest disappointment of Season 4 – the implementation of more 2-hour events. Not sure what the reason or logic is behind these shorter events, but as a player they are nearly a waste of time. One to two encounters and 2-3 random encounters? That is not an event, or a challenge, rather something to be spit out of a random encounter generator. Not to say that a 2-hour event couldn’t be enjoyable, but perhaps if these S4 events were better they would leave a different taste in player’s mouths. AL is charging $2.99 for these events, which is way too much. They are barely half the size of 4-hour events which are $3.99, so overall you’re paying more for less – which is an insult to convention coordinators. If you’re going to charge this much make them worth $2.99. The truly worst part of this, is that the 6+ page S4 intro they tack on the beginning of each adventure – is actually longer than the actual adventure. It’s great to pay the authors, but at the same time make them work for it.


** Reviewer note: AL just announced the adventures for Season 5, and nearly all of the first 10 are 2-hour events. Why?


Adventure hook: Another Season 4 failure is a consistency in linking the adventures and plots together, and this adventure is no different. The adventure is called “The Seer” but there is no seer in it. There is a brief mention of Sybil, the seer from the 4-4, but beyond that there is nothing. A great adventure hook here would have been for Sybil to reappear in this adventure and send the party on the quest, but instead they party is given a lame excuse to move them towards the first encounter. Overall, not even a hint at being creative here.


Poor Encounters: This adventure contains, in order – a senseless random encounter, a role playing encounter, another role-playing encounter with a bit of investigation, another senseless random encounter, and a final fight. Take out the random encounters, which are nothing more than something to happen between traveling, and you have a rather short adventure left to be fluffed by the Game Master.


XP: The XP is another huge unbalanced failure. The above mentioned random encounters present most of the XP for the entire adventure, more than even the final encounter. Also, if you’re a more powerful party you’re given more experience for more creatures killed, further unbalancing the final XP total. The XP for actual role-playing, which is more than 50% of the module, is a mere 150xp. The final encounter is at least 1,100xp, and the rest would be these random traveling encounters. Assuming a 6-person table with a max per player listed at 850xp, that is a total of 5,100xp. Very unbalanced, and not worth $2.99.


Editing & Presentation: Yet another S4 failure, and The Seer does not disappoint in this respect. Here are a few examples:




  • Under the XP Combat Awards there is a listing for “owlbear”, but none is presented in the adventure. There are also stats for an owlbear in the back.




  • The presentation of nearly unpronounceable Vistani names is embarrassing. I have seen countless people stumble over them, yet someone thinks this is a good idea to dress the adventure with them in nearly every paragraph. There are phonetic spellings presented for some names, but not the dozen or more other Vistani vernaculars sprinkled throughout. There was great potential here for the presentation of this in a creative and informative way, but the lower road was chosen. My guess is someone is either Googling gypsy terms, or scanning old TSR products for Vistani words and popping them in to make things look “cool”.




  • Using a thesaurus on every other noun, verb or adjective does not make for creature adventure writing. It is brutally clear that the AL staff is either untalented when it comes to editing, or they just do not care. Apparently they do not read, or care about reviews pointing out these flaws either.




  • In the first (real) encounter the party has a chance to dance with one of the Vistani girls and impress your hosts, but the skill check provided was Dexterity (Acrobatics)? Last time I checked there was a Performance skill in 5th edition which is specifically linked to dancing. The editing failure would have been to give those not proficient in Performance a chance using Dexterity (Acrobatics) with a higher DC, but apparently in Barovia anyone that is Dexterous and can do back-flips can also dance.



  • A map of the final encounter would have been nice.


The Plot: Hidden beneath many shortcomings there is actually a plot to this story that has potential to be interesting, but instead is sparse and poorly executed. The story of the two Vistani getting married, finding the runaway bride, and the twist at the end are actually not bad ideas, but the author and AL staff fails to develop any of it in an effort to stuff the party into a 2-hour adventure. Things like:




  • The second Vistani family were smiths and craftsmen, yet they were presented as standoffish jerks. Would not craftsmen try to sell something to party members? Give the party an opportunity to barter or use their skills to exact a lower price.




  • Why was the final encounter two hours away from the second camp? This seems to be a theme of sorts in S4, everything encounter is 1-3 hours apart. When you look at a map of Barovia, it really is not that large.




  • As mentioned above, the name of the adventure is The Seer, with has nothing to do with her at all. The fix here could have been to have Sybil (The Seer) send the party to help her Vistani friend with the marriage of his son, and in exchange she points them in the direction of someone that can send them home. This would perfectly hook into 4-6 The Ghost, but instead falls flat.




  • The presentation of the first Vistani family was actually good, but the second was undetailed with the exception of the mysterious vardo. Good adventure development here would have presented something better.



  • The wind fan magic item had potential to be a great idea, but falls way short. First, it’s a pale comparison to the one in the DMG, and frankly lame when compared against other S4 magic items. Given the narrative surrounding it, it would have been a great tool to detect undead, with it emitting the described rotting smell whenever undead were near. This would have made it a great S4 item, hidden inside a poorly presented adventure.


Overall, The Seer is another 1-star disappointment. The lack of creativeness and poor editing by the AL staff makes this adventure another failure, once again leaving it in the hands of creative Game Masters to keep with program moving forward. If the Adventurers League wants gamers to pay for these adventures, make them better or find people that can do the job better. While other organizations past and present have had their issues, you seldom if ever saw this poor of adventures from the RPGA or Pathfinder Society.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL04-05 The Seer (5e)
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Stone Dead (3.0)
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/16/2016 11:36:52

This adventure is set in Respite, an isolated town along the banks of a river fed by a nearby hot spring, which is renowned far and wide for the practice of the healing arts - you can place it anywhere suitable in your campaign world. But all is not well...


There is some lengthy background that explains the combination of happenstance and malign action that has brought about the current situation and a synopsis of how the adventure should play out - pretty straightforward, the party has to find out what's going on and deal with it! Some hooks are provided to get them to Respite in the first place - perhaps they have encountered a refugee, as many of the townspeople have fled, heard rumours, or have reasons of their own to be visiting the place anyway.


The approach to town is covered in some detail, as there are some odd features which the party may pick up on - although they serve more to indicate that something is amiss than give clues to the actual problem. There's a map of the gatehouse and one of the town centre - if you want detail of the rest of the town you will have to supply it for yourself. The maps these are based on come from March 2001 entries in the Map-a-Week series on the Wizards of the Coast website, but are no longer accessible from the link provided in the PDF.


There are plenty of opportunities to build up suspense as the party explores what appears to be a deserted town, and once they find the Bad Guy there will be an epic brawl to defeat him... and his monstrous sidekick (a decidedly nasty new monster born of dark magic) as well. Once their dastardly plot has been defeated - and, boy, it's an excellent one! - the task of rebuilding can begin.


It's a sneaky adventure that kind of grows on you, at first glance it doesn't seem much, then you realise how atmospheric it can become, especially if the party has visited Respite in the past. It's worth considering having this happen just so that the effects of this visit are really shocking!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stone Dead (3.0)
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Ill Wind in Friezford (3.0)
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/16/2016 11:33:18

Misfortune often comes all at once, and this certainly has been the case for the once-prosperous village of Friezford. The opening notes explain all, but it's not completely clear how much of this background the party should actually know in advance...


This is a classic ghost adventure, with the ghosts requiring certain things to be done for them by the living before they can return to everlasting rest and peace. So of course, the trick is to figure out what they want and survive long enough to accomplish it. Needless to say, it's not only the undead which will pose problems... and there's a whole bunch of new ghost special abilities to make even the ghosts more potent. One of these, the ability to manifest a solid object (even whilst the ghost manifesting it is still, of course, incorporeal) is quite interesting and worth considering for other ghosts in your game.


There is a run-down of all the ghosts around (and there are quite a few), along with the single specific condition that will allow them to depart to their rest. Only then do we get to the hooks to get the party involved with the situation and the information that they can gather (or access via bardic knowledge) once they decide to investigate further. There's not a lot, because it was apparently over an hundred years ago that the village was overrun and common knowledge is by now not very detailed.


Four events are provided, which may be run in any order as is appropriate given the party's actions. These should provide plenty of action and excitement. There is a map of Friezford and its environs, and a good detailed run-down of the locations - and of course what happens should anyone visit them. Some of them are really quite 'spooky' and can be played up to emphasise the atmosphere of the ghost town.


The main problem with this adventure is the very specific terms under which most of the ghosts can be laid to rest... to be precise, how difficult it is to firstly discover them and then put them into effect. At one point, only two very specific spells will work which the characters may or may not have: and if they do not, it's airily waved aside as a sidetrek that's up to the DM to arrange to gain access to them... even though it's never made clear just how they are supposed to discover which spells they need in the first place!


That aside, the actual ghost town and events going on there should provide a fair bit of quality spooky entertainment for your group.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Ill Wind in Friezford (3.0)
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DDAL4-01 Suits of the Mists (5e)
by Camden D. T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/15/2016 15:44:10

I ran this as an intro to 5th edition at a comics and cards place, and it worked pretty well. There were multiple ways to handle the encounters, which helped new players learn their own play styles, and just enough mystery to keep them all curious. Also the nature of the module I found very conviniant for event play, as I could have multiple groups all have different encounters.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL4-01 Suits of the Mists (5e)
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Up Front Compilation Rulebook
by Simon P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/14/2016 11:31:59

The rulebook is even smaller than the original rulebook, which makes the already small print tiny. Additionally the paper quality is poor, the paper in the manual I just received is already curling up, and the text is fainter than the original. Maybe this is a decent product for someone who already knows the game to refer to, but I can't imagine actually trying to read it.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Up Front Compilation Rulebook
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DDAL04-12 The Raven (5e)
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/13/2016 14:08:26

Poorly written, if you do not have a very experienced DM running this module it will be terrible. It will take a great DM who reads this module through several times and thinks about how a party will approach the couple of challenges/encounters that are in this module. Then that great DM will have to do some magic to make it fun.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL04-12 The Raven (5e)
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DDEX1-08 Tales Trees Tell (5e)
by Thomas M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/13/2016 11:49:46

Great 4-hour adventure, well crafted and decently non-linear. My players really enjoyed this, and there's a variety of endings that can potentially occur.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDEX1-08 Tales Trees Tell (5e)
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DDAL04-04 The Marionette (5e)
by Jason P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/13/2016 09:31:35

In case you were worried, the usual editing problems are here. (Though this one isn't as hindered by typos as some of the other AL adventures.)


I really had a lot of fun with this one. The first half builds slowly to the really fun (and eerie) dream-reading bit in the burgomaster's home. From there, the set of encounters are a lot of fun (my players had a good time quickly trying to figure out who would tackle which problem). And the mansion at the end is really neat—several rooms, and Isabella's precense in general—made it really creepy.


Some of the earlier material seems forced, though, especially the rumors about the mansion and its background and how to connect them to Glovia. I guess it doesn't matter too much in the end, but unless the party is super curious or thorough, they might not get all of the information that helps them understand the full scope of the situation.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL04-04 The Marionette (5e)
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DDAL04-03 The Executioner (5e)
by Jason P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/13/2016 09:26:08

After the update, the module is at least slightly better. So there's that.


But it's still a mess. There's so little motivation for the characters to actually do what the adventures assumes they're going to do. The adventure overview—and how it fits into the overall story of the season—is pretty cool, but it seems like getting a full adventure out of this particular beat was difficult. I've now either run or played this a few times and NONE of the players figured out what they were supposed to.


As it stands, this one requires a lot of prep to make it easily runable, and at least one full readthrough to make note of the myriad proofing errors and typos.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL04-03 The Executioner (5e)
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DDAL04-02 The Beast (5e)
by Jason P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/13/2016 08:58:17

Really solid adventure. I appreciated the trail the clues leading to the final encounter, and the players really got into the atmosphere and roleplaying encounters. And the story behind the scenes is really tragic and well-done. Still, the ending (as written) was somewhat of a let-down—not because of what happens, but how. I realize much of the AL content is "railroad-y," and as both a player and DM that doesn't bother me too much. But it's done is such an obvious manner here that, well, it could've been better. Alas, it's still a good mod.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL04-02 The Beast (5e)
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