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DDAL07-08 Putting the Dead to Rest (5e)
by Mathieu P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/06/2018 20:16:33

This module was enjoyable.

But I must admit it felt a bit like it lacked something... I think I really really liked DDAL07-07 so I got my expectations pretty high for the final chapter of the trilogy.

Also, I think it is too bad that this module REAAALLY overlaps with one of the Guild Adept adventures Ruins of Matolo.

So a great module. Playable in 2 hours no problem. But missing a little something.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL07-08 Putting the Dead to Rest (5e)
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DDEX1-08 Tales Trees Tell (5e)
by JAMES T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/06/2018 20:06:52

This particular adventure was my favorite one (next to The Scroll Thief) for great social/rollplay time with the characters. Such a good rich story and some compelling characters. That being said, it has some issues. When Jenny is intended to be the BBEG and presented as an obvious threat to the characters, why doesn't she have any lair actions? If the PC's do make the absolutely insane choice to fall into combat with her, the way she's written now, she'd be blown away easier than the Displacer Beasts. I decided to play upon the unsettling nature of the Fey, their sense of innate magic and enchantment and use that to 'beguile' the player character's into believing she was much more dangeous than she was designed.

I thoroughly understand she's not in a coven, but this character signed the original Fey pact. She's been around for centuries. Two days ago she animated scarecrows and needle blights just to be vicious. If she's attacked in her home demesne, she should be doing at least that kind of summoning. Fighting her should seem much worse than taking on the 3 Displacer Beasts at least.

Other than that, I loved this one. It gave my player characters a chance to really work at their persuasion checks and social interactions.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
DDEX1-08 Tales Trees Tell (5e)
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DDEX3-08 The Malady of Elventree (5e)
by Gael L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/06/2018 14:14:48

Quite a fun and challenging adventure, with many interesting encounters (especially the last one) and good roleplay opportunities, which I would definitely recommend the purchase of.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDEX3-08 The Malady of Elventree (5e)
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DDAL00-04 Winter's Flame (5e)
by Gael L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/06/2018 14:08:58

I loved everything about this adventure - the settings, the games, the encounter, the personality of Slab... I ran it near Christmas so it was quite fitting, too.

I decided to add a character called "Candy Bill" to present the games in a more friendly way that Ouen Azemar was capable of and thus better motivate the characters to play the games and earn the Midwinter Candle.

It was really funny to have "enemies" who would not attack the players but simply steal fruits (while dancing, of course!), it added a very comical touch to the battle, which I'm always all for.

What I prefer about this adventure is how every character could find a game where its best skills would be used to good effect. I strongly recommend this purchase, especially during Christmas month.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL00-04 Winter's Flame (5e)
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DDAL07-03 A Day at the Races (5e)
by Chris P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/05/2018 20:56:08

I enjoyed the lack of combat for the majority of the module, and the final combat was fun and interesting enough to keep the players engaged. The roleplaying at the beginning was also very fun, as my players tried hard to solve the mystery before proceeding onto the race. The race itself, as many have pointed out, is far too clunky to be fun or engaging. It amounts to just constantly rolling dice, both for the players and the DM, and the rules are not laid out in a clear manner. I would have preferred something more akin to DDAL07-01.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL07-03 A Day at the Races (5e)
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DDAL00-04 Winter's Flame (5e)
by Matthew S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/05/2018 20:40:54

Winter's Flame is a cute scenario, perfect for a holiday game in the Northern Hemisphere, or a Christmas-in-July game down under. It has a beautiful ending that, when lovingly described, leaves players gushing over it every time.

A note to DMs: I've run this a few times, and the main challenge is building tension whilst letting players have fun at the games. I found that getting each player to have a shot at a game before they discover something that brings up the tension a bit is a good way to time it. Having said that, you know your players and if they need more drama to stay invested I'd wind up the games quickly.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL00-04 Winter's Flame (5e)
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DDAL05-02 The Black Road (5e)
by Jonathan W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/05/2018 18:52:58

The Black road is the 2nd adventure in the Storm King's Thunder, Spoilers ahead.

There seems to be some confusion on the APL for the title, It says 3 in the module, but I've seen comments from the author that it's 2. The group I had was 3 PC (1 level 1 and 2 level 2's). All of them very experiences D&D players.

This adventure was interesting. It starts out with Faction Hooks for each Faction. I didn't expect my players to take them so seriously, they really felt they had to destroy the goblins on the road. They felt that was there real purpose and not really escorting the statue.

The intial part of the adventure where the goblins attack went well. I always like when an adventure starts off with a quick fight. The goblins went down easy, but not before taking a driver with them. I thought that it was a good touch. I decided to do the optional Zentarim Mercenary RP encounter, they liked that, especially since one guy was from the Zentarim Faction. It was obvious that any fight with these guys would end up in a TPK.

When the Sandstorm hit, I was skeptical of my players coming up with ideas on how to save the caravans or the camels. A little prompting helped and I offered them to make rolls to find out what they could do. Maybe my guys aren't too creative, but it was an interesting problem but they didn't really have interesting ideas. They managed to save two carts and 4 camels.

The road block with the toll was also great. They immediately suspected some of the Hobgoblins were fake, but there rolls were really good enough to figure it out. The real humans were smarter than their PC's on this one. They decided to pay and then managed to figure out some where fake and decided to pay a visit later.

In the next part of the adventure, the party has a chance to figure out there is an ambush ahead, but it was way to hidden from them. Basically, you mention there is finally a bird other than a vulture and that's supposed to prompt them to investigate. That comment just blew over their head. Because of that, once they got to the fight, the rolling log really hurt. Save for half meant everyone took damage and with such a weak party, that was problematic. Lucky for them, the caravan driver was able to feed them some potions. I think it should have been more obvious about the ambush

After that fight, they wanted to go back and kill the hobgoblins, they adventure didn't really account for that and they would have been bummed to have killed them and then found no treasure. Someone had to leave, so we just finished the adventure.

One thing that did bother me was that the if you follow the adventure exactly, with the right party number and level, you won't even earn the minimum XP. You obviously get it, but I want my players to earn that XP, not just get the minimum.

Overall, my players liked it.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL05-02 The Black Road (5e)
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DDAL05-07 Chelimber's Descent (5e)
by Kareena R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/04/2018 08:51:59

This is a great module with plenty of room for role playing and exploration. One of my favorites to run! Finding the entrance to the tower was hillarious as my PCs kept flopping their investigation checks. They knew it was there because Hsing told them so, but they just had no clue how to find the entrance.Player handouts help when expecting characters to memorize phrases to be used later on.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL05-07 Chelimber's Descent (5e)
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DDAL05-06 Beneath the Fetid Chelimber (5e)
by Kareena R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/04/2018 08:48:20

This is a good adventure, but not my favorite. We use this more as a lead up to the next adventure. While Mama Manyknuckles and her boys are interesting, my party wiped them out before being able to talk to any of them. The mud mephit can be fun to roleplay.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL05-06 Beneath the Fetid Chelimber (5e)
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DDAL07-02 Over the Edge (5e)
by Diana V. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/03/2018 10:09:14

General Comments: Overall, nothing too special. These adventures aren't 1 hour adventures, it's remarkably hard to get T2 characters to work that fast. The rewards from the factions are very unmotivating as well. I ran this in two ways: as one shots and integrated with ToA (sending: "oh, you're nearby this thing we need you to check out"). The latter was far easier for them to accept than just "you're level 8 adventurers, have 200 gp and go do this". Maybe it'd work for people very devoted to their faction, but it's not great motivation. As other reviewers mentioned, the maps are unlabeled, which is very frustrating. Five hours of modules for no permanent magic items is fine at T1, when the goal is to not die, but it's more than a little dissapointing for T2. This was more pronounced when I did them independently, rather than as part of ToA.

The first mission has a nice puzzle, but it's very easy for players to miss the entrance to the shrine entirely and wander around aimlessly. The second mission is fine, nothing too special, but really needs around 2 hours to really work. The third mission has amazing RP opportunities, and was the most fun I had with this module. The fourth mission is once again fine, but a warning against running theater of the mind like I did. The magical squares are very important to making this combat work well against T2 characters, and otherwise it can get very one-sided. The fifth mission is once again, fine. The combat isn't that impressive, and the link to Ubtao is nice, but not really capitalized on.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL07-02 Over the Edge (5e)
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DDAL07-01 A City on the Edge (5e)
by Diana V. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/03/2018 09:56:47

The first mission is fine, nothing special here. The second mission is probably the most fun, with the dinosaur race. I'd do what 07-03 reccomends and really play up the race. The third mission is a bit more difficult to motivate, but works fine. It's a little unclear to the players (or was to my players) that the people can't be saved. The fourth mission is a good mini-boss fight. The fifth mission is a very good boss fight for low level characters. These missions really need over an hour to play, which is my only other real criticism.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL07-01 A City on the Edge (5e)
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DDAL07-09 Unusual Opposition (5e)
by Michael O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/02/2018 23:46:59

This module had a lot going for it, but the story never quite sticks the landing. It has enough awesome moments to more or less forgive that you're on a glorified fetch quest to get information about where to find further information about a future module. (Seriously.)

The opening travel montage and encounters felt like padding for time, which it was; the rocs (and optional dragon turtle) don't add much to story, and they don't actually deplete the party's resources, so why are they there? This is a question I want every tier 3 designer to ask him/herself: why are you putting this (potential) fight in the module?

The best parts of the module (and, so far, pretty much the season so far) appears in part 2, which has some amazing moments. Say what you will about hags as an overused villain motif, the Three present in this module are, at least, quite memorable. Their demand for something beautiful--and the fallout for giving in to that demand--is exactly the kind of thing I'd inject into a home game, and I was very pleased to see it appear here. The combat that ensues in this section can be spooky, depending on how the PC's saves go, and I was pleased to see that even a legitimately very strong party seemed at least somewhat challenged by the encounter as written. (I also enjoyed the tricks of the trade sections throughout--nice to see that feature appearing more often.)

Part 3 suffers from a combination of narrative bloat and the difficulty of following such a good second act. I liked the character of the Ramshackle King, but I really wished I knew more about him, as DM. (This became an issue when one of the players, using a particular class feature only available at high levels, figured out who he was.) The Ramshackle Court is a slick design, but, again, it was difficult to disguise the fact that the PC's were still on yet another information fetch quest without really much of a clear idea of why they should care.

The final fight is a lot of fun--a solid challenge with a nice turret-and-tank combination. This module "gets it": one or two difficult, meaningful fights promotes much more enjoyment than a lot of small, easy encounters. Unfortunately, this module suffers from having to be part of (what seems like) an overall lackluster story with the next few modules (I suppose we'll see how 07-13 and -14 pan out), and the great ideas and inventive setpieces it creates are still somewhat overshadowed by the looming specter of mediocre storytelling to come--but, if you can overlook that and just play this module for what it is, you will have a great time.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL07-09 Unusual Opposition (5e)
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DDAL07-10 Fire, Ash, and Ruin (5e)
by Michael O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/02/2018 23:09:26

In a season of mostly subpar moments, this module is, thus far, the nadir. Others have already examined how this appears to have been tuned for a low tier-2 module; I won't repeat those criticisms, although they are completely valid. Nor will I belabor the quality of the map for the upper levels, which comes without a key, or the total absence of a sensible hook, which makes the continuation of this module from 07-09 shaky at best. I won't even go into the magical item that's rewarded, which seems to exist for no reason other than to pad out the shelves of Fai Chen's senseless, ever-growing arsenal of absolute garbage.

I will, however, take a moment to criticize what I see as the single biggest flaw in tier 3 module design, which this module sadly succumbs to as well: an unholy love of resource management by attrition. This module contains a maximum of thirteen separately listed combat encounters (depending on how players rush the lower level or whether they engage with the dragon, which is as pointless as it is unsatisfying); only one of those contains a single creature (spoiler: the boss) bearing a CR that poses even a slight threat to an APL 13 party--much less an APL 13 Adventurers' League party, which is likely loaded for Tarrasque by that point. Most of the creatures in these encounters sport ludicrously low CR's, and even en masse they're not a credible threat to an APL 13 boiled ham. The goal, it appears, was to try and whittle down a Tier 3 party's vast resources by a thousand cuts, prolonging a module that is, frankly, starved for actual content into a painfully long, boring slog, if played straight--so that, by the final fight, the party will be running on fumes (never mind the fact that, by running all those combats, the final boss becomes about as dangerous as a slug in the Dead Sea).

Let me put this as gently as I can for those of you who try to design tier 3 content in the future: THIS IS NOT FUN. THIS IS NOT A GOOD IDEA. DO NOT DO THIS.

Look, we all know that 5e works best at mid-high Tier 2, and that, by Tier 3, simply too many variables exist to make combat anything other than an exercise in polite boredom or complete rocket tag. Still, better to err on the side of rocket tag than an endless grind intended to artificially deplete the resources of a party that, realistically speaking, can likely take out the fully-powered boss in one round even after exploring every single last crevice of the dungeon. (The party I ran it through simply burst the final boss fight door open with a mid-30's athletics check as soon as they made it downstairs and took out the fully-empowered boss--with max possible hit points--in two rounds.)

Designer moral: believe your parties are capable of miracles by Tier 3, because they very likely are. (Also: Don't ever put a solo boss against a full party, because they will get action economied to death before you can blink.) Let them have a walk in the dog park followed by a fight against an 800-lb gorilla, rather than a long, tedious series of initiative contests against critters with less than a fifth of the party's APL. One or two massive, seemingly overwhelming fights will generate a lot more enjoyment than half a dozen or more smaller slogs every single time.

Anyway, as for the good: I enjoyed the abyssal magic surge table, even if I could never get it to go off, and the theme of the final boss was slick, even if the execution was lacking. Good ideas, but the design philosophy of the crunch, even if it was properly scaled for tier 3, needed massive overhall.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL07-10 Fire, Ash, and Ruin (5e)
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DDAL07-07 Rotting Roots (5e)
by Ian M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/02/2018 15:47:05

An exciting module that has a bit of everything for everyone.

My players had trouble suspending their disbelief for the barrel launching, but eventually went along with it anyway so as to keep the game moving, as none of them wanted to sneak.

The monkeys seem... a bit off-the-wall.

The beholders were less fun than I thought they'd be.

The bridge encounter was hard to do, as my players did not want to risk crossing together but were afraid of staying back. A lot of arguing happened =/

The aarakocra town feels a bit rushed.

The final dungeon makes it hard to give clues without immediately giving it away.

The last encounter was sufficiently epic.

All-in-all, needs a good deal of work from the DM to put some flesh on its bones, but it has good bones.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL07-07 Rotting Roots (5e)
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DDAL07-08 Putting the Dead to Rest (5e)
by FJ A. I. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/01/2018 13:16:11

A great ending to the storyline that started in DDAL07-06 and continued in DDAL07-07. The players really enjoyed the adventure, especially the combat and roleplaying with the faction agents. I can see where the end combat would be difficult, but the sorcerer in the party got really lucky with a fireball! I had the same group run throgh all three adventures so that probably enhanced the enjoyment, but overall a great mod and series.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL07-08 Putting the Dead to Rest (5e)
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