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War of Dragons (3.5)
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/10/2016 12:08:44

The backstory tells of a township living in harmony with a gold dragon, seeing to her needs in return from genuine protection (as in, actually defending them rather than running a protection racket!) until a marauding black dragon with evil intent came along... now the town is victimised by the black dragon and their gold defender is nowhere to be found! In this high-level adventure, it's up to the party to sort things out however they can.

Several hooks are provided to help you catch the party's attention and get them to the town, Silversands by name. This can be located anywhere suitable in your campaign world, you need somewhere vaguely coastal - anything from the seaside to a large river will do - that's near a mountain range and which has a nearby marsh as well.

The adventure itself is primarily site-based, the sites being Silversands itself and two detailed encounter areas. There's a reasonable amount of information provided about Silversands, but plenty of scope for you to develop it further. There's plenty of information to be had there if the party asks around a bit. If the party heads up into the mountains, random encounters - with monsters and people - are provided. Some of these will present quite a challenge in terms of combat, even for such a high-level party. Likewise, the nearby marshes have several random encounters for those who wish to visit them.

Both dragons - the gold and the black interloper - have established lairs which have been described although there's only a map supplied for one of them. There are also copious amounts of information about both dragons, to facilitate the characters meeting with them.

It's all fairly open-ended, the party can decide how to deal with the situation, which is not quite as straightforward as it appears. Some suggestions are provided for follow-on adventures, but it really depends how they handled this situation! It should make for an interesting challenge for a high-level party, possibly even a final fling before they settle down...



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
War of Dragons (3.5)
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Mines of Madness (Next)
by Ben F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/06/2016 19:20:42

This is a fun way to spend one or two good live sessions. I worked up some extra ways to earn points beyond those listed in the optional scoring system and ran it as a miniature competition between three teams via forum posts, and they had a blast. The skeletal dwarven miners encounter is significantly harder than the rest of the mine, especially if the party also attracts the lizard skeletons from the pit, and especially if the party is in the pit. Despite that, only one of my teams had a TPK, and only three deaths between all the teams other than that (one from a character walking into the nether portal and two at the sacrificial altar).

The DM should be prepared to either flip back and forth between the text and the combat encounters a lot or else have the encounters separated so that he/she can easily reference both. Other than a few minor tweaks to fully convert this adventure to 5e (and those tweaks aren't fully necessary, just helpful), this adventure is ready to do its job of thrilling your players with some life-or-death traps, combat, and puzzles. Have fun!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mines of Madness (Next)
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White Plume Mountain Revised (3.5)
by Robert N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/05/2016 13:07:18

This is a really fun adventure for new players -- one of my favorite modules. This edition has been adapted for 3.5, but I went ahead and played it for 5e. (To make things easier, I just downloaded some premade characters between levels 6-8. The module has a lot of background information and is easy and delightful read.

The encounters have more of an emphasis on traps and puzzles instead of campaigns, but it's good for players and GMs who are still somewhat new. Good readable text and internal consistency. Probably good for 3-4 players, possibly more.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
White Plume Mountain Revised (3.5)
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DDAL04‐06 The Ghost (5e)
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/04/2016 06:49:07

DDAL04-06 The Ghost is the sixth 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. Yet another Season 4 disappointment, here is another example of an adventure that has tons of potential, and falls completely flat. The sad thing is I really enjoyed this adventure as a player, but after reading it I see that 90% of that was because I had a great DM. Here are the low-lights, along with very brief sprinkles of high-lights. Encounters: This adventure is broken up into three encounters, which in itself isn't bad, but when you dissect said encounters you discover this event is another hugely disappointing plot disaster. Part 1 of the adventure shows an estimated duration of 3-hours, Part 2 is listed at 15 minutes, and Part 3 (the final encounter) is listed at 45 minutes. Again, not necessarily bad, until you break down Part 1 and compare them to the other two. Part 1 of this adventure is broken up into basically three section: and encounter with some elves, a fight with Ettercap they are hunting, and two senseless random-ish encounters. Again, not necessarily bad, but then you realize the entire section is meaningless to the overall adventure. It is basically a huge random encounter in a shiny new dress that in the large scope of things has nothing to do with the Season 4 storyline. There is a small reference in Adventure Hooks that sort of links it to 4-5, but overall it's a lame excuse to get the party interested in the adventure. In fact, you start the encounter as basically HOSTILE (if you use the 5th edition social interactions of friendly, indifferent, or hostile - which the author does not), and really if you want you can blow off the entire encounter and still have the option to just move on to Part 2 with no consequences. There is also an entire (printed) page devoted to how "spooky" the Quivering Forest is, which frankly is useless fluff that really doesn't go anywhere. Bottom line, is NO reason at all to do this encounter, which means that 3-hours of this adventure are either a waste of time or excluded all together. Now, the DM could spin things to say the party is lost and need the elves' help to move on to Part 2 (which is what my DM did), but the written adventure really is not laid out that way. The fact that you meet these elves at the point of an arrow sets the encounter up to end on bad terms, and there are several paragraphs that detail how the elves attack the party. Maybe the wording on the encounter is bad, but I overall it is presented as an encounter that could be easily bypassed. If I'm going to spend 3-hours in an adventure, I want it to lead up to the final encounter, and not "feel" optional. Finally, the end of Part 1 is basically another two random encounters that also have nothing to do with the overall adventure. With 4-6 the season is six adventures deep, and there seem to be more random encounters in adventures than ACTUAL Ravenloft adventures -- with the exception of 4-4. Oh look ... more needle blights and awakened trees ... not very original either. Part 2 is the BEST part of this adventure, the characters meet up once again with Jeny Greenteeth. In fact, Jeny is the best thing about Season 4 so far, so hat's off to whomever thought to use a green hag as a role-playing device. This is the only reason the adventure isn't 1-star, as Jeny is presented well and makes for a very entertaining encounter. However, it isn't enough to make up for this adventure's shortcomings, and should be more than 15 minutes in length. Part 3 is also not bad, it is the final encounter, and there is an actual "ghost" in the adventure (unlike there being now Seer in 4-5). The encounter itself is straight-forward, and had a nice Ravenloft feel. Magic Item: The Seer and The Ghost have another thing in common - an awful magic item reward. Just because it's Ravenloft doesn't mean the magic items have to be curse, or in this case, disgusting. The worst part is it comes out of a meaningless encounter at the end of Part 1. There was great opportunity to create a cool new "version" of this magic item to fit the theme of the Domain of Dread that could actually help the party later on in the season, but instead an item was presented that VERY few characters would want. When I played this event it was left on the table. Experience: The XP in The Ghost is slightly better balanced than 4-5, but not by much. This poor Season 4 trend is countered by the mid-season XP reward that easily jacks the characters a level, and the chance to return to the Realms if the party wishes. However ... Today, 8/3/2016, AL Staff took the short road and said anyone spending as little as 20 downtime can leave Barovia whenever they want. What a cop-out. What about those of us who struggled through the so-so adventures of season in the hopes of being successful against the Dark Lord and leave RL victorious? Sorry, not a fan of this move. Overview: If it weren't for Jeny and a not-terrible final encounter, this would have been another 1-star review. When 3/4 of the adventure feels like and is written as a random encounter, the adventure feels like a waste of time. Another adventure not worth $3.99, very disappointing. Editorial for DM’s Guild Staff There are a lot of 5-star reviews for some of these AL adventures, and nothing written. If you’re going to “click” a review of something, then require someone to put down as to why they think it is good or bad – and have a minimum word requirement. Else the review should be rejected.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL04‐06 The Ghost (5e)
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Force of Nature (3.5)
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/03/2016 12:32:53

The city of Porthaven has grown and prospered over the past three hundred years, with a reputation for being peaceful, a safe harbour from storms and with a temperate climate. It wasn't always like that... the place where it was built was originally unstable both geologically and meterologically (perhaps not the best place to found a settlement?), and the way in which it reached its present serenity has been lost over the years to all but a few... and they don't really understatnd it.

The DM's backstory explains all, and as soon as a bunch of high-level adventurers like the party turns up they will be shown the mysterious 'machine' built by a traveller through the planes called Khyber Mercane and some creatures called modrons - noted for a love of order matched only by a thirst for knowledge - that he encountered in his travels. For a while, modrons came each year to service the machine, but they have not been back for a long time and, according to the leading priestess of Wee Jas - who has been studying ancient texts in an attempt to find out what's wrong - it has run out of fuel. So trips to the four elemental planes are required to obtain what the machine needs.

Some hooks are provided to help you get the party to Porthaven, once there they find that there is a massive storm raging and then a nearby volcano erupts... amidst the chaos the party will be shown the machine and the priestess explains what she has discovered so far. The rest of the adventure consists of visits to the elemental planes with brawls with the inhabitants and occasional chances to talk to a few of them as the party collects the material that they need.

It is a fairly straightforward adventure which may be a bit simple for parties accustomed to planar travel - and perhaps a bit hard for those who have never attempted it before. There are a couple of vague ideas for follow-on adventures, and a neat new monster which is encountered for the first time on one of the planes, and that's it.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Force of Nature (3.5)
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DDAL04-14 The Darklord (5e)
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/03/2016 12:05:04

We ran this adventure last night. Lots of errors that some decent editing would catch, like hunch should have been haunch.

Spoilers

* In the room with the assassin it said players could find two keys which would lead them to believe they had the two keys to the secret doors. Then when the real second key to the secret doors is found it doesn't say on who or where in the room it is found. We did the final fight on weak and it was terribly balanced. And after talking over together and re-reading the stuff... the locket is a red hearing. With Esmae's Legendary resists and a +8 save with a 1d4 added to that thanks to Bless, one of our party was wasting away trying to weaken her. Then with her having Disintegrate that is one party member out of the fight and gone for good never leaving Barovia. Due to our weak track it took away her Finger of Death spell which would have been another party member gone for good. I like the idea of having a chance of not making it out of the season alive with my character. But I would like for it to be a chance, not a hope she disentegrates someone besides me. And the fight needs to be deadly but somewhat balanced to account for a missing party member who is gone after one spell. More and more I am becoming disenchanted with WoTC. Poor editing has haunted them forever. But this Adventure League feels disjointed, stories that are fragmented all over to one auther says the Burgomaster lives in a mansion then the next says he lives in a one room shack. Maybe it is just me and my jadedness for WoTC.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL04-14 The Darklord (5e)
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Volo's Guide to Waterdeep (2e)
by Han N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/29/2016 23:32:53

The Volo's Guide series has been lauded by many, and I have no quarrel with that, so this review is about the quality of the scan. I purchased and downloaded this at the end of July 2016, and I have to say that the quality of the scan was mediocre. The pages are aligned, and there are pdf bookmarks in the right places, but it feels to me that the text could be sharper. Perhaps this is a limitation that is inherent to the original document that was scanned, but I downloaded the Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary edition the same day, and the difference in quality is very noticable. The text of Volo's Guide displays fine on my PC using Adobe Acrobat Reader, but it problems arise when I tried to read it on my Kindle Fire HD because approximately one letter per word would disappear. One could piece together the text with fluency in the English language, but it seems to me that the onus of such cryptology should not have to be borne by the purchaser. I am not unhappy with my purchase since I can still read it on my PC, or I suppose I could print out a copy, but I am a bit disappointed that I cannot read it on my Kindle.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Volo's Guide to Waterdeep (2e)
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Haunting Lodge (3.0)
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/29/2016 11:24:41

A remote hunting lodge is enveloped in a never-ending blizard... and it's spreading, threatening settlements nearby.

The background for the DM explains just what is going on there and why, and a series of hooks are provided to help you pique the party's curiousity. Getting them there, and providing any information before they go, is left to you - what is presented here is a pure site-based adventure with the lodge described in detail. The map comes from the Map-a-Week feature on the Wizards of the Coast website, it is presented here and the link in the PDF still works at the time of writing if you want the original.

In some ways the place is quite disappointing. There's not much there for parties who live to loot, nor are there any NPCs or monsters to talk to... just ghosts, and grumpy ones at that, which will attack. Every one is provided with statistics for meeting them on the material plane or the ethereal one, and violence appears to be the only way to deal with them, they cannot be laid to rest by discovering secrets or righting wrongs.

An interesting basic concept which has rather fallen down in execution and development, alas. I'd recommend adding your own enhancements to make it a bit more interesting.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Haunting Lodge (3.0)
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Black Rain (3.0)
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/29/2016 11:22:17

Black rain is a strange phenomenon, mercifully rare, that either causes or marks a short period when all divine spellcasters are cut off from the deities. During one such event some rotten swine saw fit to attack a temple dedicated to St. Cuthbert - just when the clerics there cannot do much about it Can the party help?

The suggestion is made that you use a temple in a large town/city in your campaign world, preferably one in which the party has a good reputation already. A suitable floorplan is provided, modified from one in the September 2001 edition of the Map-a-Week feature on the Wizards of the Coast website (the original link in the PDF works at the time of writing), but if you have already established a layout for the temple you wish to use it should proved relatively simple to adapt the descriptions to suit your own temple.

There is a brief DM's background and several hooks to get the party involved. Basically, one day the city awakes to find this nasty black rain falling and then the alarm is raised at the St. Cuthbert temple. The party can get some information from the town watch commander or by gathering information, and then they will have to figure out how to get into the temple as there is a strange energy barrier around it!

Once they do find the way in (you may have to steer them a little, as only one method is apparently possible), they will have to fight the invaders - with any clerics or other divine spellcasters operating at a bit of a disadvantage as their magic won't work. Best to stock up on healing potions! The intruders will have to be defeated - they are not willing to negotiate - but if they are, the local bishop will really owe the party one!

It's an exciting mission with twists that should make the party - especially the clerics - think about what they are doing.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Black Rain (3.0)
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RQ3 From the Shadows (2e)
by Román M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/29/2016 04:06:39

The map of castle Avernus is not included. An there isn't an alternative.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
RQ3 From the Shadows (2e)
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Matters of Vengeance (3.0)
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/27/2016 10:40:47

Set in and around the village of Three Forks, you can place this adventure in any remote section of your campaign world that is a few days' ride from a city. The area you select should feature nearby forested regions and be able to accommodate an abandoned village and a nearby manor house as well. The adventure is best run during the winter, but can be run at whatever time of the year suits your campaign best.

An extensive background for the DM reveals a bitter tale of lost love and vengeance and undeath some two hundred years old. Now a descendant of the former lord of the manor seeks to regain his domain...

Several hooks are supplied or you can merely have the party hired to rid the old manor of an infestation of undead. Ideally, even if you have attracted their attention through one or more of the hooks, they need to meet with the aspiring lord of the manor before getting involved as this will give them a better idea of the underlying history behind the events that are about to unfold.

The adventure proper begins once the party arrives in Three Forks, the deserted village. A map is provided and the adventure starts with location-based encounters as they explore. Eventually they will reach the manor house itself and will need to explore it and deal with the evils therein. Although most of the opposition is undead, there's a very live band of mercenaries around as well - they, at least, might be open to conversation, most else of what is encountered will need to be engaged in combat. However, the Big Bad Guy at the centre of the adventure is likely to engage in negotiations with the party, undead he may be but he retains a lively mind and a thirst for vengeance.

Notes for follow-up adventures encompass several outcomes and draw rather neatly on the backstory. Overall this is a well-crafted adventure with a certain melancholy that should live on in your group's memories.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Matters of Vengeance (3.0)
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Lochfell's Secret (3.5)
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/27/2016 10:37:00

This adventure tells the tale of the small port of Lochfell, which has been seeing some problems of late. The background describes, for the DM's benefit, what is actually going on: all the locals know is that people are vanishing, a few folks have reported seeing a monster, and they need some help to deal with it. Several hooks are provided to bring this matter to the party's attention.

However you get them there, the adventure begins when the party arrives in Lochfell. The town is buzzing with rumour, as not only is there a possible monster on the rampage, someone has started grave robbing as well. There are opportunities to ask around a bit, which should lead the party to the place most people seem to have been near when they disappeared. Going there will lead to a good brawl and a lair to explore... and that has a few surprises, including several exotic monsters and someone hatching a plot that even the original monster didn't know about!

The lair complexes are clearly mapped with good room descriptions showing you what's where. The main adversaries have detailed stat blocks - it will be worth your time getting fully conversant with their abilities to run them to best effect - they should be played to the full to provide intelligent and challenging opposition. It's a fairly standard delve, but enjoyable and providing a real sense of satisfaction once everything's cleaned out and set to rights. There's little in the way of follow-up adventures suggested, although one antagonist had friends who might lament his passing...



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Lochfell's Secret (3.5)
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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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