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DDAL04-14 The Darklord (5e)
by David W.
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Date Added: 07/20/2017 11:57:24
DDAL04-14 The Darklord (5e) The Darklord tries hard to be a suitably epic finish to the Season Four storyline: the party begins surrounded by all the NPCs who have survived the previous adventures (and maybe even one or two who didn't, if the DM isn't careful), and is quickly joined by the PCs main frenemy during the season, Jeny Greenteeth. An NPC even dies in the first encounter as a way of setting the stakes suitably high. The villain's fortress contains brutal traps and tricky encounters, and the final battle with the Big Bad is suitably epic-feeling and dangerous, especially if you replace the Disintegrate spell on her spell list with Mass Suggestion. Yet the things that came before to set up this adventure don't really set it up in a way that makes it feel epic -- instead, it feels inevitable, as if the PCs were going to get here no matter how well or poorly they handled their previous assignments. And the aftermath of the battle makes it plain that the campaign doesn't want to punish the PCs too badly i...

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL04-13 The Horseman (5e)
by David W.
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Date Added: 07/20/2017 11:42:52
DDAL04-13 The Horseman (5e) The Horseman very much wants to be a dark, atmospheric treatise on the nature of obsession and love, and to present a tragic tale of a talented yet homely antagonist rejected by the more potent evil he adores. Unfortunately, the adventure also serves as the info-dump for the metaplot in preparation for the final adventure in the series, The Darklord, and since this happens right up front, the sense of fatigue and irritation that this will likely install in your players will color the entire adventure. Begin with the knowledge that the events of the previous adventures were irrelevant -- in The Raven, the party races against a 'ticking clock' to rescue the seer Sybil Rasia, yet regardless of their success, Sybil begins this adventure with the party, and even manages to bear the plot-significant object from The Artifact if, for some reason, the party either hasn't played the adventure or has somehow misplaced the MacGuffin. The party is informed that the adventure's antagonist is o...

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL04-12 The Raven (5e)
by David W.
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Date Added: 07/20/2017 11:28:00
DDAL04-12 The Raven (5e) The Raven is a workable, workmanlike adventure, featuring a search-and-rescue mission with a 'hunters become the hunted' wrinkle thrown in early to change up the pace. Unfortunately, a number of odd decisions made in designing this adventure rob it of much of its impact. For example, the party begins with the knowledge of a 'ticking clock' that they have to outrace to get to their objective, yet only parties who completely ignore the clock will likely ever be impacted by it, as the adventure actually provides more than sufficient time for even a cautious party to reach their objective in time. (A DM can be forgiven for not realizing this sooner, as the travel time table that would point this out is referenced but not included in the adventure itself.) A treasure award given by the main quest giver is done in such a way as to be a meaningless detail. Most disappointing is the return of significant editing issues that seemed resolved in the previous modules -- one such is that the lyc...

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL04-11 The Donjon (5e)
by David W.
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Date Added: 07/20/2017 11:19:34
DDAL04-11 The Donjon (5e) There are a lot of things about this module that simply seem 'wrong'. Start with the bad guys, another round of orcs and yuan-ti in an environment where both creatures are unfortunately out of place. (It's particularly jarring here, since the McGuffin of the adventure could just as easily have been grabbed by a tribe of werewolves, which would be perfectly in keeping with a Ravenloft sensibility as well as an appropriate challenge for tier 2 characters.) Add that the adventure is highly modular, seemingly to allow for maximal replayability, in an adventuring season where the mechanics of the campaign (specifically the 'trapped in Barovia' mechanic) discourage replay. Finish with the realization that there are no site maps in this adventure, and few maps of any kind other than simple dungeon corridors for use in the final section of the adventure; if you're normally a 'maps and minis' DM, this is a good module to use to claim your 'Off the Grid' DM Quest by going with a 'theater of the ...

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL05-12 Bad Business in Parnast (5e)
by Remington A.
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Date Added: 07/20/2017 11:16:34
DDAL05-12 Bad Business in Parnast (5e) A pretty fun adventure, with some unique role playing and challenging combat. I like all the different ways that each situation throughout the adventure can go down, based on where the adventurers are. The organization of the PDF is a bit strange, but not too bad to deal with. Similar to A Thousand Tiny Deaths, at least from my experience this adventure is difficult to run in just 2 hours. A fun one, but expect to either keep the characters going at a solid pace or set some extra time aside.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL04-10 The Artifact (5e)
by David W.
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Date Added: 07/20/2017 11:09:50
DDAL04-10 The Artifact (5e) This adventure takes a number of risks and pulls most of them off -- it starts out looking like a traditional dungeon crawl, for instance, complete with a very controversial encounter with a creature capable of removing PCs from the campaign permanently, then quickly shifts gears into a murder mystery before concluding with the traditional big fight. The problem with the adventure is that the reasons why the adventurers are here don't make any sense -- why would the campaign's villain order her catspaw to bring the PCs here where they can recover the only thing capable of defeating her plan? Or if, conversely, the catspaw brought the PCs here of his own accord to try to gain leverage over his mistress, why attack the PCs rather than simply claim the object and quietly return to Orasnou? These flaws provide a jarring counterpoint to an otherwise interesting adventure, and make the adventure less interesting in retrospect than it will be during play. It's still worth playing, just be ...

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL04-09 The Tempter (5e)
by David W.
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Date Added: 07/20/2017 11:01:59
DDAL04-09 The Tempter (5e) A solid, atmospheric module from a veteran Organized Play adventure writer. The module even avoids the now-traditional editing problems that seem to plague AL modules in general and Season Four in particular. It's a two hour module that can run much longer if the DM and players 'get into' the setting (a house and family with a secret a la Fall of the House of Usher or similar Gothic tales), and it leaves the players making hard decisions, both in combat and out of it. The only real flaw in the adventure is that it is so self-contained that it has minimal connections (and basically no impact) on the overarching Season Four storyline; if it were a lesser module, it could be skipped without hurting the players' understanding of the main metaplot at all. As it stands, though, this module is one of the reasons to run Season Four; don't skip it!...

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL04-08 The Broken One (5e)
by David W.
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Date Added: 07/20/2017 10:56:12
DDAL04-08 The Broken One (5e) This adventure has its moments, particularly in the portrayal of the sympathetic NPC Luca Barbu, whom the PCs will likely befriend early and end up defending against an incensed mob of misled villagers. There are two significant flaws, as I see them. First, the actual plot of the adventure is scattered throughout a number of different pages, so a DM trying to run this adventure without having spent significant prep time will likely lose the thread of the story more than once and may even spoil the ending before the group is even half-way through the module. A good DM who pays attention to module prep should be able to work around this, though. Second, the choice of the permanent magic item for this adventure is so much more powerful than the other items selected for this season that it opens up the possibility of unscrupulous players simply going into Barovia, playing this one module for the item, then using the 'Barexit' options published after Season Four, escape to abuse the l...

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL04-07 The Innocent (5e)
by Customer Name Withheld
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Date Added: 07/20/2017 10:40:34
DDAL04-07 The Innocent (5e) An incoherent mess of a plot, with idiotic NPCs and events that contradict what's come before, including in this very module. A detailed description would require massive spoilers, but a few highlights: - The main villain appears intended to be a call-back to a classic Ravenloft villain (the Gentleman Caller), yet his write-up in the adventure lacks the sort of abilities that would justify the things he is said to accomplish both before and during the adventure. - The main obstacle in the adventure (though, tellingly, it's only an obstacle for the PCs, not the villain) are a group of yuan-ti and their orc slaves, which are not at all suited for the Ravenloft setting -- orcs simply don't exist in Ravenloft, while yuan-ti don't fit the Barovian 'Gothic Transylvania' style of monster. (The inclusion of yuan-ti was apparently intended to foreshadow their appearance in Season Five's AL modules, but then the modules were moved from the Moonsea to the Sword Coast, rendering the foreshadow...

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL04‐06 The Ghost (5e)
by David W.
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Date Added: 07/20/2017 10:24:43
DDAL04‐06 The Ghost (5e) This is a four-hour adventure that really could have been a two-hour adventure, given that many of the early encounters are not really thematically related to the key encounter (with Jeny Greenteeth in part 2) and quest (putting the titular Ghost to rest in part 3). With that said, it's a solid adventure for those who prefer a good amount of 'fighty-fighty' in their AL experience, while still providing opportunities for those who prefer to put 'role' rather than 'roll' in front of their '-play'. There are a few flaws (the adventure suggests if the PCs don't succeed at Jeny's quest, there will be repercussions, but none ever arise, for example), but they don't detract enough to negatively impact the experience....

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Fiend Folio (1e)
by Stephan B.
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Date Added: 07/20/2017 09:40:08
Fiend Folio (1e) This classic work is arguably the most iconic of the 1E books. Unfortunately, the publisher completely ruined this edition with their July 20, 2017 update, changing the format from text (copy/pasteable and searchable) to images (each page as a single image). Not only is it no longer searchable and copy/pasteable, but the visual quality of both the text and the pictures were sharply reduced (while the file's size more than doubled, from 18MB to 40MB). If you managed to keep your pre-July 20th copy, good for you. If you replaced your copy with that update (or haven't yet bought it), then tough luck. i would have heartily recommend this book before that update, but cannot at all recommend it now....

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Stairway of V'dreen
by Joel B.
Publisher: Kort'thalis Publishing
Date Added: 07/20/2017 08:16:10
Stairway of V'dreen This adventure module is 19 pages long and is one of the latest of works by Venger Satanis for the Crimson Dragon Slayer RPG. My review was a read through of the PDF (not a play-through, sadly). **Layout and readability** The cover and interior page backgrounds (watermarks) are in full colour. All of the illustrations are in black and white or grey-scale. The print friendly version has no watermarks and is clean, crisp and crystal clear. Kudos once again to Glynn Seal of MonkeyBlood Design. The text is nicely readable, the headings clear and obvious, the stat blocks distinct. The watermarked backgrounds did not interfere with the text too much: occasionally the blood stains made me squint at the tables. However, Glynn and Venger have supplied a print-friendly version without any watermarks which is wonderful (for both actual printing or better readability at the table). Then again, the eerie blood vessels are gore stains on every page part of the experience. A nice lo...

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Alternate Dungeons: Abandoned Temple
by Richard H.
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
Date Added: 07/19/2017 21:18:14
Alternate Dungeons: Abandoned Temple I found this product to be a nice source of ideas for building up a temple encounter. The product provides examples for furnishings, encounters, traps, and treasures. i was able to quickly incorporate ideas into an existing encounter area to make the temple feel like more than just "another room".

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dread Isle Denizens
by Nathan M.
Publisher: 00Games
Date Added: 07/19/2017 15:39:43
Dread Isle Denizens **MY RATINGS** Writing - 2 Stars Formatting - 3 Stars Artwork - 3 Stars Balance - 2 Stars Monster Description - 2 Stars Mythology Accuracy - 3 Stars Creativity - 4 Stars Pricing - 2 Stars OVERALL - 3 Stars There was an offer available of a free copy of the book for a review and I decided to volunteer. I really like seeing what other publishers are doing and try to be encouraging to those who have dedicated themselves to creating additional materials for tabletop games. I have no official, or well-thought out, system of rating. I’ve broken down 8 different areas that I think are worth discussing. **Writing (2 Stars)** The writing is not the best for it uses repetitious words, redundancies, generalizations and poor sentence flow. This is a simple fix. I looked through the credits and realized that the author did their own editing. This will always lose 3 stars with me. It is imperative that someone – outside of yourself – edits your work. It’s very difficult ...

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Interior Backgrounds Pack #1
by William Q.
Publisher: Scared Dragon Studio
Date Added: 07/19/2017 14:24:23
Interior Backgrounds Pack #1 Product worked wonderfully for the book it was utilized for. I will be buying this background again for use in subsequent titles in the series of adventures I'm putting out. Nicely done!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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