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The Pine Barrens $13.00 $5.00
Average Rating:4.3 / 5
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The Pine Barrens
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The Pine Barrens
Publisher: DARK BY DEZIGN
by John B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/14/2018 20:53:48

The Pine Barrens feels like a love letter to the slasher flicks of the 70's and 80's like Haloween, Friday the 13th series, Nightmare on Elm Street, and more. There are some really twisted scenes in this, but it's all good, as long as the players are up to a huge challenge. Even with a full party of level 8 characters, this adventure has a lot of potential for TPK's at every corner. You may wish to tone down the challenge of some of the combat and instead focus on the horror elements like the creepy ghosts, insane asylum inmates, witches, cultists, slashers, and all around monstrous denizens that wander the Turzee Island, including the infamous TURZEE DEVIL!

FEATURES:

  • Excellent artwork
  • Lots of player handouts to get them in the mood
  • Lots of great maps / cartography
  • Twisted dark encounters with creepy NPCs
  • Good variety of encounters and locations

If the DM puts another small village on the other side of one of the working bridges to the island for the players to use as a base of operations, this module, at over 100 pages of content, could easily last you several sessions of fun if not an entire campaign. This is written for Pathfinder but could also pretty easily be used for 5e or other OGL d20 based games, or even OSR / original edition games with a little minor tweaking. This is a great bargain for the amount of excellent content. Also the book is FULL of great player handouts, maps, creepy as hell artwork, and other content that you can use to evoke the "slasher flick" feel. Put on the soundtrack to Friday the 13th and dim the lights, and you're players will have nightmares for days!

This is part 4 in a 7 part series of very loosely tied adventures that began with Escape from Skullkeep Island. No prior experience with the earlier adventures is required to understand this, at all (there's little that ties them together other than the PC's). Each one of these had gotten progressively more and more sophisticated, and Pine Barrens is so far easily my favorite adventure put out so far by Dark by Dezign. It's quite the bargain given how much content is here compared to the price. You could do a lot worse than pick this up if you like dark fantasy and horror themed adventures. RECOMMENDED!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Pine Barrens
Publisher: DARK BY DEZIGN
by Jeff J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/08/2018 20:46:44

Alright, so I just finished reading through The Pine Barrens. And to start with, I feel like if the DM is willing to put a little effort into it, it can be an interesting area. The villains are of a dark nature and it is easy to understand why they need to be defeated. The cult design under the wytch house is especially interesting and useful to me. The maps have a lot of detail, and most of the hand-outs look great. There are some very detailed area descriptions. There are several people to rescue. I expect that dealing with them will make for good role playing prompts.

I would like to recommend this to people that are going to be running anysort of steam punk campaign, since with only a few changes it might feel very victorian era.

Okay, so that said, there are a couple of things that I didn't like. First, lets talk about the maps. They look good, but there is no map key. I found myself questioning if I was looking at doors or not at several points.

Next, I want to mention the overland encounters/map. There are 3 bridges going from the main land to the island. I can not tell why this is, especially since there is no road going to the south bridge. Similarly there is a bridge going west to an island. This island seems utterly unremarkable. It has an encounter, but I am unsure as to why the designers decided to use page space to include it. There seems to be no reason for the bridge to have been created or for people go to that island. When we get to the Millisca House, an interesting line presents it's self. "you note that the nearest house is 100yrds away." Wait, there are other houses around? nothing was said about this. Note this would be a good place for a former community. The loggers, hunters and others that moved away needed some place to live after all. But nothing is stated about this. The house it's self is described as a trading company. There is very little in the way of storage area. What did they trade? where did they store it? Owners are dead, we may never know the answer to those questions. Finally, the cabin in the woods. This location seems hidden in the woods. The owners are described as general store owners who also took over the mortician business in the area. It is hard to believe that they would get that much business, in a building hidden in the woods. There is no road to this cabin.

Next I would like to mention the room/area descriptions. Many of these are very wordy. They do a good job describing what the players see. Often telling the players how they feel about a situation (not good). For overland descriptions, there is the occasional assumption about the time of day. (why are the heroes still out treking late at night?)

Finally, the adventure states that it ends when the players get to the bridge on the far side of the island. The adventure contains minimal wrap up notes however.

(On a side note the cabin in the woods is missing a description for area 18 and a description of where the portcullis's are. Also, nothing is said about the people in the tank in room 17.)

Final word, I feel there are some interesting ideas, and maps here. There are some wonderful chances for the heroes to be heroes. And there are a number of things that feel like they don't fit quite right. With a bit of work however, this could be an interesting area for the players to explore.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
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