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Relics
by Michael H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/18/2017 21:42:24

First of all let me start off by saying that I'm a sucker for new and interesting things so my view of this book is going to be pretty bias from the start. That being said I'll be as impartial as I can be. Yes I liked the book, but perhaps it could have been a bit better, but more on that later.

First let me start off by saying what I liked about the book. First thing thing is quantity of artifacts. There are 119 pages of artifacts. That's 119 interesting items to put into the campaign. Each with their own personality and plot devices mixed in with them. There's a lot to explore here. Next is the variety. There's something for everyone within the book. Finally I like that most of the artifacts are fairly easy to build a story arc if not campaign around.

Now let me start with the bad of the book. Let me start off by say I like the book a lot, but I feel I wouldn't be doing my due dilligence if I didn't say what I didn't like about the book. My biggest complaints about the book are very nitpicky to be honest. First is a lack of bookmarks. But I can see why they didn't bookmark the book thanks to the large amount of artifacts. My second complaint is that they didn't include adventure hooks and suggestions for adding them to the campaign. That being said I'm rather spoiled by the Tome of Artifacts to be honest (but that's another review and should not be held against this book).

In summation I do like the book I recommend this book for DMs that are curious and interested in looking for new ideas. There's a lot of interesting items for both the party and the BBEGs within this book. As I said there are interesting artifacts on each page and I personally take it as a challenge to read each of them to see if they spark the imagination. If you purchase this tome I hope you will too.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Relics
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The Lash of Malloc
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/03/2017 12:52:45

Somewhere, in a suitable desert in your campaign world, there's an oasis that isn't actually quite as welcoming that it seems. The Player Information on the back cover talks about the odd missing item, mysterious tracks in the sand, and strange noises, ending with a missing child whose parents are wealthy enough to finance a search mission...

Then the DM's Background lifts the lid on what is going on, and believe me, there's quite a lot going on in that desert inn beside the oasis! Malloc, the owner of The Desert Beetle, provides a good service provide you have plenty of gold but there's a whole lot more going on, most of it quite unpleasant (and not all Malloc's doing either although he does his best to get involved, and get a cut of the profits!).

There's an evocative description of the oasis and plenty of detail about The Desert Beetle itself including notes on the inhabitants and room descriptions. There's a small map of the building - a fairly typical caravanserai - and what lies underneath; but this is not player-friendly, you will need to prepare something if your players like to be shown plans of where their characters are. We also get to meet a new lifeform, the desert goblin. Bit like a Jawa from Star Wars, to be honest: I can see plenty of potential in them.

You will have to get the party there on your own, there are no suggestions for why they might be wandering around a desert. Even if you go with the concept of a doting daddy looking for a missing daughter, you will need to provide details for yourself.

However, it's a neat little adventure even if you will have to do some preparatory work (some other patrons for the inn might come in useful too). Oh, and Malloc's lash? That's the new magic item and, no, it's not a whip!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Lash of Malloc
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The Illusionist's Daughter
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/02/2017 11:01:06

The Players Introduction tells the tale of an illusionist who has an exceptionally beautiful daughter (presumably without the help of his spells!). Although they live in a remote village, her fame has spread far and wide and there's no shortage of eager young men heading off to try and win her hand. Only one of them has gone missing, a young nobleman by the name of Cedric. His family is concerned, and ask the party to find out what happened to him.

The DM Background lifts the lid, outlining a tragedy that has left the illusionist unhinged and his erstwhile bodyguard terrorising the surrounding area. Although the initial introduction for the party talks about them being sent in search of the missing Cedric, several other options are provided if that doesn't fit in well with your campaign. There's even a neat idea for using NPC bards to spread a song about this beautiful maiden which the party may hear for weeks before you actually run this adventure.

Getting to the village is apparently an adventure in itself, but that's an adventure you will have to write as what is provided here starts when the party arrives in the village. There is a rather small village map with accompanying descriptions of notable locations and inhabitants, but the main meat of the adventure is the illusionist's home, a three-storey edifice rather optimistically called a tower. Again there's a plan of that - note both maps are not player-friendly - with room descriptions for when the party begins to prowl around. Wandering around the village will provide ample opportunities for interaction with the inhabitants and the gathering of information.

Once in the tower, there are numerous unsettling incidents to highlight the fact that the wizard is deranged - even if he does manage to make reasonable dinner conversation. The weather turns nasty, and the party is invited to stay the night... a good chance to explore. And that's what they will need to do: there is no real way to discover what is going on except by poking about and finding the evidence for themselves. Likely things will end in tears, and a brawl - although the objective of the fight is not clear.

Overall it is a nice little puzzle adventure to toss your party's way, particularly if they enjoy figuring out what is going on.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Illusionist's Daughter
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The Last Defender
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/24/2017 11:08:44

It's spring time, and the local rangers have announced that the mountain passes are clear enough for travel once more... so the party heads off there for whatever reason (a couple are given in the DM Background if you or they do not have a good reason of their own). In the heights of the mountains, there's a chasm crossed by a bridge guarded by a tower at either end. There's quite a lot of backstory for the DM about what's gone on there in the past, and this is where the adventure proper begins - you probably will wish to play out the party deciding (or being hired) to travel through the mountains, getting any equipment that they need and getting high up in the mountains, but you're on your own for that.

There's a good (but not player-friendly) map of the bridge over the chasm, again any maps you require to get there will have to come from elsewhere. On the plus side, there's plenty to explore when you get there - and assorted bandits, monsters and others to object to the party's presence, not to mention the remains of a caravan that tried to pass this way a month or so ago. The bridge's past may be revealed through interaction with the numerous ghosts to be found here, but the main gist of the adventure is to clear out the towers and grab what can be salvaged from the caravan. A few ideas are included for further adventures, and a new monster and new magic item (a decidedly anti-social battleaxe) finish off this book.

There's potential here, but some work to be done before it becomes a fully-fledged adventure.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Last Defender
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The Red Isle
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/28/2017 10:33:54

Throw this adventure in sometime that the party is taking a long sea voyage... it's easy to drop it into any campaign as it is based on a remote and rarely-visited island. The DM's Background explains the situation in which the party will find themselves and provides a neat way for them to hear at least a little of this information: the captain of the ship they are on likes telling tales of an evening!

It all begins with a shipwreck. The characters wake up on what appears to be a remote and deserted island. This survival situation turns into a delve as a long-lost pirate lair is discovered and (presumably) explored. The pirate captain was a bit paranoid, so it's quite well defended, not to mention other creatures that have moved in. There's a clear plan of the lair, presented as a side elevation (it makes more sense that way, but is nicely-done) and each location therein is described in detail, with what (and who) is to be found there and all you need to run the ensuing combat. And combat there will be, nothing there is going to be interested in a chat.

This is a tough adventure: the traps are complex and deadly and so are the inhabitants. Survivors will find a rich hoard... but they still have to figure out how to get someplace that they can enjoy their new-found wealth. Suggestions for further adventures are included, all-in-all this is a nice little side-adventure to catch your players with when they are thinking about the reason they originally undertook that fateful sea voyage.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Red Isle
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Dawn of the Serpent
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/21/2017 10:06:16

This adventure provides a neat interlude sometime the party is travelling through wild-enough terrain that a night in the open will be involved, as it opens with them spotting what looks like a welcoming camp fire ahead one chilly evening...

Of course, they won't get the rest, warmth and companionship they might have been expecting. The DM's Background points out the main hazards of travelling: inclement weather, roving bandits and occasional monsters - and this adventure includes all three. The adventure is set in the Gloamwood Forest, which has of late gained a bit of a reputation for being dangerous, although the road that goes through the forest is quite well-travelled and relatively safe. This forest can be placed anywhere in your campaign world where a largish forest with a road through it is appropriate. It's best run in winter, but if you prefer to run it in another season, that's fine.

Various rumours may be heard before the party actually reaches this stage in their journey (particularly if you like foreshadowing), and then it's straight on with the action. Investigating the camp fire leads eventually to a lair that needs cleaning out. It's all quite straightforward in a way, but there are traps and monsters to defeat on the way to solving the adventure... and some neat ideas for what might happen afterwards.

As a way to enliven a journey, this makes for an interesting challenge - especially if you have carefully prepared your party to expect a covivial night around a campfire on a cold night. The various elements of the story combine well together to make an entertaining interlude with potential consequences that might haunt the party for some time to come.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dawn of the Serpent
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Gottheit
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/20/2017 07:43:04

Travelling through a dark and misty night, the party is looking forward to finding a place to stop for the night... but when the town of Gottheit comes into view, the settlement appears deserted and derelict. Or is it?

Designed to accompany Alderac Entertainment Group's Undead sourcebook, the adventure seeks to answer the question, what happened to the people of Gottheit? The DM's Background explains why a peaceful (if somewhat over-religious) community has turned into the dismal wreck the party arrives at, and prepares you to run the adventure. It has an interesting structure, in that although it appears to the players that it's a location-based adventure as they wander the town, it is actually event-based, with a series of events that occure in a set sequence with it not mattering just where the party is when each event occurs!

A town plan and location descriptions are provided, then the encounters are presented in the sequence in which they should take place, leading the party inevitably to the climax in the temple in the centre of town. It's recommended that, despite the party being free to wander as they please, they should not visit the temple until the end but no clear advice on how to manage that is provided.

It's a fine creepy adventure that maintains suspense well, although I think the recommened character level (9th-11th) is a bit too high... slightly lower level characters should find it appropriately scary and a bit more of a challenge.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Gottheit
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Princes, Thieves & Goblins
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/14/2017 06:57:45

The Player's Background paints a picture of a small but prosperous kingdom that was happy up until the previous year, when a succession of goblin raids caused havoc... but worse was to come. The King summons the party to a meeting at his country retreat, and requests their help - his baby son has been kidnapped! Evidence points to the goblins and the King will throw his resources behind the party...

All this has been dealt with, through a mix of narrative and role-play (although you can role-play the lot if you prefer) before we even get to the DM's Information. This explains some quite epic confusion on the part of the goblins and lays out what is going on and why quite clearly. Assuming the party agree to accept the task, they soon are on their way. The journey to the goblins' lair is glossed over, you may prefer to make it more interesting.

The lair itself is clearly mapped and detailed, with room descriptions along with notes on who might be around, all necessary game mechanical information and their likely intentions. From here on in, it's a fairly straightforward delve, with traps and monsters to deal with. Although it's supposed to be the goblins' lair, it's a bit difficult to envision them actually living there given the set-up. At the end of the dungeon, there is an opportunity to negotiate a solution should the party choose to take this option. The adventure rounds off with a new type of goblin and a magical item which plays quite a major role - more as an object than because of its powers, interestingly.

In a way, this adventure promises more than it delivers. The set-up is intriguing, but the dungeon itself quite pedestrian. The way in which a negotiated outcome is possible is excellent, but resolving it is left very much to the DM's discretion... and there is nothing concerning any consequences or follow-up adventures. With some work, this could prove a good adventure, as is it's a bit unsatisfying.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Princes, Thieves & Goblins
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The Ice Caves of Azinth
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/13/2017 11:31:49

Just what any group of up-and-coming adventurers trying to make a name for themselves would like: a summons to a consultation about a 'matter of some urgency', from a local monarch, no less. Amid rumours of impending war between Azinth (the summoning monarch's kingdom) and an aggressive bunch to the south, the party travels to this small but prosperous kingdom which is backed by a massive mountain range to the north. That's where the problem is: for the past five years solid it has been snowing on those mountains and all the passes are frozen solid, cutting Azinth off from its allies to the north. Now a stranger has arranged a meeting in a deserted inn, claiming to know how to deal with the situation, and the king wishes the party to attend to the matter...

So runs the Player Introduction, and the DM Background opens with a note that the DM should change names as necessary to put events in an appropriate corner of the campaign world. There's a lot more detail about what's going on in and around Azinth (or whatever you rename the place), and explains the real nature of the problem the party is tasked to solve.

And then we're off, with a chilly journey up into the mountains - don't worry, it's only going to get colder - and plenty of action to keep the party on their toes. At least fighting ought to keep them warm! Eventually they meet their contact who explains what they need to do and leads them onward to where they need to be. Eventually they reach the 'ice caves' which are mapped out and described, and shall we say, darn chilly! And, of course, filled with those who wish intruders ill... and even as they obtain their objective, a massive brawl breaks out.

It's an excellent if chilly adventure with an exciting climax, in a setting that could prove fruitful for further adventures. Successful parties will be rewarded well, there's even a medal from a grateful king (plus cash for those of more mercenary inclinations) and other rewards to be had. There's a new monster and a new magic item as well, indeed the party even has a chance of keeping the magic item. A good adventure to add to your collection.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Ice Caves of Azinth
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Servants of the Blood Moon
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/07/2017 13:08:33

Fancy creating a new legend about heroes protecting an ancient elven forest? Things have gone terribly wrong in the forest of Myereth, where the ancient rowan trees are dying since an evil sorcerer slew a unicorn and the elven defenders of their sylvan realm. This is explained on the back cover of the pamphlet, that doubles as the Player Introduction. Inside, the DM Background explains a bit more about what has been going on in a forest that was legendary for being a safe haven of good and peace, somewhere evil cannot go and the trees weep healing tears... some think the whole place is a myth, but elves know better and some may even have been taken there as children. Now refugees are turning up with dreadful tales of death and destruction, even the immortal unicorn that protected the forest. These refugees need someone to restore their homeland...

Assuming the party respond to the call, they'll hear quite a few rumours on their way there. Some of them are even true. On the fringes of the forest, there is a large refugee camp full of displaced (and distraught) elves, led by a prince. He's glad of their help, claiming that he'd do something himself but feels he needs to stay with the refugees and take care of them. However he can explain a bit more of what has been going on - the forest and unicorn were placed there to imprison a demon which is now loose again and growing in strength. The party must then venture into the forest with little idea of how to deal with the demon.

Braving the forest, the party will come to the elven city of Myr where there are some buildings to explore, chiefly a library and a palace. Both are described and mapped, although there is no plan of the city as a whole. The sacred grove, where the rowan tress are and where the unicorn was slain, lies behind the palace, however. A couple of epic brawls later the party - if victorious - can triumph in their quest with a bit of divine aid.

If you want a quick high-level quest this is quite good, but if I was going to use it in a campaign I'd use this as an outline for a more comprehensive adventure. It all seems a bit prefunctory given the subject matter... but as an outline to build an adventure on, it's very good.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Servants of the Blood Moon
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Garadon Manor
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/06/2017 09:55:25

Billed as a sequel to Out of Body, Out of Mind, this adventure returns to the realm of Tirna'cel with the party having been summoned to the headquarters of the Paladins of Garadon. Although it states that it's not necessary to have played Out of Body, Out of Mind it is advisable to have done so, as reference is made to that adventure - the party is assumed to have undertaken it - and although there's enough material to be able to give your players the necessary background, it works better if they have that knowledge for themselves - as the adventure begins with them being asked to explain what they did!

The DM Background explains what has been going on with these Paladins and sets the scene nicely for what is to follow. The party needs to make its way to the Manor, deep in swampland, and find it quite luxurious even if most of the Paladins are out. Several options are provided for coping with a party that hasn't played Out of Body, Out of Mind, at least one of which is quite tempting as a concept on its own! However it's handled, the interview doesn't go too well and a brawl breaks out. Survivors can then explore the Manor and try to find out what is going on there.

The Manor has two floors plus a basement and sub-basement. All are mapped and supplied with brief but clear descriptions - you may wish to elaborate but the bare bones of what you need are there. The sub-basement is underwater, and poses the most dangerous part of the adventure. A new monster and a magic weapon are to be found here, and both are fully-detailed.

This is an excellent example of a sequel adventure, and ought to prove entertaining for characters who have played the first adventure (or who haven't - it's handled well enough for you to be able to cope with that eventuality). It is quite challenging in places, but capable of successful completion, and provides a good air of continuity. Actions do have consequences, even in a series of one-off adventures!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Garadon Manor
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Dead Man's Cove
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/01/2017 10:27:41

One Baldrick Mornstar, a merchant, has got fed up with his ships being raided by pirates so he has hatched a cunning plan: to raid the pirates in their base! Naturally he is in search for some brave adventurers to take on the challenge. Will your party step up?

The DM Background explains what Mornstar has done so far in his vendetta against the pirates, then the adventure itself opens with a job offer, a generous one at that. Then it's down to the party to head out on an arduous overland trek to the location of the pirate lair, for which Mornstar has apparently managed to acquire a map. This trip will take a couple of weeks, and whilst it is suggested that this ought not to be event-free, you are left to supply appropriate encounters if you want any. A copy of the plan to the pirate lair is provided, but this is the DM's map, you will have to put something together based upon it for a player handout.

The pirate lair is quite a nice set-up and is explained well, with plenty of options for the pirates' reactions depending on what the party decides to do. An added twist is that a pirate ship is due to arrive, so the party will have to figure out how they deal with that as well. There's a new maritime monster and a new magio item.

This is a neat little one-session adventure which can be slotted in whenever the party is somewhere that sea-borne trade is carried out. The pirate lair is well-constructed and gives the impression that life is going on there no matter who might come around, a nice touch that makes it come to life. The matter of the arriving ship is handled less well, although again there are several options open depending on what the party decides to do about it. There are no suggestions for follow-up adventures, although it ought not to be too hard to come up with some. It makes for an unusual take on a pirate theme, and makes for an enjoyable caper!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dead Man's Cove
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Bring Him Back Alive!
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/17/2017 08:30:28

Typical, isn't it? The party has just had a really good dinner in a peaceful inn when someone staggers in needing their help and right now. The Player Background sets the scene, with a comfortable 'gastropub' inn in an unnamed settlement (so it's easy to slot it in to an appropriate place in your campaign world) and a badly-beaten fellow pleading for the party to rescue his son from whoever's got him.

The DM Background explains what led up to this situation, and then its straight in to the adventure as the party gets an opportunity to begin their investigations (assuming they accept the challenge... if they don't, find some new adventurers!). This should take them out of towm to some ruins beside the road where there's plenty of unfriendly wildlife to deal with before they even get near the villains of the piece. There's a basic plan of their lair under the ruins, descriptions of what is to be found and an interesting opportunity to talk the situation through rather than resolve it with combat.

Oddly, it's not until the end that we find out that there's a dangerous untamed wilderness between the inn and the ruins, and are provided with an encounter table - this really ought to have been provided earlier in the adventure. It pays to read through the entire thing before you play it! A new monster and a quite intriguing new magic item complete this offering.

This makes for a nice adventure which is both financially and emotionally rewarding for the party. The alternative ways of dealing with the situation give the players different options. There isn't much in the way of follow-up adventures, although the grateful father could be a useful patron in the future. You might want to reuse the inn as well, especially if the party is into good food! A nice little interlude.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bring Him Back Alive!
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Kurishan's Garden
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/16/2017 12:36:19

A city is having supply problems, and asks the party to find out why deliveries from the village of Darbin have failed to arrive for a couple of months - Darbin hitherto having been the city's main source of produce. The citizens are getting hungry and the price of food is soaring. With the Player Introduction on the back cover of the adventure, a more detailed DM Introduction explains what the problem is... but it will be up to the party to discover a way to deal with it.

The adventure text begins with the characters arriving in the village of Darbin. This makes it easy for you to drop the adventure in to an existing campaign, using a suitable city and either building up to the adventure with the growing dearth of food in the city, or just reading the Player Introduction to them if you are eager to get on with the scenario. There's plenty of potential to turn this into a horror story, as the villagers do not seem to be... quite themselves. There is a map of the village, with associated notes on what is to be found there, and one of Kurishan's Garden itself... Kurishan being a botanically-inclined wizard who retired to the village.

This adventure focusses on rather creepy investigation and combat - most everyone the party meets will engage in combat at first sight, although there may be some opportunities to interact in other ways. A new plant monster and a variant magic item are introduced during the course of the adventure, and are written up in full at the end. The adventure will end when the party kills off the main antagonist (or dies trying), there are no notes for follow-up adventures although to be fair apart from helping the villagers rebuild I cannot think of anything much! It's quite unusual and played right could be quite spooky, an interesting evening's entertainment to drop in to your campaign at an appropriate moment.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Kurishan's Garden
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The Crypt of St Bethesda
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/15/2017 13:15:29

This is an adventure to drop on your party when they think they are safe relaxing and drinking the profits of their latest exploits in a city somewhere in your campaign world (it needs only be large enough to have reasonably powerful law enforcement!). The Player Introduction, printed on the cover of the module, sets the scene: after a good evening carousing, the party is making their way home taking a short cut through or near a cemetary. Probably a bit tipsy they fall over a corpse... just as a patrol comes upon them and promptly accuses them of murder!

The DM Introduction continues setting the scene and explains what is really going on. There is also advice on what to do if the party does not immediately leap into action to investigate with the hope of clearing their names. Basically whatever they do, their only options are to get killed on the spot, to rot in gaol until executed or to investigate a slime trail from the body leading somewhere in the bowels of a nearby abandoned cathedral. Assuming that they are true adventurers and choose the latter option, the adventure text begins as they enter the cathedral cellars.

Put it this way, worshippers may have abandoned the cathedral but there is plenty of wildlife down here, and most of it is hostile. A nice clear plan is provided along with concise notes about what is down there, including read-aloud text and appropriate monster stat blocks. Most of the encounters will result in combat, but there are a few limited opportunities to talk rather than fight. A new monster and a new magic item are presented during the adventure, and have complete write-ups at the end should you wish to use them elsewhere.

The scenario ends with a few suggestions for further adventure which could prove interesting, but as it is this should provide an entertaining session just when the party thought that they were not going to be doing any adventuring... rather neat, really!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Crypt of St Bethesda
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