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Grand Safari
Publisher: Gypsy Knights Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/17/2016 10:59:23

One of the delights of Traveller is exploring new parts of the universe... and here's a whole campaign about doing just that. Set in the Gypsy Knights Games alternative Traveller universe, it puts the party as members of the Gentlemen's Club of Dashwood (an society you'll find in the book 21 More Organisations) who have booked themselves onto a hunting safari into the unsettled Hannibal Subsector (Leonidas Sector) which is located to spinward of the Dade Subsector in the Clement Sector. You can read about the Dade Subsector in the work Dade Colonies too. Nine pre-generated characters are provided but you can use your own - provided they are 'posh' enough (reckon on SOC 8+) to join the Club or can wangle an invitation from a member to join the trip. There are also safari staff and ship's crew roles, but these are probably best filled by NPCs.


What we have here is a series of loosely-linked adventures which can be played in any order, linked by the theme of the Safari, which is a competition. Various activities accrue points, and these accumulate towards a prize and enhance standing within the Club. The game begins at a Club meeting on Dashwood or at the first stop, a skills training day on Aisha, after which the party should be allowed to choose from a list of available safaris (adventures) which ones they want to do and in what order.


There's plenty of detail to help you run this campaign, from planetary data to the Clubhouse on Dashwood. The safari contest rules are introduced and then it's on to Aisha for Skills Day. Here, the party has the opportunity to demonstrate prowess at various activities: rifle marksmanship, archery, horseback riding, climbing, stealth, and making a shelter out of native materials. Points are awarded for all these activities - and characters who do well despite being unskilled in a given discipline may gain rank 0 in the appropriate skill. The party is then shown a list of six expeditions and can decide the order in which to visit them.


Each expedition is the presented in detail. For each one, there is a defined objective and the party will have a certain amount of time and the appropriate equipment to undertake it. Interestingly, sometimes the task is being done for someone else - for example, in the Sea Hunt the Club has been contracted to capture certain fish for a research group. Some of the tasks involve killing, but there are enough places in which capturing or even making recordings of the target animals or plants will garner points so that those who are uncomfortable with the idea of hunting for sport will find plenty to do. Naturally, each location visited boasts more than the target creature and there are extensive random event charts and other encounters to further enliven affairs. Once the six hunts have been undertaken, the party returns to Aisha where points are added up and prizes awarded.


Full details of all the systems in the Hannibal Subsector are provided, at least to the level that they are known to the Club. As far as is known, none of them have been settled yet... but there's sufficient detail in the system write-ups to allow for that if the party choose to do so in later adventures, or for you to write your own campaign around exploring and settling any one of them. Many do not even have names yet, just catalogue numbers, although some have acquired unofficial names bestowed by the Club during earlier safaris. The ship on which the safari will be undertaken is also presented, complete with deckplans and full details including those of a surface (wet) boat provided for ocean travel during the trip. Finally, there are a few ideas about other things that might be going on in the area...


This presents an exciting and original campaign framework, with loads of detail to support the adventures provided or indeed facilitate your own in a virtually unexplored subsector.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Grand Safari
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Stone Dead (3.0)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/16/2016 11:36:52

This adventure is set in Respite, an isolated town along the banks of a river fed by a nearby hot spring, which is renowned far and wide for the practice of the healing arts - you can place it anywhere suitable in your campaign world. But all is not well...


There is some lengthy background that explains the combination of happenstance and malign action that has brought about the current situation and a synopsis of how the adventure should play out - pretty straightforward, the party has to find out what's going on and deal with it! Some hooks are provided to get them to Respite in the first place - perhaps they have encountered a refugee, as many of the townspeople have fled, heard rumours, or have reasons of their own to be visiting the place anyway.


The approach to town is covered in some detail, as there are some odd features which the party may pick up on - although they serve more to indicate that something is amiss than give clues to the actual problem. There's a map of the gatehouse and one of the town centre - if you want detail of the rest of the town you will have to supply it for yourself. The maps these are based on come from March 2001 entries in the Map-a-Week series on the Wizards of the Coast website, but are no longer accessible from the link provided in the PDF.


There are plenty of opportunities to build up suspense as the party explores what appears to be a deserted town, and once they find the Bad Guy there will be an epic brawl to defeat him... and his monstrous sidekick (a decidedly nasty new monster born of dark magic) as well. Once their dastardly plot has been defeated - and, boy, it's an excellent one! - the task of rebuilding can begin.


It's a sneaky adventure that kind of grows on you, at first glance it doesn't seem much, then you realise how atmospheric it can become, especially if the party has visited Respite in the past. It's worth considering having this happen just so that the effects of this visit are really shocking!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stone Dead (3.0)
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Ill Wind in Friezford (3.0)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/16/2016 11:33:18

Misfortune often comes all at once, and this certainly has been the case for the once-prosperous village of Friezford. The opening notes explain all, but it's not completely clear how much of this background the party should actually know in advance...


This is a classic ghost adventure, with the ghosts requiring certain things to be done for them by the living before they can return to everlasting rest and peace. So of course, the trick is to figure out what they want and survive long enough to accomplish it. Needless to say, it's not only the undead which will pose problems... and there's a whole bunch of new ghost special abilities to make even the ghosts more potent. One of these, the ability to manifest a solid object (even whilst the ghost manifesting it is still, of course, incorporeal) is quite interesting and worth considering for other ghosts in your game.


There is a run-down of all the ghosts around (and there are quite a few), along with the single specific condition that will allow them to depart to their rest. Only then do we get to the hooks to get the party involved with the situation and the information that they can gather (or access via bardic knowledge) once they decide to investigate further. There's not a lot, because it was apparently over an hundred years ago that the village was overrun and common knowledge is by now not very detailed.


Four events are provided, which may be run in any order as is appropriate given the party's actions. These should provide plenty of action and excitement. There is a map of Friezford and its environs, and a good detailed run-down of the locations - and of course what happens should anyone visit them. Some of them are really quite 'spooky' and can be played up to emphasise the atmosphere of the ghost town.


The main problem with this adventure is the very specific terms under which most of the ghosts can be laid to rest... to be precise, how difficult it is to firstly discover them and then put them into effect. At one point, only two very specific spells will work which the characters may or may not have: and if they do not, it's airily waved aside as a sidetrek that's up to the DM to arrange to gain access to them... even though it's never made clear just how they are supposed to discover which spells they need in the first place!


That aside, the actual ghost town and events going on there should provide a fair bit of quality spooky entertainment for your group.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Ill Wind in Friezford (3.0)
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Dawn Adventures 2: Hell's Paradise
Publisher: Gypsy Knights Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/16/2016 11:16:39

Rooting around the Dawn Sub-sector - next door to the Cascadia Sub-sector of the Gypsy Knights Games alternate Traveller universe Clement Sector - this adventure sees the party in a Cascadia Colonization Authority search and rescue ship looking for an exploration ship that has gone missing. The Trailblazer-class scout ship the party is in is the same as the one provided for Dawn Adventures 1: The Subterranean Oceans of Argos Prime - and indeed the adventure starts on Argos Prime. Nine pre-generated characters are also provided, as well as a map of the Dawn Sub-sector and listing of the systems therein. Naturally, you can use your own characters and ship, and indeed set the adventure somewhere in your own Traveller universe without too much amentment necessary if preferred.


The target system of Calliope is detailed extensively - at least, what is known of it - with the main world shown as being largely covered with water with just three small land masses. There is extensive sea life but little to be found on the land. It is not yet settled by anyone, but the Nordic Exploratory Society have been surveying it with an eye to locating suitable sites for a colony. It is their survey ship that has gone missing.


In a neat tie-in to Dawn Adventures 1: The Subterranean Oceans of Argos Prime, the search and rescue ship complete with the party on board have been sent to Argos Prime to assist with the disaster that befell the planet during that adventure. If you want to use the same party you did for that adventure, you'll need to have them reassigned to new duties in order to get them involved in this adventure. Representatives of the Nordic Exploration Society request help, and the party is tasked to investigate. There's a fair bit of background about the Nordic Exploration Society, how much actually needs to be shared with the party is unclear, but this may be made available if they are interested.


They will have to stop and refuel at Biocca, which is a friendly frontier world. As well as the fuel they can pick up some information and a meal whilst here, but they ought to be on their way to Calliope quickly.


Once there, the investigation can begin. The ship itself can be found quite easily... but where are the crew? There's a decklan of the survey ship, assuming the party decide to search it, with full descriptions of all that is to be found there. Eventually the reason for the ship being here, rather than returning as scheduled or even reporting in, will become apparent... but will the party be able to figure it out and how to deal with it before suffering a similar fate?


This is a nice treatment of what is, once discovered, a fairly standard risk of interplanetary exploration, with a few neat ideas to make it less predicable. It proves good fun to run, but is possibly more suitable for a one-off game using the characters provided than as part of an ongoing campaign with cherished characters... yet, it's dangerous out in the black, sometimes parties need to be reminded of this.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dawn Adventures 2: Hell's Paradise
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Dawn Adventures 1: The Subterranean Oceans of Argos Prime
Publisher: Gypsy Knights Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/15/2016 08:59:49

If you think Traveller is all about exploring new worlds, then this adventure is for you... because in it the party is hired by the Cascadia Colonization Authority to go explore parts of Argos Prime, a strange world where the surface is barren and the interior contains bodies of water and other necessities for life. It's set in the Gypsy Knights Games custom universe, but it ought not be too hard to find a suitable location in your own campaign setting if you prefer. Likewise, pre-generated characters and a survey ship are supplied, but are not essential.


There is a map of the Dawn Sub-sector with brief details of all the worlds therein, two of which have already been settled by the Cascadia Colonization Authority (the Dawn Sub-sector is next along from the Cascadia one). The target world, however, has been independently colonised by peoples of Greek and Slavic origins although negotions are in progress to plant a colony there as well. The Argos Prime government has also allowed a couple of mining companies to begin work, primarily in the world's two asteroid belts but also on the surface... unfortunately these companies do not get along, and bickering has turned to brawling on more than one occasion.


Full details of Argos Prime are provided - everything from physical geography (quite remarkable and unique) to government and cultural information. System data is also provided as well as maps of Argos Prime, both the frigid surface and the subterreanean areas where people can live. There are also full details and deckplans for the ship provided.


Then things get interesting. Rather than a fully-scripted adventure, you are provided with a situation, a disaster (which is variable in nature, you decide how severe it is) and some suspects... the aim of the adventure is for the party to figure out what - and who, if applicable - caused the disaster... and they thought that they were here just to survey and assess potential locations for new colonies. There is a lot of tension and distrust between various factions and organisations, which is likely to spill over into events.


The parameters for the surveys are laid out precisely: both location and what the party needs to do whilst they are there. Charts are supplied from which you can give them the relevant data once they settle down to collect it, and each location that is to be surveyed is detailed as well. Also, randon encounters tailored to each location are supplied to liven things up a bit.


Then we get to the impending disaster. The general nature is outlined in some detail, but its severity and just where it happens is left to you. The party will - assuming that they survive - be hauled off their survey duties and asked to investigate. Six different options for what caused it are provided, along with a whole bunch of NPCs to question and various 'clues' which may or may not point to the guilty parties, depending on whom you decided was behind it all. Red herrings abound and it can be quite easy for the party to go off along a completely different track - it's recommended that you limit the red herrings so that the party do eventually home in on the correct suspects. Or of course you may decide that it was a freak accident and, despite all the evidence to the contrary, nobody was responsible. Then the party will have to debunk all the conspiracy theories flying around!


Overall it's a delightful mix of exploration and investigation with an innovative methodology that allows you to determine what was actually going on without having to make everything up for yourself. Great fun - but it repays careful preparation although it is well-enough organised that you could run it on the fly if necessary!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dawn Adventures 1: The Subterranean Oceans of Argos Prime
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Cascadia Adventures 3: Fled
Publisher: Gypsy Knights Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/14/2016 08:48:37

As with the previous two adventures in the Cascadia series, this one is set in the alternate Traveller universe created by Gypsy Knights Games - it takes place in the Cascadia Sub-Sector which is part of Clement Sector. Again, the whole thing starts with the Razz Casino on Chance, a planet in Cascadia. Pre-generated characters and a ship are provided, or you can use your own. The advantage of the characters provided is that they are embedded into what is going on with links to the Casino and an array of useful contacts who pop up during the adventure to help - but if using your own characters it's not too hard to work them in. Likewise, if you are not using the alternate universe it will be possible to amend the adventure to fit in with your own. If you have either of the previous two adventures, there is some repeated material - the pre-generated characters, the ship, and details of the Razz Casino itself - primary for the benefit of those who only have this work. Each adventure stands alone, so if you like this one, go back and try the other two!


The plot is quite straightforward - or at least appears to be when first introduced. A fellow called Hawthorne, part of Razz Casino security, has stolen a large amount of money from the Casino and the owner, Carrie O'Malley, wants not just the money back but Hawthorne's head on a platter as well. The party will be tasked with going to Cascadia, where Hawthorne used to live, and visiting his ex-wife to find out if she knows anything about the theft or Hawthorn's whereabouts. They'll have to be discreet, as this lady has since remarried... to one of Cascadia's leading politicians.


Once the party has accepted the offer - and it is, shall we say, in their best interests to do so - they can begin to make their way to Cascadia via Dimme, another world where they can refuel. Throughout, scenes are presented as 'essential' (necessary to the plot), 'optional' (flavour and role-playing opportunities, but not contributing to the plotline) and 'contact' (where the party has a chance to gather useful inforamation) - a neat trick to keep things moving yet create a sense of reality in your game.


There's a spot of local colour - and time for a meal - at Dimme, then on to Cascadia where the main part of the adventure takes place. There's a lot going on, particularly on the political front with a major election coming up and the party soon gets caught up in it all. There are copious details of Cascadian politicians and their parties to provide background and substance to what is going on. Many of them could make useful contact for the future. Or enemies, of course, depending on the interactions the party has with them. Many in the Cascadian political scene play the game hard and with deadly sincerity.


It all builds up to an exciting climax at a political rally. There's a plan of the auditorium and full notes about what's where and what is taking place. Guile rather than brute force is likely to win the day, indeed this is the case throughout the adventure. Parties who plan their actions and come up with inventive schemes to achieve their goals are likely to do best... but fear not, at several points there are opportunities for a brawl, although the consequences may not be to participants' liking.


A well-written taut adventure that could leave the party with some measure of renown - or notoriety - as well as powerful friends and equally powerful enemies. And a ship.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cascadia Adventures 3: Fled
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Cascadia Adventures 2: The Lost Girl
Publisher: Gypsy Knights Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/13/2016 12:53:49

The second in a series of loosely-connected adventures set in the Cascadia Sub-Sector of Gypsy Knights Games' Traveller setting, there is some duplicated material from the first adventure (Save Our Ship) as a convenience especially for those who do not have a copy of that adventure. This includes the ship and pre-generated characters provided - they are worth considering as everything is neatly linked in to the setting and plot. However, if you have your own characters and ship the story will work equally well with a little thought, and it can be translated into your own preferred location without much difficulty.


The adventure starts at the Razz Casino on the planet Chance in the Cascadia Sub-Sector. The casino's owner has been asked by a former employee for help in finding his daughter, who has gone missing and hasn't been heard from for the better part of a year... and so the party has been called in to render assistance. If you are using the pre-generated characters, there's ample reason for them to be asked to help, you will have to come up with your own reasons for why the casino owner should turn to the party otherwise, although some suggestions are given.


In a scene at the Razz Casino, the party gets its briefing: to find Frida Moskalawicz. A neat trick is the use of different types of scene within the adventure: there are 'essential scenes' which need to take place for the adventure to progress, 'optional scenes' which provide added colour and role-playing opportunites but can be safely ignored without risk to the story, and 'contact scenes' specifically set up to allow the party to gather necessary information. The default is to use the extensive network of contacts each of the pre-generated characters has, but each of these is provided in sufficient detail to run as an NPC and you can find your own ways to work them in relatively easily if your party doesn't already know them. Those who wish to may engage in optional scenes of drinking, gambling and watching shows whilst they are at the casino as well as talking to those who have useful information.


It is likely that the party will proceed to Gagnon, the planet where Frida Moskalawicz had been a university student. They will need to refuel along the way, the most efficient route takes them to a planet called Slaren - oh, and they've been given a voucher for fuel to redeem there. While there, they have the opportunity to get a bite to eat (with several restaurants being available) and hear that there's a lot of pirate activity at the moment.


Then on to Gagnon and the core of the investigation. Various avenues are provided to aid you in running this, and the party ought to be able to figure out what has happened reasonably easily. Location and NPC descriptions are excellent giving a good feel of the places and people involved.


The climax of the adventure involves a raid on a well-guarded establishment... and there's a good chance of having to use violence, although stealth may also work, depending on what your party prefers. The conclusion of the adventure covers several alternatives, depending on what the party manages to do... and they might end up with an extremely powerful enemy!


It's a well-presented and resourced adventure, if a little linear and straightforward. Good fun to run...



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cascadia Adventures 2: The Lost Girl
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Cascadia Adventures 1: Save Our Ship
Publisher: Gypsy Knights Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/12/2016 11:10:52

This adventure makes some assumptions: the party operates out of a planet called Chance in the Cascadia Subsector which is part of the Clement sector (Gypsy Knights Games custom Traveller setting) and works mostly as interstellar merchants (ethically challenged or not, it doesn't matter) with the odd side-job for the Razz Casino. This holds good for all three episodes in the Cascadia Adventures series, although they do not form a story-arc, you can run them in any order or pick and choose which ones you will run at all.


Before you get to the actual adventure, there are full details - including a sketch and deckplans - of the ship the party is assumed to be using, a Rucker-class vessel called Dust Runner. Then there are a full nine pre-generated characters, all with links to each other, the ship and even the casino. Naturally you can substitute existing characters (and indeed their own ship), or use some of them as NPCs, but if this is the first adventure you are running in a campaign they are worth considering because they are already embedded in the setting. They also all have contacts which will be useful as the adventure proceeds - details of these are supplied where they turn up along with notes on how to use them with either the supplied characters or your own.


And so to the adventure itself, beginning with a overview that explains what is going on. Basically, the Razz Casino had been hosting a politician who was about to run for high office on another planet, and had sent one of their ships to fetch him - but ship and politican failed to arrive. The party's task is to find out what has happened and to sort it out. The adventure background contains all the information that you will need, and in succeeding pages various locations and events are provided for you to run the adventure.


Events begin in the Razz Casino, and this may be a place that your party likes to hang out anyway. A sidebar explains a neat way of presenting adventures with 'essential scenes' which a key to the plot, 'optional scenes' which add flavour and encourage role-playing but can be left out without harming the story, and 'contact scenes' which help advance the plot as they provide opportunities for the party to find something out that they need to know. The casino 'optional scenes' include details of the games of chance and shows on offer, in case the party wish to indulge.


From the beginning in the casino, the adventure should take the party to the politician's departure point, his homeworld of Roskilde, where they can commence their investigations. Plenty of ways for them to find things out are provided and it should be relatively straightforwards to piece together what has transpired and lead them to the casino ship's current location. Once they get there, they have various situations to deal with - including some other folks also trying to find the missing ship - before they can complete their mission and return triumphant.


Overall it's a cracking adventure and great fun to run (I cannot speak for playing it, but they did seem to enjoy it...). It fits beautifully into the Gypsy Knights Games setting, but would not be too hard to transplant elsewhere if you want to drop it in to your own Traveller universe instead.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cascadia Adventures 1: Save Our Ship
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The Kopru Ruins (3.5)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/11/2016 12:19:34

Originally issued as a free web enhancement for Stormwrack, the maritime environment supplement, this is an underwater adventure that takes the party to visit a ruined city at the foot of an uninhabited island - one in any suitable chain of tropic islands in your campaign setting will do just fine. Suggestions for suitable locations are made for those using the Forgotten Realms or Eberron campaign worlds.


The backstory for the DM tells the story of the underwater city and the wars that left it in ruins... and what's going on there now. A brief adventure synopsis describes what the party needs to do and there are some hooks to attract their attention - including a suitably vague treasure map (provided) and hints of loot to be had. There's a couple of others if that doesn't appeal to your party.


As it's a site-based adventure (the ruins), actually getting there is left to you, although there are brief notes about possible hazards on the way. Once there, a plan of the ruins (suprisingly small) and detailed notes of what is to be found therein are provided. It is all underwater, so the party will need some means of breathing, but at least the water is warm even if it is quite deep. No individual encountered there is interested in conversation, so there is plenty of combat to be had.


There are extensive notes on the ancient race that once inhabited the ruins, the kopru, and brief notes on possible follow-up adventures. The real challenges here are the environment - especially if not familiar with being underwater, the party may struggle to cope with traps they'd breeze through on dry land - and meeting an unfamiliar race.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Kopru Ruins (3.5)
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Legend of the Silver Skeleton (3.5)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/09/2016 12:16:20

Written to introduce the winning entry in the Creature Competition: Head-to-Head run on the Wizards website in the summer of 2005 to your party, this adventure begins at a wayfarer's inn that has plenty to attract passing adventurers: good beer, comfortable beds and rumours of nearby buried treasure. What's not to like?


The background gives you plenty of information about what (and who) is to be found nearby, and even suggests several locations for the adventure if you are using the Greyhawk, Eberron or Forgotten Realms campaign worlds. Nice idea, would have been better had the author troubled to state which campaign world each location suggested was situated in! There's an adventure synopsis and several hooks to get the party into the action.


The adventure begins when the party arrives at the Hostel of the Sacred Stone, the establishment in question. There's loads of detail to enable you to bring it to life for your players. The 'sacred stone' in question is a relic of a renowned stone giant paladin, Saint Sonnlinor Stoneheart, and regulars will regale newcomers with plenty of stories about Stoneheart, who used to prey on pilgrims to a monastery dedicated to a dwarf deity until one courageous cleric converted him... to the extent that he became a paladin dedicated to that very same god!


The dwarves had built an underground aqueduct to supply their monastery, and that's where the rumoured treasure is to be found... and where the second part of the adventure takes place, assuming the party head out to try and find it. Asking around in the Hostel will glean them quite a bit of useful information before they go. It makes for a good delve, although some of the monsters do rather give the impression that they just sit around waiting for adventurers rather than having their own lives to lead! The descriptive detail is good, however, although the map is a bit small and not very clear. And as for what they might find... and the party likely will think it's merely treasure!


The neat bit is, this is not the end of the adventure. If the party take what they find back to the Hostel, more will be revealed which in turn leads to a second delve. If the party is successful here as well, the final truths will be revealed... better hope your web-search skills are good, as references are made to information on the Wizards website at the time, some of which are no longer there or take a bit of finding at best. Whatever transpires, the party will have attracted the notice - if not emnity - of some really powerful beings, which you can weave into further plotlines as appropriate. It's quite a devious little adventure, containing far more than appears at a first glance, and has the potential to take your campaign in some quite unexpected directions.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legend of the Silver Skeleton (3.5)
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A Frigid Demise (3.0)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/09/2016 10:17:25

Well, this is 'Dungeons and DRAGONS' after all, so it's nice to have an adventure that involves a dragon occasionally. It involves a crafty old white dragon by the name of Charasta, and the background notes for the DM tell you all about her.


There are various ways you can introduce this adventure into your campaign. Perhaps they hear rumours of a dragon in the area and go looking, or they may be on the trail of an ancient box that is said to have the power to alter the weather. More likely they are investigating some caverns and they come across her lair by chance - she's kept it well-hidden, after all.


Whatever you choose, the adventure involves a visit to her subterranean lair. This will prove a challenge as it is freezing cold and mostly underwater! Copious notes are provided to enable you to handle the effects of cold and being submerged on the characters. The map is based on one by Dennis Kauth that originally appeared in the Map of the Week feature on the Wizards of the Coast website, but the original wasn't bigger than the one in the module, despite suggestions that you download it (which now takes considerable searching to find anyway!).


There's a comprehensive description of the lair itself, and plenty of detail about how Charasta will respond to the party coming to visit... it doesn't appear that she'll make them welcome, and in fact the only option appears to be to fight - both with her and the various guardians she has in place (along with assorted barriers and traps for the unwary). The party will have to be cunning, skillful and lucky to avoid a frigid demise...



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
A Frigid Demise (3.0)
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Desert Sands (3.0)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/09/2016 10:13:49

Caravans travelling through the desert have been disappearing. Doesn't matter which desert, pick any suitable one in your campaign world. The backstory for the DM explains why, with a neat twist that makes it something out of the ordinary, and there are a few hooks to attract the party's attention - some will do even if they are quite a way from the desert in question (you could even have other adventures on the way there if you wanted!).


Asking around at whichever end of the caravan route the party finds itself will pay off, there are quite a few snippets of information for them to gather. Eventually, however, they will have to venture forth onto the desert sands and all the accompanying dangers of extreme heat, dust storms, etc. There's a rare botanical treat here too - a cactus treant! Somewhere along the route, the party will encounter the location of the attacks and if they are lucky, the base used by the attackers.


There are some interesting and unusual possibilities for further adventures based on what is actually going on should the party try talking rather than rushing straight in to a fight... but plenty of opportunity for a good brawl if that's what they are after. The ramifications of variois actions the party may choose to take are also discussed, which could also lead to follow-up adventures.


Overall, a neat little adventure with scope to develop into a major plot point in your campaign if you wish, or just to be another job in the party's adventuring career if you prefer.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Desert Sands (3.0)
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Fait Accompli (3.5)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/08/2016 13:27:50

Set in the wilderness north of an outlying domain of a kingdom (or independent region) somewhere in your campaign world, on the face of it this is a straightforward 'clear the dungeon and kill the dragon' mission... or is it?


The backstory explains the history of the situation - that a white dragon stole the symbol of rulership from the Baron of Icendale (killing the Baron in the process) and that without it nobody, however good their claim, can take over. Moreover there's a prophecy that outsiders, not Icenvale citizens, must fetch it back, a local who tries will die in the attempt. It also covers a lot more stuff that contributes directly to the advenure, including how the dragon arrived in the first place and the current state of affairs. There's also an adventure synopsis that covers the perils the party must face on the way to deal with the dragon.


Several hooks are provided to get the party to Icenvale, at least, if not actually on the trail of the dragon, while introductory events once there are designed to catch their attention and hopefully enlist their aid in dealing with it. Details of the main township, Frosthaven, and leading inhabitants are provided, although if you want a map you will have to come up with your own. Things get quite devious depending on whom the characters talk to, but eventually they ought to be on their way to the mountains north of town, where the dragon dwells.


There are many dangers en route, for a start a blizzard is raging. The area's not completely uninhabited either and there's some wildlife to fight off as well. Finally the party should reach a castle called Karrack, an outpost which is where the last Baron met his end in the dragon's jaws. The dragon apparently lives in some nearby caves, but Karrack needs exploring and clearing as well. Both castle and caves are mapped and described well, and all relevant monster details are provided.


This adventure is lifted above a mere delve/dragon bash by the political overtones in Icenvale, and this is handled neatly throughout the adventure, particularly in the opening scenes and the conclusion, where a range of consequences based on the party's level of success and their choices are provided. There are some interesting suggestions for follow-up adventures too. The 'adventurous' parts of the adventure are challenging too, both the trek to Karrack through the blizzard and the ensuing combats should provide plenty of entertainment - it's a well-rounded adventure that should leave successful parties feeling satisfied with their exploits.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fait Accompli (3.5)
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A Dark and Stormy Knight (3.5)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/07/2016 12:14:03

Imagine a party of first-level characters caught out in a storm in a remote area where the only shelter appears to be a hollowed-out tor, once used as a tomb and recently unsealed by an earlier storm that knocked the stone blocking the entrance aside. It's likely they'd go in... but will they come out again?


A short backstory gives the history of the area and the tor itself, and the adventure synopsis explains what takes place during the course of the storm whilst the party is sheltering there. A few hooks are provided to get the party interested, useful if you think trying to stay dry is not sufficient incentive to get them into the tor in the first place. A sidebar introduces the concept of 'storm-peace', a custom that allows beings that would be likely to fight each other to seek shelter from the violent electrical storms that plague this area in the same place without having to watch their backs.


The adventure itself starts with the storm, violent even by the standards of this area. It soon becomes apparent that the only shelter available is within the tor, and then a site-based delve begins. You'll have to map the surrounding area for yourself, but there is a plan for the tor's interior and copious notes on what is to be found there as well as an assortment of events that will take place during the course of the adventure.


It should prove exciting enough for first-level characters, and ought to pose sufficient challenge to make them think about what they are doing and consider their tactics carefully. There's a suggestion for further adventure once the tor has been cleared out, and some nice low-level magic items to find.


Overall, it's a neat little site-based adventure to keep to hand for when a first-level party is travelling around in a suitable part of your campaign world. It provides the sort of exploits that could help some newbies to the adventuring game start making a name for themselves.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
A Dark and Stormy Knight (3.5)
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Tower in the Ice (3.5)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/06/2016 11:52:04

This is a site-based adventure in which the party investigates a tower which protrudes from a frozen lake in some cold and remote corner of your campaign world. There's a short background to let you know who's actually living there now, an adventure synopsis and some hooks to get the party to go visit the tower in the first place.


The adventure itself begins at the tower, so you will have to manage the party's journey to get there - remembering that it's VERY cold round there, with the associated environmental risks - and any investigations or preparations they wish to make in advance of their trip. There are notes on handling extreme cold, and also to accommodate parties who might want to approach the tower underwater, rather than walking out over the ice to the entrance that is visible.


A clear plan of the tower is provided, along with detailed descriptions of rooms and their inhabitants. These not only provide stat blocks and tactical notes but also gives likely reactions to whatever the party might do. Suggested reactions are intelligent and give a good feel of creatures going about their business and responding when the party turns up rather than existing in stasis until they appear - nice aid to creating an alternate reality.


The adventure ends when the tower is cleared out... it's unlikely that anything other than force of arms will do. There are brief notes on possible follow-up adventures, but basically it is merely the suggestion that some other antagonist might take up residence and need to be cleared out. It's a good delve adventure with the added edge of being bitterly cold and wet.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Tower in the Ice (3.5)
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