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Rescue of the Blackthorn Clan: A Couple's Adventure Module: OGL 5th Edition
by Adria K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/28/2021 07:41:54

Checking the other review, there's a few things I agree with and a few I don't. Bought this for me and the wife to play for Valentine's and due to scheduling, we're just finishing it now (although we haven't quite dug through the journal at the end but that's neither here nor there.) For me, it was worth the price of admission, although I will admit to having the same printing issue as the commenter over in discussions. Thankfully, I had a friend who could help me out, since despite not needing the maps, having the character sheets and being able to spread out NPC info during combat was very helpful. I understand the publisher's reason for protecting their work, but you kinda need to print the thing out to make the most of it.

I enjoyed the gimmick of the attraction points and thankfully, our characters were pretty compatable. The turn-ons/turn-offs can make for interesting RP if you're running the adventure as intended but I kind of think the breakdown at the end is a little...harsh isn't quite the right word but to get more than just "meaningful fling" you've got to have some pretty good rolls or invest in more turn-ons. Maybe it was the way we were playing but I don't think there was a chance of us getting "love of the ages" the way things played out for us. That, and it is something of a crap shoot. It's entirely possible a turn-on would be picked that might not ever come up, especially since some of them have to be done 'within sight'. If Tarric pulls off a boss dex based move, it doesn't matter if Wynn's still locked up in the other room. That said, it kind of saved some turn-offs from needing to be rolled because he was blissfully unaware they were going on. Again, great gimmick. I think it just needs a little fine tuning.

The adventure itself is pretty straightforward and fun. Combat doesn't get too overwhelming and it does present you with several solutions to your problems other than "kill everything." That said, though, it brings me to another critique. While no developer can account for everything a player might do, some solutions just aren't addressed. Not that I mind a little creative freedom but I feel such 'plot holes' might leave newer DMs floundering a bit. Found it a little toward the ending where there are a couple detailed write-ups on "bad ending" situations but there's only a small block about a successful one that doesn't offer much resolution. We kind of found ourselves at something of a "what do we do" moment before just sort of winging things. The other review mentioned an "epilogue" and I think future adventures like this could definitely benefit from something that wraps things up and addresses what might be loose ends (like what happens if noted NPCs lived or died during the adventure, for example.)

What might be my true complaint about the adventure is that scenarios 2-4 follow one another almost immediately and while good for pacing, it can make things very challenging. They make sure there's a long rest between 1 and 2 but given what happens during 2 and 3 there's no logical time for one and though a note is made that it's an option between 3 and 4, as my wife, playing the sorceror, stated, "That's my family on the line. I'm not going to take an 8 hour rest!" Not to mention the entirety of scenario 4 doesn't make sense if you were to do so. The timed event would happen while the characters would be resting, thus making the entire final scenario utterly moot.

Overall, we had a good time with it and I'm planning on saving it for a backup adventure for a couple of other friends. With a little tweaking, it could also make a decent one shot for a small adventuring party without throwing off the game's balance all that much. Pending on your playstyle, you might want to make adjustments to the as intended adventure to fit, but again, as an introductory module or just a casual game night between a pair of gamers, I think it's a banner of a time.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Rescue of the Blackthorn Clan: A Couple's Adventure Module: OGL 5th Edition
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Rescue of the Blackthorn Clan: A Couple's Adventure Module: OGL 5th Edition
by Krzysztof W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/24/2021 01:53:52

Overall a very good adventure so far. (I am about halfway through it with my wife and will continue playing in a week or two). The adventure is written primarily for an opposite-gender romantic couple where each partner alternates taking turns being the DM in each chapter. That being said the game is built in such a way (and they mention this throughout the book) that the characters can be any gender, played by friends, and a single player can dm the adventure if you so choose. Technically speaking a third person could be a DM and oversee the two players as another option.

The couple (or two players or whatever) play two pre-generated characters: a ranger and a sorcerer. Action in the adventure stars right away where the ranger is rescuing the sorcerer. The rest of the adventure plays out as a bit of mystery where the players are figuring out who was behind the kidnapping, etc.

The game introduces a fairly easy to use 'Attraction point' mechanic where basically each player's action can make the other player feel more or less attracted to them (like there's specific rules and everything with a healthy amount of player agency in how they are implemented, etc). This attraction system, while a major part of the romantic theme of the adventure, is optional and can be played without it. For our adventure we secretly rolled randomly to determin what our characters are attracted to and not attracted too and its been fun trying to have our characters discovering that between themselves. Who knew that my ranger randomly enjoyed being resued (a running joke between my wife and I is "Everyone asks me to save them, but no one asks if I want to be saved sometimes")

The adventure itself is designed in 4 chapters which each can be complete in about 2-3 hours and thus the entire adventure would take 8-12 hours to complete. The adventure is not too difficult and not too difficult to DM either. This was actually my wife's first chance dm-ing and she enjoyed it. Anyone who has ever run an adventure with less than 4 players knows that party balance is hard to achieve and the way this adventure does it is by making combat slightly easier at the start and by occasionally including some NPC's that would help players out.

I also appreciate the print outs they do for the back of the book and assembling the maps themselves is fairly easy and there's enough overlap that you can easily tape it together so it looks amazing.

While I am loving the adventure and loving spending time with my wife running the adventure together there are a few critiques I have

1) The use of pre-generated characters: While I understand that in an adventure with very few players, the remaining players MUST each fit in a specific mold (you see this in 3rd party one player adventures and so on) it would be nice to allow some level of player agency in character creation. My wife being the sorcerer, for example, would have preferred to use a different cantrip, or my character being a ranger would have enjoyed the option of playing a different build.

Perhaps having two or three different character sheets of the players/animal companions that the characters can choose from? or perhaps allowing characters to pick spells or remake their entire character stats but strongly encouraging specific spells, player options, stats, etc.

2) Print out lines aren't thick enough: The use of print out maps was amazing and easy. That being said, the individual lines for the squares the players can move around in seem to sometimes be very thin and difficult to see. This could be a problem with my printer though.

3) I wouldn't mind more optional suggestions or rules if the players are a romantic couple. Its clear that part of the intention of the authors is to help spark romance between players. I understand that obviously they have to balance this with players that may not wish to be romantically involved or with players that are more or less romantic than others. It would be nice in the appendix (or in a separate file, perhaps even a separate purchase) to add these expanded optional rules, perhaps labelled with a consesual 'movie rating system' they mention earlier in the adventure

Despite these three critiques I am very much enjoying the adventure and look forward to finishing it. The PDF is not too expensive for a neat date night with my wife (or....you know, non romantic friends or whatever) and pretty well made. I definitely think there should be more adventures like this and am enjoying every minute of it.

EDIT: Just finished it. I liked it. The lore they mentioned at the end was neat. Could use a more 'final' sorta feeling conclusion, or a 'epilogue' but it's really good



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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