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20 Things #52: Urban Chase (System Neutral Edition)
by Adam D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/15/2022 18:41:00

Great ideas and information. It definitely helped spur the creativity and creation of a fun chase.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
20 Things #52: Urban Chase (System Neutral Edition)
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20 Things #15: War-Ravaged Land (System Neutral Edition)
by Andrea M. M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/09/2022 13:02:14

Well Thilo G. aka Endzeitgeist hast already said what there is to say. So there is only few I can add but a sort of a life-report. Was a bit stressed last week because real life cut my GM prep time more down than ever. And I had this next stretch my players have to travel trough already fixed in my head, also to show them, that my world isn't all pleasentness. And here comes Raging Swan like the Knigh in Shining Armour to save my pour soul. So once more, when the play started without having noted anything more but only by reading this help I was ready to improvise and to really drag in my players once more.

And this is what it's als about, isn't it?

Cheers!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
20 Things #15: War-Ravaged Land (System Neutral Edition)
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Creator Reply:
Thank you, Andrea! I much appreciate the review and the kind woirds. I'm delighted the book helped you out of a jam!
Retribution 2022 Edition (5e)
by Daniel W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/20/2022 12:34:41

Retribution 2022 Edition (OSR)

I am a DM with 42 years of experience, and always enjoy a product that makes bringing an adventure alive for my gaming group.

Designed for low-level play, the adventure is an exceptional start for parties that leads to a fantastic location that can become a significant place for PCs enjoying long-term campaign play. Your Retribution purchase may be further enhanced with free downloadable maps, artwork, and compiled stat block listings directly from the publisher's website at [https://www.ragingswanpress.com/free/retribution-maps?rq=RETRIBUTION] so don’t miss them! :) Also, each GM map comes in tagged and untagged versions which are wonderful for printing or for importing into your favorite VTT game.

Useful tools abound in this product. Included is a convenient hyperlinked table of contents that moves you exactly where you want to go. There is a solid appendix section covering all the NPCs that you interface with throughout the adventure. Next, is an appendix for creatures and monsters, separated for the GM by the three major divisions of the story, so one does not need to flip back and forth to find stat blocks. Lastly, an appendix of Pre-Generated Characters for a quick play or to replace the fallen. Other tools provided are well-thought-out Adventure Hooks, background, and an optional broader geographical section with settlements of note and a beautifully drawn regional map, tools that fit well alongside any fantasy game world. Retribution provides many tools and loads of descriptive information the GM can utilize to make a highly engaging game.

The adventure is divided into three parts for easy grouping and play. Part one helps the setting come alive with a few well-placed encounters, not based on location but relatively on hours spent traveling, while the PCs push toward their intended destination, the Priory of Cymer. Each encounter is well thought out, enhances the setting, and is filled with details to make them unique and easy to run. Part two is the most free form and creative section of the adventure allowing the PCs to move about, interact with the NPCs, explore, and understand the setting rolling out over a few game days building towards a climatic massive event. It is here that the GM is encouraged to allow the NPCs and environment to play their part, feeling as though the environment itself conspires to hunt them, building tension as a string of events unfold each day which the PCs sew and piece together to learn from. Until the pace swiftly becomes one of reeling survival and rebuffing a serious assault of the Priory itself. With so many flexible possibilities open for the PCs, the designer provides timely, helpful, and brief suggestions, covering the most common and probable broad actions the PCs may take. But in the final section, part three, the players become the hunters, knowing their enemy they take the battle into secret places, as they chase down their quarry, to save their friends, and themselves. The final battle is extremely well crafted and filled with meaningful decisions and plot twists which leaves a wide array of final solutions the PCs can craft through the freedom of their choices.

A solidly crafted adventure touching all the senses, enveloping and engaging, packed with environmental danger, mystery, meaningful social interactions, exploration, and intrigue, deeply personal plot revelations climaxing in swift action and combat. Among the very best of adventures, Retribution slams story crafting squarely back onto the gaming table for new and old players to enjoy like never before. Don’t miss it!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Retribution 2022 Edition (5e)
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Retribution 2022 Edition (OSR)
by Daniel W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/18/2022 18:28:21

I am a DM with 42 years of experience, playing primarily 1e and 2e D&D since 1979, (with only a little playtime in 3.5, Pathfinder, and 5e). Luckily I have enjoyed the same friends at my table for more than 40 years, and we continue to have great fun even today.

Retribution is a fantastic work, built for both beginner DMs and seasoned DMs alike. Set for low 1-2 level of play it has many carefully crafted tools to draw starting PCs into a fantastic adventure to cut their teeth on.

Part 1 allows several opportunities for PCs with a multi-step, escalating need to outrace and yet still experience what it is like to be caught out under a tremendous, looming storm which propels them forward (if they are wise) towards their objective, a small temple, a place of safety. This is a great opportunity for new players to get to know and work together while setting the stage for a cloistered snowed-in feeling which builds tension and great ambiance. For those DMs who prefer not to build setting ambiance or player companionship, setting specific tension or mystery, they may easily start at the door of the adventure proper as always.

Retribution heightens player agency, by enhancing the importance of active participation through the skillful crafting of NPCs, friends, and opponents who are “refreshingly” not in any way static like so many other adventures. The NPCs and opponents are constantly moving and accomplishing goals and objectives of their own, allowing the players to intercede, thwart, defeat, or even suffer the consequences of their own possible inactions in the event that they merely choose to cower and hide. The adventure is living and breathing, with NPCs that have their own objectives which enrich the DMs' ability to make the NPCs multi-dimensional and intriguing even as the adventure progresses.

Descriptions of events not only make the actions of the NPCs active and progressive, while descriptions of the locations in which these events transpire are both colorful and rich, providing players a robust idea of their surroundings and settings allowing for even greater imaginative play as players decide how to best handle each challenge.

This adventure holds a very rare quality found in so few adventures these days, an opportunity for the DM to enter the world along with his players through the play and movements of the NPCs. Each NPC has a rich motivation which allows the DM to enjoy the play by concentrating on the NPC(s) that best suit his style and vision of play along with his players.

Retribution is a fantastic, enjoyable, classic old-school, and richly described adventure tied to an interesting location, interesting NPCs, and an amazing final encounter that challenges the PC’s in several unique ways. One of the best beginning adventures I’ve seen. A solid 5-star adventure for anyone!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Retribution 2022 Edition (OSR)
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Creator Reply:
Thank you for your review, Daniel. I much appreciate the time you took doing it and I'm delighted you enjoyed Retribution so much! (I'm also a bit jealous of the longevity of your group!)
GM's Miscellany: Urban Dressing II (System Neutral Edition)
by Shane F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/18/2022 14:21:00

A nice follow up to the first book. It allows you to adjust your towns so that a port is distinct from a border town, etc. I don't think it is as useful as the original but it does suppliment it nicely.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
GM's Miscellany: Urban Dressing II (System Neutral Edition)
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GM's Miscellany: Urban Dressing (System Neutral Edition)
by Shane F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/18/2022 14:16:47

One of the very best collection of random tables. The results are interesting, avoid being repetitive and well enough written that I find myself reading through the tables for the enjoyment of it. At 178 pages it manages to find the balance between being detailed enough that you have a table that fits the situation, while not so specific that you will only use the table once in an adventure. I keep coming back to this book and enjoying it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
GM's Miscellany: Urban Dressing (System Neutral Edition)
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Creator Reply:
Thank you, Shane! I am delighted you liked our Urban Dressing collection so much! Good luck, with your dressing up!
Village Backdrop: Longbridge (5e)
by Clint B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/15/2022 08:44:14

My adventuring party went through Longbridge on their way to explore Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands (Go check out this adventure if you like old school dungeons and monsters) and they loved it. The politial power struggle intrigued them and they really had a hard time deciding if they should explore the village more or continue on with the mission at hand. They will be coming back to explore this village more. Keep up the great work RSP



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Longbridge (5e)
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Creator Reply:
Thank you, Clint, for the review. I'm delighted your players found the village so interesting!
Dragon and the Thief
by Brian E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/11/2022 19:59:20

Dragon and the Thief is an in-world board game. The game is purely luck based rather than skill based, although players or the referee could come up with ways for characters to cheat. I think the benefit of this time of in-world game is that it provides fodder for the player characters and nonplayer characters to roleplay playing, to gloat or express frustration, to cheer each other. It allows players to portray their characters in a situation with relatively fewer stakes than usual, which is great for character development.

The game's rules are very simple and players will be able to pick it up easily. Its game play is random enough to provide interesting turns of events and fast enough for the characters to play a few rounds quickly. My players said they'd play it again in-game. It allowed a player character to get to know an NPC better.

It does it's job well. I think in my heart of hearts I'd like a game that has more interesting and more skill-based gameplay. Like a real board game! Even one with a very minimal role for skill and a big role for luck as opposed to pure luck. That's why I only gave it 4 stars. I understand why they made the decision to make it purely luck based though. Worth the low price if you like the idea of playing through a tavern game.

The printable game board is attractive. We played online so we didn't use it but you could print it out and use it at the table. That could be fun. You could even color it with crayons or colored pencils.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dragon and the Thief
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Night of the Masks (5e)
by Brian E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/11/2022 19:46:00

I ran this at a convention and had a blast with the players. Night of the Masks turns a masquerade ball into a playground or sandbox (in the sense that a sandbox is a limited space for open-ended play) for the players. I told them up front that they can choose their own goal at the ball. Many modules I have run or played struggle with having social situations where players have a great deal of agency but this one succeeds in that regard with flying colors. The players can interact with what they want and ignore what they want. Consequences for their actions are logical.

Slight spoilers for players below:

The map is great and suggests many ways the players can interact with it. Do they want to climb the walls to spy on the meeting? Engage in intrigue and mischief in the hedge maze? Plant something incriminating on a noble? Have a whirlwind fling with a noble? Play matchmaker? My players did all of the above. It may help if the group is OK splitting up in groups of 1s and 2s and taking turns among themselves since many of the things they might want to do are more manageable if a small number of characters pursue them.

Before you run it, make sure to understand how all the characters relate to one another. I mapped it out ahead of time a bit. Lean into the Venetian mask idea. If you are ambitious you could even make masks based on the ones listed in the module, each with a different meaning, and hand them out.

I hope run it again as part of a campaign instead of a one-shot. It made a great one shot but I think it could be adapted for a scene of ballroom intrigue in a longer term campaign. The meeting happening between some of the nobles during the masquerade could be adapted for a campaign plot.

Night of the Masks could be used with any edition of D&D and most other rulesets and it can be adapted for many settings, even nonmedieval ones with a small amount of work. This scenario takes place over a single night in game and should easily fit in one session but you could expand it to two if you desired to spend more time on certain parts of the night.

Great work by Bart Wynants and the team at Raging Swan Press. Well worth the price.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Night of the Masks (5e)
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Retribution 2022 Edition (OSR)
by John G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/10/2022 07:06:52

Having played Dungeons and Dragons since the start of the 1980s I find it increasingly rare to find adventures which stand out and offer something different.

Retribution has definitely achieved that for me. It has a distinctly old-school feel which I have come to expect from Raging Swan Press, with the usual eye for detail which provides verisimilitude for the players.

Within this adventure you have three distinct parts. It starts with a wilderness adventure in which the players battle the elements to arrive at their destination. The desperate struggle for survival is well executed and a fine example of how to make a simple journey into a challenge. There follows an interesting mystery within which a sense of foreboding and tension is building, with some well executed events driving the pace. The NPCs are well developed and realistic personalities which provide roleplaying opportunities, whilst bringing the scenario to life and lending an air of tragedy to the story. Finally, the climactic end to the module provides a traditional dungeon crawl to defeat the unmasked villain before they carry out their evil deed. This is well crafted and contains plenty of scope for expansion.

Throughout the adventure the atmosphere has been tightly crafted to create a vivid setting which I appreciate as a dungeon master. It is an adventure that is very easy to engage players with and leave them with memories of a game which I have no doubt they will never forget.

I can’t recommend this adventure highly enough, no matter what system you are using. This is a superbly crafted adventure which deserves to stand out from the crowd. A definite 5 star rating!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Retribution 2022 Edition (OSR)
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Retribution 2022 Edition (5e)
by John G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/10/2022 07:03:52

Having played Dungeons and Dragons since the start of the 1980s I find it increasingly rare to find adventures which stand out and offer something different.

Retribution has definitely achieved that for me. It has a distinctly old-school feel which I have come to expect from Raging Swan Press, with the usual eye for detail which provides verisimilitude for the players.

Within this adventure you have three distinct parts. It starts with a wilderness adventure in which the players battle the elements to arrive at their destination. The desperate struggle for survival is well executed and a fine example of how to make a simple journey into a challenge. There follows an interesting mystery within which a sense of foreboding and tension is building, with some well executed events driving the pace. The NPCs are well developed and realistic personalities which provide roleplaying opportunities, whilst bringing the scenario to life and lending an air of tragedy to the story. Finally, the climactic end to the module provides a traditional dungeon crawl to defeat the unmasked villain before they carry out their evil deed. This is well crafted and contains plenty of scope for expansion.

Throughout the adventure the atmosphere has been tightly crafted to create a vivid setting which I appreciate as a dungeon master. It is an adventure that is very easy to engage players with and leave them with memories of a game which I have no doubt they will never forget.

I can’t recommend this adventure highly enough, no matter what system you are using. This is a superbly crafted adventure which deserves to stand out from the crowd. A definite 5 star rating!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Retribution 2022 Edition (5e)
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Retribution 2022 Edition (P1)
by John G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/10/2022 07:02:47

Having played Dungeons and Dragons since the start of the 1980s I find it increasingly rare to find adventures which stand out and offer something different.

Retribution has definitely achieved that for me. It has a distinctly old-school feel which I have come to expect from Raging Swan Press, with the usual eye for detail which provides verisimilitude for the players.

Within this adventure you have three distinct parts. It starts with a wilderness adventure in which the players battle the elements to arrive at their destination. The desperate struggle for survival is well executed and a fine example of how to make a simple journey into a challenge. There follows an interesting mystery within which a sense of foreboding and tension is building, with some well executed events driving the pace. The NPCs are well developed and realistic personalities which provide roleplaying opportunities, whilst bringing the scenario to life and lending an air of tragedy to the story. Finally, the climactic end to the module provides a traditional dungeon crawl to defeat the unmasked villain before they carry out their evil deed. This is well crafted and contains plenty of scope for expansion.

Throughout the adventure the atmosphere has been tightly crafted to create a vivid setting which I appreciate as a dungeon master. It is an adventure that is very easy to engage players with and leave them with memories of a game which I have no doubt they will never forget.

I can’t recommend this adventure highly enough, no matter what system you are using. This is a superbly crafted adventure which deserves to stand out from the crowd. A definite 5 star rating!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Retribution 2022 Edition (P1)
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Retribution 2022 Edition (5e)
by Lawrence H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/03/2022 22:47:23

My review of Retribution 2022 Edition (5e) is based on an advance copy of the adventure that I received from the publisher in return for an honest review. I’m a 5th Edition DM with 5 years of experience, and I’m a patron of the Raging Swan Press Patreon. My comments are based on a reading of the review; I have not run or played this adventure.

The default setting for the adventure is the Lonely Coast, a Raging Swan creation, but the material is designed to be dropped into other campaigns with ease. As a result, this review is based on the components of the adventure itself and not the Lonely Coast info that’s also included in these 80 pages.

Finally, this review contains SPOILERS for the adventure. DMs only beyond this point, please.

There are things I like in this adventure.

  • ROLLABLE TABLES MAKE ADDING RANDOM EVENTS AND ENGAGING DESCRIPTIONS EASIER: Some examples are tables for weather, minor storm events, signs of building neglect, and cavern dressing.

  • ADVENTURE CONCEPT IS INTRIGUING: Figuring out the mystery of a disgruntled, ex-student seeking revenge on a former teacher is relatable – we’ve all had bad teachers – and should help players engage.

  • THE DUNGEON CRAWL FINALE HAS SOME INTERESTING ASPECTS: Namely, I enjoyed the terrain features in its rooms and some of the meaningful choices the PCs can make before the boss fight climax.

That said, I do have several significant concerns about the structure of the adventure that I think compromise how pleasing DMs will find it to run and players to play:

  • PART 1 IS ON RAILROAD TRACKS: The PCs are meant to travel to an isolated priory – one road in and out – in a snowstorm all while fighting goblins, wolves, and – should they roll poorly – exhaustion! That’s a lot for squishy PCs, and I’d be tempted to turn around and not bother with this adventure if I were one.

If, as the module states on page 16, “Eventually, they end up at Cymer, “why not just start them there? The DM could use the carrot of character motivation and urge the players to create PCs with a close connection to the priory, so they are drawn to the location. Then, perhaps begin with an opening scene that has the PCs arriving at the locked gates of the priory. A 13th Age-esque “travel montage” - where the PCs recount obstacles they encountered on their journey and how they dealt with them - would fit nicely here. It’s a great way to try out roleplaying if the players are newbies. New and old players alike will benefit from the chance to hear about the members of the party and learn a bit about how they think and act when solving problems.

This might pose an XP problem, but you could find another way to get the PCs some experience. Perhaps, a Sly Flourish “strong start” might do the trick. In fact, you could run an adapted version of the goblin or the wolf encounter from Part 1 here. The PCs are attacked just as they reach the priory gates. Do they stand and fight? Do they bang on the door to get in? Do they get let in if – through the peephole – the gatekeeper sees the monsters? Do the PCs try to scale the walls? This could be an interesting encounter that could start the adventure with a bang and meet the goal of getting the PCs at their required starting location with enough experience to level up.

  • CLUES ARE OFTEN HIDDEN BEHIND CHECKS WITH CHALLENGING DCS FOR LOW-LEVEL PCs: Once the PCs get the sense that all’s not right at the priory, they might be inclined to do some thinking about how the events all fit together and who – or what – might be responsible. They’d better have their lucky dice on hand, mind you, because many of the clues they try to gather while investigating are hidden behind checks. DC 15 or higher is typical and that can be a big ask for a low-level PC. Nothing stalls out an investigation like failing checks. In fact, Robin Laws created the Gumshoe system to deal with just this kind of problem; if the PCs need a clue, they can find it. This isn’t a perfect system – sprinkling around more clues to increase the likelihood that the PCs find at least a few of them, even if they are hidden behind checks, might work better (see The Alexandrian’s “Three-Clue Rule” essay for details on how this might work at the table). I’m envisioning a player whose character was pushed along to the priory in a snowstorm, rolls low with their cold dice, and comes up with no or few clues. Ugh.

  • FEW CLUES POINT TO THE CULPRIT: Even the most astute players will find it very challenging to piece together the clues they do manage to find in a way that points to the evildoer in the priory until the very end of the investigative stage of the adventure when – with a honking klaxon – some key clues emerge. The most obvious clues occur in Encounter 12 – the bad guy’s chamber is untouched while others are trashed – and in Encounter 15 - an NPC fingers the wrongdoer – but only if he’s alive…and the clock is ticking on the off-screen events that could lead to his demise. That’s a lot of pre-amble encounters to wade through to collect crumbs that don’t give you much direction. Might PCs – and players!? - get frustrated by the process and lose interest?

  • BOXED TEXT IS OFTEN PLOT-LIKE: The descriptive text included when a new location is introduced – often referred to as boxed text (actually, italicized text in this adventure) - regularly states not only what’s in a location but also what the NPCs at that location are doing or have done. Here’s an example from Encounter 15: “A scrawny goblin stands…blood dripping from his dagger.” Really? What if the PCs had taken him out already? Or threatened him so he was too frightened to participate in the described event? Sure, a DM could remove that prescribed narrative section of the text, but it points to a larger problem with the module. It seems as though the PCs aren’t really meant to be active participants in the adventure and to interact with the world in a meaningful way. Doing so might change the plot that is crafted here and make some of the boxed text - like that quoted above - inaccurate.

It seems to me that it would be preferable to sketch the location in the boxed text and then allow for NPCs to inhabit the described space in a way that the DM deems most appropriate or interesting. For example, the scrawny goblin with the dagger noted above might be sharpening it in preparation for implementing his plan. Maybe he’s napping because he’s sleeping off a hangover and the dagger is sheathed at his side. Leave it to the DM to choose behaviours for the NPC that makes sense with the context of the adventure as it is playing out in real time. One of the tenets of Dungeon World – and I think it’s also sage advice for D&D - is to “play to find out what happens.” Too often in this adventure, the DM tells the PCs what’s happening. As a result, there’s less playing – fewer interesting choices and tough decisions to make – and more listening to what amounts to a script reading.

Should the PCs decide to make choices that don’t fit the prescribed plotting, there are 6 “Troubleshooting” sections with advice for the DM on how to get the adventure back on track. In one such section advice is given on what to do if PC actions threatens to “derail” the adventure. Removing player agency can be frustrating for both players and the DM. The former won’t likely feel as though they’re part of a collaborative happening at the table and the latter may think they need to prod the PCs along in ways that will allow the plot – the sequence of prescribed events - to progress as planned.

Another way to structure this might be to use a node-based design structure described by Justin Alexander on his blog, The Alexandrian. He writes about how to reorganize plotted content using his Three Clue Rule and nodes – to prep situations and not plots – that allow PCs to reach the conclusion the adventure designer wants them to while, at the same time, giving the PCs the freedom to explore the situation based on their own interests and abilities.

Overall, I found that the engaging aspects of the adventure – the evocative description of locations and NPCs, the intriguing concept, and a strong final fight – can’t make up for the shortcomings in the structure – the lack of PC agency and opportunities to make meaningful decisions, the paucity of interesting and consequential clues, and the preference for presenting scripted plots to proposing interactive situations. Your mileage may vary, of course, but I wouldn’t be comfortable running this adventure as is. That said, a DM will personalize ANY purchased material to suit their preferences and the PCs they’re running for. With Retribution 2022 Edition (5e) you’ll need to ask yourself if putting the hours in to make the major structural changes I think the module needs is worth the effort.

It’s a 2/5 for me.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Retribution 2022 Edition (5e)
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Creator Reply:
Thank you for the comprehensive review, Lawerence. While I'm sad Retribution didn't work for you I am grateful for the time and effort you spent on the review. You've certainly given me some thoughts for upcoming adventures. Thanks again!
Retribution 2022 Edition (5e)
by Walt W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/28/2022 10:26:41

Retribution is a really solid adventure for first-level characters, and is a lot “meatier” than the experience you’d usually find at low levels. All three pillars are generously covered, and the combat encounters in particular are all interesting, with a good variety of terrain and environmental effects to keep them challenging and exciting. NPCs are three-dimensional, and have real motivations - there’s never a question about what a character should be thinking or feeling in a given situation.

The adventure is well-organized, with detailed summaries of the story flow both for the adventure as a whole, and for the three individual parts. An overview of all monsters and their CRs is provided at the beginning, with statblocks sorted by encounter in the appendices, which I appreciated - everything you need for a given encounter is grouped together across 1-2 pages. Retribution shouldn’t take much additional prep to run, but you’ll absolutely want to read the entire adventure at least once before bringing it to the table, and specifically be very familiar with the primary location (the Priory of Cymer) and the NPCs within. Maps of the priory and the caves beneath are provided in the adventure, and you can download both player and DM versions for free from Raging Swan’s website, which is great.

What this isn’t, is a single-session one-shot - I’d expect each of the three parts of the adventure to take at least 1-2 sessions, so you’re probably looking at 3-6 sessions of play, depending on your group. This isn’t a bad thing, just be aware of what you’re signing up for. Several hooks are also provided for further adventures, should you wish to use this as the start of a longer campaign. It can also be very challenging, especially for a party that doesn’t have ready access to healing - unless you want to run this as a “killer” module, I definitely recommend allowing your party to level up to 2 once they reach the priory and take a long rest at the beginning of Part Two. If you’re using XP, they technically won’t have earned enough to level by that point, but they’ll need the boost by the time things ramp up at the end of Part Two and send them straight into the events of Part Three without much opportunity for rest. Either way, characters should level to 3 at the end of the adventure.

There are a couple of very minor things I would change or add - for example, I think the first encounter would have benefitted from a small battlemap showing the intended layout. There’s plenty of description provided for you to make your own if needed, but there are several environmental and terrain effects going on in that encounter, and a visual aid would have been helpful. There are also a couple of places where specific pieces of loot (like healing potions) are listed in a creature’s statblock, but not in the “treasure” section of the encounter - this is consistent with some other published adventures, so I can’t really complain, but I personally prefer to have all potential treasure listed in one place.

Overall, Retribution is a great adventure to kick off a new campaign, whether you’re looking to play in Raging Swan’s Lonely Coast or drop it into your own world - there’s plenty of intrigue and opportunity for character interaction, the combat encounters are complex and interesting (but easy to run), and the story has real weight to it. For the price, it offers a fantastic value. Highly recommended.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Thanks very much for the review, Walt. I much appreciate the time and effort. I'm delighted you enjoyed Retribution so much!
GM's Miscellany: Village Backdrops III
by Garth H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/19/2022 17:25:03

this collection includes my favorite village backdrop of all time, and i have collected five volumes worth so far. the village of Idyll is a fascinating set piece that was the introduction to a 5+ year campaign that i've been running. if you want to start a Planescape campaign this is a great place to start. it's true we didn't end up using the primary "inevitable" creatures in this, but the concept of a sort of village that is a front for a planar-wide "witness protection program" was full of intrigue and made my players delightfully paranoid as they met various townspeople and tried to figure out what was going on. i added a gate to a homebrewed multiplanar city, but you could just as easily drop in a portal to the classic city of Sigil or some other location of your chosing. the villagers won't follow you -- after all, whatever past they left behind on the other side of the portal is probably still after them.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
GM's Miscellany: Village Backdrops III
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