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DDAL04-12 The Raven (5e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Marcello V. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/21/2020 13:21:42

This adventure seems a bit different in terms of the plot premise. Doesn't have the intruigue that most of the other mods do. I didn't mind it though. I like that we potentially see Esselios (one of my favorite NPCs of this season BTW), I made some slight adjustment to the narrative. I just conveyed that the Bloodhand Orcs were brought across the mists and are looking for a way home and the prisoners may know, but were taken by the shaman Gagg.

Not much to this one as far as running it. I liked the winter wolf encounter more than the final one. It had enough to please my players, their monks were spot on with the stunning strikes and fury of blows. I did enjoy the rescuing of Terrorsong and Sybil. We used their rescue to get some RP out of the end of the adventure.

This isn't the best adventure out of this seasons offerings, but my players enjoyed it and it was written clearly.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL04-12 The Raven (5e)
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WYC 2-1 The Light of Heresy
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Marcello V. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/20/2020 21:42:57

I thought I would share some thoughts as I prep this module for running over the holidays. I really like the nods to the classic kung-fu films of old.. I did not miss the Bruce Lee Enter-the-Dragon narratives or the subtle play on the Shaw Brother NPCS. If you have this in the back of your mind as you are running this adventure, it may make it easier to present.

There were a few formatting snafus that can be overcome.. ignore the references to ACP and TCP, Episodes (meta 2 seasons old) flowchart doesn't help. In Part One an NPC is mentioned as being able to describe iconography of cultists .. specifically tattoos, but there in no mention of what the tattoos/iconography looks like. You will have to make something up there because if you bring it up, the players will most likely want to know what the iconography is. The lack of bard, cleric or druid among your players may hinder the use of the magic item that is given at the beginning of the adventure. Part Two has a pretty neat puzzle in it. I was little confused that the librarian does not know about the book you are looking for, but then in the Social Pillar of Play in Part Two it advises that a Cha (Persuasion) check can convince the librarian to show you where the book is at?

No narrative flow cues within the Parts 1-3 that guide you to the Bonus Objectives, but the Bonus Objectives explain how you arrive to them within their narratives. In the same context, the Bonus Objectives don't contain narrative flow cues to guide you back to the main adventure. Be aware of that if you intend to use them.

Part Three looks like a fun press through a temple. It reminded me of Han's Temple in Enter the Dragon, complete with hall of mirrors! The Playing the Pillars of this part is not as robust as one would hope. The difference between Radiant Dawn Cultist Monk and Radiant Dawn Monk Master does not appear to be captured anywhere. Consider using the Radiant Dawn Adept (Martial Arts Adept) that is in the Appendices if you need to increase challenges in this part for higher APL parties. The Jiangshi are a nice flavorful touch too.

Although I am not too keen on this adventure for its formatting oversights, it certainly looks like the module's premise is a good one and I look forward to running it for my players here during the holidays. Good Gaming!



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
WYC 2-1 The Light of Heresy
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DDAL09-20 Where Devils Fear to Tread
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Marcello V. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/17/2020 18:29:13

I ran this adventure with five players and Dara of Illmater NPC'd. We skipped 09-19, but since I did have it, I added the plot points from 09-19 into the intro for this adventure to quick spin up the party. The players really enjoyed going into Yeenoghu's realm. They ran into the rocs, the slaves and the ghoul and Night Walker encounter before Capturing the Commander. We made it three waves, before I could see and hear the slogitis in players. Knowing we had another part left to get to, I brought the battle to a close at three waves. The temptation of a yummy demon heart got one player, who was stopped by the party paladin. They return back to Avernus with Commander De La Rue. The battle council can get long, but if you just summarized what everyone does you can move on to the war effort. I appreciated that players can just leave here ... I can see players going "We got De La Rue, we already set Elturel free, Devils and Demons be d@#$%" and go home. I apprecate that the designers allows for this. They decided to take on the devils ... the rocs, wizards and towers made things tough! One target of magic missles from all the wizards? ...certainly a possibility. Challenging encounters. IMO this adventure brought the end of the season 9 to a great close. DMs- if your goal is to get this adventure done in four hours, please let me know how you did it. I have not known anyone to pull it off without leaving something on the floor. But I'd rather have more than less. Players enjoyed it. Well done.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL09-20 Where Devils Fear to Tread
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CCC-CONMAR01-01 Helping Hands
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Marcello V. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/11/2020 20:53:21

This was one of two adventures that I have prepped for my players over the next few weeks. The story behind the adventure is an enjoyable one. From the introduction of the Gray Orcs through the adventure I was captivated by the content. I like that the designer recommends the length of rests allowed. One less thing for a DM to have to consider. I found that each of the Pillars of Play sidebars were substantially filled-there's more than enough there to engage players actions.

Thank you for not handing out the magic items rewards before the Objectives are achieved. Part Ones scenes are fleshed out well. Did not bring up any immediate questions/concerns. I beleive that Part Two could do with a Playing the Pillars sidebar. It would be nice if similarly fleshed out pillars were given for this part as well.

But make no mistake. It is refereshing to read an adventure that seems to hit all the marks. I actually smiled after reading this module. It just felt like a good tale. Good story, no eye-raising meta; great NPCs. I haven't seen gray orcs in anything 5e; but this adventure presents them and has me hoping that this orc tribe reappears in future efforts by the designer. Well done!

DMs, your Tier One players deserve this adventure. Add it to your collection!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
CCC-CONMAR01-01 Helping Hands
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Creator Reply:
Marcello, Thank you for your honest review! I'd like to rate you as a reviewer at 5 stars, as your constructivism is the very best way to make me and us better writers! Your suggestions are already added to the update plan and will make it into the first upcoming update along with VTT maps. The Grayling _are_ indeed set to reappear. Their entire story has been far from told yet :) Thank you. //Casper K-H
CCC-PFF-03-01 Hints at Imbalance: Rumors of Moloch
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Marcello V. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/09/2020 23:16:21

I saw the image and my mind immediatley flashed back to my AD&D Players Handbook and the Idol of Moloch. While prepping this adventure, I thought I would take the time to share with you my thoughts. The Background is fairly straight (no spoilers). The Adventure Hooks shoudl be easy to employ. No Call to Action? Odd. You might consider lowering the DC 20 Checks that are prevalent throughout the adventure. Consider taking a fine eye to Pillars of Play sidebars that have pertinent information, but it seems misplaced (in different pillars. Tactics are in Exploration Pillar, Social aspects are in Combat Pillar, etc). Its not well explained why a DC 20 Perception Check is required to notice two gargantuan rocs swirling about the area you are travelling through. This check also reveals "the max amount of gold for their level in the adventure", but then at the end offers more gold. An oversight easily remedied by adhering to AL guidance on award of gold.

A spell and trap-laden temple will challenge players-make sure you are aware of the spell references in Part Two. Sidebars presented are helpful to understanding how the spells can be employed in different ways. Be aware of their effects on player characters and spawn, familiars, beast companions, etc. The temple offers plenty of challenge in the form of an unique (deadly), spell-trap-environmental combos. I said this TWICE because I think that this is the adventure's best feature! Please make sure you have the stat block for an Azer handy. The Bonus Objectives are not necesary to the plot; however, I don't know too many T3 players that aren't going to want to challenge the "partiers" or the "platform patrolers" that these designers present. Make sure to adjust timing to include these challenging encounters!

There is a check that reveals info that comes from MToF's. Be prepared to provide it or find out that info PRIOR to your game. The BBEG and minions do have names in the Dramatis Personae. I'm used to seeing this first thing in the Background. No Wrap Up. The adventure offers no closure for DMs running this as one-shot. It mentions an Epilogue ..but no Epilogue. Read this one thoroughly. My three-star rating is mostly due to scattered organization of the adventure; however, the content provided does have the makings of a challenging adventure. I know my players will enjoy it. I wish the designers continued success in their future efforts!



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
CCC-PFF-03-01 Hints at Imbalance: Rumors of Moloch
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DDAL09-16 Honors Unforseen
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Marcello V. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/15/2020 17:24:47
I thought this adventure was enjoyable, the hit and run of the Shareash the Bloody Hooves and the Maze of Enchantments really challenged the players to the point that they did not want to move. They kept failing the checks- I adjusted to only allow one instance of each Glyph as they moved to the door or else it would have been been TPK. It was more than enough. the players were in the Maze too long so I went from the Northern Hallway straight into the 'It's All a Mirage" but added non-effecting elven music in the background the entire time to get them the feel of what was to come. I has Dara "use the force" to tell them that there were nearing as well. Part 2. The battle with Yalanue was demoralizing.. definitely a challenge by herself; however, when flameskulls and a death knight come waltzing into the fray this encounter turns super deadly really quick. Would like to have seen a way to mitigate Yalanue's madness. DMs should remember that Dara is there and you can use her as a *deus ex machina * by having her rush to Priest Atheraice's sarcophagi. I used Dara as an Exploration Pillar of sorts .."There's the sarcophagi!" "You two distract Yalanue, one of you come with me!" "Get that bracelet off of her hand ..its power will destroy us if not taken!". The module definitely lets you know The Bloody Hooves are definitely well-protected and Yalanue is definitely the one to protect them. I like that I was able to remove some of the adventure for timing and still get the main parts complete. I did feel like it was a big slog all the way to Yalanue, to slog on some more. If broken up into two sessions, I think as a DM I would have found more enjoyment out of it. Our sessions ended with the players telling me how many HP they had left, and with me letting them know that I held back on three F0D spells. The module challenged them enough without having to cast the F0Ds IMHO. My player hate Shareash the Bloody Hooks! What are the wards of preserverence? They are never described and as I later learned do not appear in any modules in this series. The Ward of Faithfulness and the wards of suffering are described but not these wards. Was it a typo? The players aked and I told them that they were a bunch of necklace chains with holy symbols of Ilmater, Tyr and Torm. Dara rocks them like Flava Flav! LOL! Anyway, tough mod; one I will remmber as a hallmark of the series. Good Gaming!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL09-16 Honors Unforseen
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CCC-YLRA01-03 Bound By Duty
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Marcello V. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/01/2020 23:45:57

"Bound by Duty" has alot of enjoyable material in it; a rich story- and one that is refreshingly different. There were alot of different encounters designed in the adventure. Time constraints will end up doing the adventure and the players a disservice by having to glean over encounters that would allow for RP-heavy players. There is plenty of combat options to provide. My players were a little disappointed that the ghost ship did not offer much in the way of exploration. It can be played a few times over and with different endings. I would certainly run this again! I did see that the editing team was also associated with 'Down the River of Snakes' so I do not find it surprising that it would give you similar replayability and enjoyability. Another great work by Jay Africa. A must buy!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
CCC-YLRA01-03 Bound By Duty
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CCC-CIC-16 Open Ambitions
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Marcello V. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/11/2020 22:53:59

I had the opportunity to run this adventure tonight. Had two drop out on me and only had three players. Even with the adjustment down to Very Weak my players had a great time! They actaully partleyed with the IronClaw Orcs and traded 'metal'. They ended up not needing what they recieved in return (wont spoil). They actually made the Percpetion Check to get into Fangjaws Hold through the "other" way. Betwen the Legendary Action and the Lair Action of Tor'Vlexis at Very Weak, I tuned down the eye beams to one per turn, because I sensed that the players were still overmatched. They were challenged. An Inspiration used by the last standing player (one was turned to stone, the other placed asleep) resisted the Charm Ray and this player in turn was able to deliver the defeating blow to the main antagonist! Great dungeon crawl with a great swath of orcs and the lightning storm was a suitable environmental threat (I'm a fan of storms). This one is worth the purchase. Add it to your collection!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
CCC-CIC-16 Open Ambitions
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DDAL09-15 Maddening Screams
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Marcello V. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/06/2020 16:48:05

I ike the premise behind this series. Since I started this trilogy for my players right after they returned from the hells with Elturel (They did not redeem Zariel), I had them meet Dara and company there in Elturel.. and then Dara explained to them her quest and its importance. I allowed them to use their renown item to "rent" a war machine to transport them to The Canyon. This is where it gets confusing.. It takes the party six hours to get through the tunnels (Dara had the wards of suffering). But how long does it take them to find the tunnels? Many of the dangers in the canyon (but outside of the tunnel) result in saves every hour. I just had them make a group Survival checks every hour to see if they find a tunnel, and if they fail, then they make the howling wind and falling rocks checks. I also had them make a group Stealth checks every hour to avoid being seen by the creatures hunting them. Those Howling Winds can concern a party pretty quick. I bypassed the first set of tunnels (wards of suffering) .. the mechanics for them were troublesome, especially the significance of the clues. This whole part will need a hard look by DMs to figure out how to make the randomness work.. consider not using the tunnel clues; maybe after X amount of tunnels have them arrive at the glyph and move on to Scene C. There I rolled high on the tunnels. They navigated them and dealt with the glyphs had us run short on time. I had to end with a quick narrative, ignoring the wave attacks. The players still found it enjoyable. They were a bit surprised when the advenure ended with a cliffhanger. I feel like there should be an alternate Wrap-Up for those not adventuring in the other modules. My rating is based on the confusing tunnel mechanics in Part One, Scene B. and the area information in Part One that seems very important to the environment, but is not completley captured here. It felt incomplete. Other than that, the players has a good time. Run it all as a series if you can!



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL09-15 Maddening Screams
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CCC-UK-4 Bourne of Candles
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Marcello V. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/06/2020 16:16:43

I finally had a chance to run this!

I let me players give me the adventure hooks, I only asked that they consider that they came to find each other company and that they were collectively to deliver this missive from the Lords Alliance to The Bourne of Candles. Their interaction with Madge Figgy was entertaining (even for me), and they took to the adventure quickly. One of my players commented that, "It was one of the Top Ten adventures that I played in". My players fell into that, "We rescued her, the Bourne is sure to see us now"-thinking that the adventure was over.. but then ...? Anyway, this adventure told a great story and presents it in a way that DMs can immerse the players with little effort. Well done. If you are on the fence about picking it up... get off the fence! A must in any DMs Tier One catalog!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
CCC-UK-4 Bourne of Candles
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CCC-UBCON2020-02-Realm of the Brand
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Marcello V. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/15/2020 22:20:09

I found many things in this adventure challenging to present without more brevity and clarity. The background premise is interesting. But before the Call to Action (CTA), there are no adventure hooks provided, players start on a sinking ship. DMs are advised to feign checks-fabricate checks for players to give them the fasaud of hope-the checks simply to eat time? You can gain up to 3 lvls of exhaustion before the CTA ends! Best to have the adventure start on the ship with the captain and crew to avoid mutiny at your table.

The adventure captures a sea-trek to an island where a cure can be acquired to rid several coastal villages of a plague. During travel, there are tasks that grant advantage to checks that don't manifest with DM fiat. The module recommends downtime activities which seem "out of reach" by the rules. In some cases, players will not have the DT to do so. Players may have limited opportunity if they suffered exhaustion levels in the CTA. The island layout is simple; however, crucial information is lost ( i won;t say what) if the party does not speak a certain language-unless magical means exist. The cliff tower that players ascend to get to Episode 3., is presented poorly. Climb distances and limitations are not provided. Episode 3. has a very creative diesease puzzle-one of its highlights; but, there is no meta to go along with the dieseases. (They get no save against them-they automatically get them?). The final encounter seems "one-sided". Player parley ends with the heroes fleeing (I won't say why), dying quickly (I won't say why), or guided to a very descriptive ending, given the cure and allowed to leave. It seems to happen very quick. There's little player agency in the narrrative. DMs will need to do a strong meta-review of this adventure, flesh out the CTA, the end of Episode 2 and the beginning of Episode 3. before presenting.

My overall rating is based on the above observations and a spotty attempt at formatting compliance. It will make reading it slighty challenging. Even so, this is a great premise for an adventure. It just needs to be fine-tuned.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
CCC-UBCON2020-02-Realm of the Brand
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Creator Reply:
I began the adventure in the style of Robert E. Howard with the heroes already in peril. I waste no time before putting the heroes in peril and making them respond to the challenge. This is different from traditional D&D modules, but I stand by the idea of starting strong and not messing around at page one.
CCC-UBCON01-03 Grime and Gears
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Marcello V. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/14/2020 22:20:46

I just finished reading all three of this series in prepping them for local play. The cover was pretty neat, I'm not too much on frills but the cover looked fun to put together. The background is the best out of the three in the series. I havent seen modron up front in a mod since the memorable CORE-1 series from BMG. I like how there is a generic adventure hook and then some specific ones. The others in the series fall short here. The CTA is great. A break away from the tavern trope is good. A battle of tall-tales (BS-ing) was surprising segue into the CTA. Boxed text adds to the settings, having players navigate a modron camp I think will be frustrating and fun. It does seem like players are just subject to a "pass the buck" by the modrons. I like that Pillars of Play bring a closure option to combat, an alternative options to bypass areas of camp, and give the players the option of attempting to speak to the modron and be exposed to their heirarchy in a social manner! I like how the designer reminds DMs to watch time ..even at cons I sometimes get swept up in the game and forget that I'm on players schedules. And encounter/hazard table fits a tunnel trek well, and I like how the modrons that you travel with risk themselves right along the players. I'd tell DMs to watch out the encounters- alot of them cause exhaustion. The worse case scenario- players may end up at the end with up to four levels of exhaustion before dealing with the modron menace. Even still. its a good adventure. It is clear that this designer has some experience in design and writing. I hope that Johnathan Kennedy-Ellis will continue to mentor other designers. I've seen some great effort in this series! Add this one to your collection!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
CCC-UBCON01-03 Grime and Gears
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Creator Reply:
Thank you so much for the review! I hope the adventure holds up when you bring it to a table. Let me know either way!
CCC-UBCON01-01 Back Home Again
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Marcello V. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/14/2020 21:48:47

Just from reading UBCON01-01, I enjoyed the background. The adventure hooks seem a bit specific and one of them has a great tie to location history. The Call to Action is enjoyable but granting treasure before the adventure really starts is never a good thing. Part One has a bit of a snafu in the taphouse concerning tables spacing and difficult terrain in the same sentence. Part One is all social and exploration pillars. It seems like a map is needed somewhere because it offers a Cartography proficiency check to learn geographic knowledge. Part Two’s beginning is confusing. It describes dealing with the enemies narratively vice rolling dice and captures how arduous your travel to the area of the final encounter with a dice roll that forces players to expend HD. The loss of hit dice is something I have not seen in other adventures yet. It’s frequently Con Saves for exhaustion levels. You may want to consider adjusting the damage on the pits .. a Lower APL party are doomed if they fall in any of the pits. A mage and a necromancer will be a challenge to most tier one parties and be the demise of a lower level party quick. The big takeaway in Part Two is that if your player have buy-in at the CTA, then they will do so when it comes to allying with The Red Wizards here. When you finally face the undead horde, I like how they have deus ex machina if its needed. It could be depending on how challenging the undead horde is. I don’t believe that I’ve seen anything by this designer before, but I hope with more opportunity the designer will add more brevity and clarity to narratives and Area Information and get a second set of eyes on it during edits. There is some good content here to give players a great time! Good Gaming!



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
CCC-UBCON01-01 Back Home Again
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DDALCCC-DRUIDS-03 In Tents
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Marcello V. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/04/2020 13:17:02

As I was reading this module to see if I would run it locally, I noted a few things: -It made me chuckle and flat out laugh many times. -I like the premise-the environment is a large battle camp ... not hard to map or struggle to describe .. -It has different adventure paths that are there. Yes, each path is linear, but there are random encounter tables that add to variety of what lies under each tent flap. For those DMs that feel like adding their own touch, you could use the designers framework to add other table results

  • The cotton balls for clouds suggestion is absolutely clever! I thought, "You know what-why didn;t I think of that?"

The spirit of this adventure takes something that would seem ordinary to adventurers (most equate camps to RESTs and having to come up with WATCH orders and are more focused on resetting everything and not wanting to roll that encounter that messes with their REST) and turns it into somethign extrodanary. I felt like there was alot of exploration and social pillars, but when you have a mist that is always around as the antagonist, that options for your "choppy-chop" and "pew-pew" players is always there too.

I've said enough. Check it out. I look forward to other offerings from this designer!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDALCCC-DRUIDS-03 In Tents
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Creator Reply:
Thanks for the favorable review, Marcello. DM's always need a good laugh before preparing an adventure, right, and I'm glad you found room to play with what I wrote. That was my intent, and I hope others will want to play with it as well. Cheers!
Candlekeep Map - Personal Use
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Marcello V. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/01/2020 11:47:08

Wow. This map is colorful and magnificently detailed. I'm not a very big optics DM, but I can appreciate the amount of effort that went into it. I intend to get it printed and framed! You should too! It's worth more in my opinion!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Candlekeep Map - Personal Use
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Creator Reply:
Thanks so much Marcello! Please be sure to show me the framed pic! <3
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