Posts Tagged as "Best of D&D"

The following blog entries and news have been tagged as "Best of D&D".

Review: Hunted!

Posted by Benoit de Bernardy on Saturday, September 16, 2017

“Hunted!” is a Dungeons and Dragons adventure for characters of levels 5 to 7 written by critically acclaimed author Tony Petrecca. It’s a three to five hour module in which the PCs try to discover who or what is raiding the winter stores of the friendly thorp of Northwood's Rest. The villagers will be quick to blame the Hunting Claw orcs to the North, but the culprits are much more sinister.

“Hunted!” is the type of adventure I enjoy the most. It’s a series of encounters and places in which the story behind the livestock attacks gradually unfolds, while at the same time, offering an interesting mix of combat, exploration, and social interactions. Players who enjoy story-focused adventures will absolute love this one.

Besides the great backstory, the module is also a delight to read. Tony has a unique style that combines captivating descriptions, a proper choice of words without sounding pompous, and a bit of humor to lighten the mood. The adventure also has clean and functional layouts, color maps by Elven Tower, and awesome new monsters!

My only problem with the module is that sometimes, Tony is a bit too brief in his explanations. Most DMs will be able to improvise in these situations, but I prefer having all the information in a published adventure and decide which parts to use, than not having the information at all. I find that building on top of someone else’s ideas yields better results than filling the gaps. Ultimately, this is just a design choice that Tony made, not a flaw, and I’m sure many DMs out there prefer more compact adventures.

Review: Arcane Armoury Vol. 1

Posted by Benoit de Bernardy on Friday, March 17, 2017

Arcane Armoury Vol. 1 is a Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition supplement that you can download for free on the Dungeon Master’s Guild. The book is composed of two chapters of uneven length: a large one with 40ish new magic items, and a smaller one with a few special materials.

The selection of magic items in the first part of the book is truly spectacular. It ranges from nearly useless trinkets for an adventure, such as the Potion of Absolution which makes everybody forget you exist, to must have items, such as the Eyes of the Spectator which allow you to shoot beholder-like rays from your eyes. It also includes some funny magic items, such as the Claws of Chaos which turn your hands into ludicrous weapons, to near-artifacts with crippling side effects, such as the Circlet of Netherdeath which makes you immune to death at the cost of aging a year per day you wear it.

I was unimpressed with the second chapter of Arcane Armoury. The special materials allow you to tinker with non-magical items. You get a benefit in exchange for a penalty. For example, heavy armor made of Darksteel grants you a +1 bonus to AC but imposed a 5 feet penalty to your speed. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the special materials, I just find magic items more interesting!

Review: Wolves of Welton

Posted by Benoit de Bernardy on Friday, March 3, 2017

The Wolves of Welton is a 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons module for characters of 2nd or 3rd level by Winghorn Press. It’s a one-shot investigation in which the PCs try to discover why a pack of wolves has suddenly become more cunning and aggressive. It features a decent mix of exploration, roleplaying, and combat, which is an absolute rarity for an adventure this short.

The module is fairly straightforward. In the first scene of the adventure, the PCs help a group of shepherds defend their herd against wolves. The characters then learn that this wasn’t the first attack, and that the wolves have been plaguing Welton for weeks. The adventurers then need to locate the wolves’ den and find a solution to the problem.

What surprised me the most when reading this adventure was how well-written it was. The descriptions are captivating and evocative, and they really help set the mood. The NPCs at the end of the module are also charming and convincing, and make Welton stand out from the dozens of other D&D villages that DMs have imaged over the years.

Review: Reign of the Ice King

Posted by Benoit de Bernardy on Friday, February 17, 2017

Reign of the Ice King is a short Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition module for characters of around level 10. It’s a classic dungeon crawl in which the PCs help the people of Termalaine get rid of a self-proclaimed frost giant king and his minions. The adventure normally takes place in the Forgotten Realms but you can easily adapt it to just about any town during the winter.

Reign of the Ice King is as old school as it gets, and reading it made me oddly nostalgic. The plot is spot on what you would expect from an adventure in the Forgotten Realms—kill the frost giant who is extorting money from the villagers—and the eBook really reminded me of the modules TSR used to publish back in the 90s (especially the cover by Eugene Jaworski). While the dungeon delve is mostly Diablo-like hack’n slash, Reign of the Ice King still features an interesting combat on a bridge against a white dragon, and an opportunity to use ruse and trickery to make the rest of the dungeon crawl easier. Because the plot is so basic, the module is very easy to prepare, making it ideal for any DM who only has an hour left before his game session!

Review: Shadows on the Long Road

Posted by Benoit de Bernardy on Thursday, January 19, 2017

Shadows on the Long Road is a one-shot Dungeon and Dragons 5th edition adventure for characters of 3rd or 4th level. The module is supposed to take place in the Forgotten Realms but you can easily adapt it to pretty much anywhere. You can get the adventure as a standalone product, or as part of M.T. Black’s latest bundle, both of which are available on the Dungeon Master’s Guild.

At its core, Shadows on the Long Road is a dungeon crawl. As the PCs are traveling along the Long Road, they accidently get trapped into a gloomy demi-plane (Ravenloft?), and then have to find a way to get out. The characters eventually come across Saltmarsh Manor where they receive a warm welcome, and are even invited for dinner and to stay over for the night…

Unfortunately, the life of an adventure isn’t so easy. Something bad will happen to the characters if they linger around, and they will have to explore the manor if they are to escape. The dungeon crawl awaiting the PCs is exquisite! M.T. uses a clever combination of compelling descriptions and classic horror movie clichés to set the mood, and the result is simply outstanding. The structure of the adventure is also solid (you’ll only need to read it once to run it), and there are surprisingly few mistakes for a self-edited document.

Review: Encounters in the Savage Frontier

Posted by Benoit de Bernardy on Friday, January 13, 2017

Encounters in the Savage Frontier is a collection of 24 side treks for the 5th edition of Dungeons and Dragons written by some of the most prolific and talented authors of the Dungeon Master’s Guild. With the quality of the encounters ranging from good to excellent, this is the perfect supplement for DMs looking to spice up their games and keep their players busy when their characters go off the beaten path.

What makes this product truly noteworthy is the broad number of situations the side treks cover. Encounter in the Savage Frontier features some tactical combats, small dungeon crawls, serious and humorous roleplaying encounters, dark mysteries, and even a poetic fox hunt. There’s a little bit of everything for everybody, except for high level characters.

Even though the entire content is excellent, some things really stood out when I first read this eBook. I had noticed Richard Jansen-Parkes’s name while skimming through the Dungeon Master’s Guild but I had never actually read his work. It turns out he’s an incredibly talented writer and I’m looking forward to reading more of his adventures. I knew of Glen Cooper’s vivid imagination but he really surpassed himself with The Tree with No Name. JVC Parry's Omnius the Many-Eyed surprised me because of its original way to get the PCs back on track in an adventure, and Tony Petrecca's Pa Tol was a blast to read.

Review: The Fasting Worm at the Spider Feast

Posted by Benoit de Bernardy on Sunday, December 18, 2016

“The Fasting Worm at the Spider Feast” is a Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition module for a party of 3-5 players around level 8. The adventure is a one-shot dungeon dive into a demon lord’s snake-like carcass that will delight any player who enjoys discovering the world and its lore.

The module features some interesting NPCs, a few cleverly thought-out encounters, a morally challenging dilemma, and a perfect introduction to the Underdark and to drow society. What makes this adventure truly exceptional, though, is the backstory, and in particular, Remley Farr’s original take on the origins of the purple worm.

The strength of the module, however, is also its weakness. The adventure sometimes feels like a short novel about the demon lord Shomarrah and her confrontation with Lolth, and it will probably leave the more action-orientated players wanting more.

The art is very good and enhances the immersion of the reader, the editing is impeccable, and the layout is basic but clean and easy to navigate. Overall, this is a solid adventure that is well worth the download (it’s free), even if you only intend to shameless steal the backstory.