DriveThruRPG.com
Browse Categories













Back
Other comments left by this customer:
You must be logged in to rate this
DDAL-ELW11 Secrets Below
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Matt R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/19/2021 14:47:15

This is a great conclusion to the series of adventures - the "payoff" for the party's work over the previous ten sessions. My players felt it was a little unsatisfying not to catch the villain themselves (they almost did - missed the roll to Counterspell against Teleport by 1 - really dramatic and suspenseful!), but were generally pleased with the ending. The fact that this adventure includes a setting-changing event - even if a minor one - is a big deal and it felt appropriately epic.

The "dungeon" itself included a lot of interesting things for the players to do, and my group had fun exploring and figuring things out. I personally omitted the tie-in with the "session zero" here, as it felt a bit like a throwaway and didn't aid the plot...but my players asked about it nonetheless, since "session zero" promised the return of those characters. Overall, this is a well-paced scenario with a goal important to the campaign's plot and a decent variety of creative elements that can pique the players' interest.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL-ELW11 Secrets Below
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

EBERRON: Sharn, City of Towers (3.5)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Matt R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/18/2021 14:12:46

Definitely one of the most useful sourcebooks I've read. It's a great set of expanded content and is highly useful for 5th edition, as most of the descriptions of city districts, personalities, and stores / dungeons are thematic rather than mechanic in nature. The battle maps are clearly drawn and are useful for virtual tabletops today. Story hooks are scattered throughout the book - hints of potential encounters or adventures (the hotelier who's a cultist; the city councilor in league with the mob, etc.). You'll find a place for just about every major faction in Eberron here, so you'll find a reason to use the book no matter what story you're running. This book should be required reading for any DM running an Eberron campaign.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
EBERRON: Sharn, City of Towers (3.5)
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

CASTLE OLDSKULL - The Classic Dungeon Design Guide
Publisher: Kent David Kelly
by Matt R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/18/2021 13:25:24

This isn't a bad book, it's just not the book I was expecting. I was hoping for more discussion about how dungeon features create fun - how to vary narrow hallways and wide open spaces, when secrets (doors, traps) should be included and how to maximize player delight in the unexpected, how to design dungeons for particular types of enemies (undead, dragons, evil cults, etc.) - a guide for taking a dungeon concept and making it concrete against a set of goals. I was looking for advice on how to keep my dungeons short but impactful - how to select the right dungeon elements so that characters can get to the meat without having to chew through endless layers of fat.

Instead, there are many lists of randomized elements, with the apparent goal of creating a framework a DM can use to piece these randomized elements into a danger-filled megadungeon for the players to explore room-by-room over countless hours. The author admits towards the end of the book that, although "storytelling is in vogue", he wants to help folks run dungeon crawls instead. Perhaps I should have been able to intuit that from the book's title, but I wish the "thesis" of the book that is so clearly stated at the end had been included in the introduction instead.

That being said - the book was only $3, so it's hard to argue it's not worth the price. The book is filled with ideas that can be drawn from piecemeal to introduce flavor into a hand-crafted dungeon, or could provide ample on-the-fly inspiration for someone running a wide-open campaign focused solely on exploration and conquest.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
CASTLE OLDSKULL - The Classic Dungeon Design Guide
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Embers of the Last War [BUNDLE]
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Matt R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/16/2021 10:14:19

I'm quite taken with the idea of running a campaign that has only one session per level, and for that reason I was eager to try the "Embers of the Last War" mini-campaign, which follows this format. It was my first foray into DMing for 5th edition and I was hopeful that this set of adventures would provide a useful guide.

Having now come to the end, and run each of these adventures (plus a few of the "Encounters in Sharn" items as well), my thoughts are mixed. On a positive note, each of these adventures contains useful hints on running the scenario to highlight D&D's "pillars": exploration, combat, social interaction. Most (but not all) of the adventures contained useful battle maps, and the combat encounters were generally very well balanced.

The entire line of scenarios, however, doesn't really mesh well together to form a cohesive storyline. There are few recurring NPCs, and the "villains" of the entire path have limited interaction with the characters. My players came away with unresolved threads and plot holes that I had to work to fill. I get that this isn't one of the "hardback" adventures, so maybe I shouldn't have expected that - but it feels like a bit more effort could have been made to vary the types of scenarios and tie everything together with recurring NPCs and a sense of a progressing plot.

I'm not sure I would recommend this as a whole. Individual adventures, however, might be worth running and I'd encourage folks to review them on their own merits to pick what they like rather than buying the whole bundle.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Embers of the Last War [BUNDLE]
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

DDAL-ELW10 The Killing Blade
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Matt R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/13/2021 06:59:49

I tend to be of the opinion that when you're advancing characters a level each session, each session should be impactful - there should be a meaningful revelation of the bad guy's motivation and plots or the characters should make measurable progress towards a goal. This adventure, by that measure, falls short in the arc of the "Embers of the Last War" mini-campaign.

At this point the characters have identified the location and motivation of their final confrontation, and then here - out of the blue - a side mission pops up, completely unrelated to the main objective. Why should the players take it? Better yet, why should a DM run it? It feels remarkably out of place.

It's not necessarily bad in and of itself - there is some decent roleplay in this scenario, and the combat encounter here is well balanced. A nice magic item is doled out - a magic weapon, the only one given out so far during the campaign. I suppose I simply expected a bit more cohesion and editing to this set of scenarios such that they'd work together and more seamlessly. Players at this point are probably antsy to get on with things and I'd encourage GMs to discover a better reason for this scenario's existence. I personally made it such that the location of next scenario's finale moved and shifted, and the foes here knew where it would be next and when - but your mileage may vary.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL-ELW10 The Killing Blade
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Exploring Eberron
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by M.A. R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/11/2021 11:07:36

This is an incredible resource for anyone running a campaign in the world of Eberron and is the perfect companion for the "Rising From The Last War" sourcebook for fifth edition D&D. The sheer depth of the topics covered makes for dense but rich reading, providing GMs and players lots of story hooks for building their stories. The topics covered are not extensive, but those that are covered (Droaam, Dhakaan, the major religions, etc.) are explored in such detail that you'll be fully equipped to fashion stories using the material. The book fills in the gaps that other Eberron material hasn't covered and it includes a few useful but balanced character options for fifth edition, some of which my players have tried and loved - and they're worth adding to any campaign, from any world. This is a valuable resource fully worth as much or more than they're currently charging. I'd highly recommend it for anyone's Eberron collection!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Exploring Eberron
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Creator Reply:
Thank you M.A.!
Encounters in Sharn
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by M.A. R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/14/2021 19:44:08

It's an OK set of short one-shots for Eberron. I used it in tandem with the "Embers of the Last War" content, and it helped fill in some of the gaps - especially for the combat-heavy characters who don't have much to do in that storyline, which is filled with heist missions.

I wish I could have run more of these, but the party didn't always have spare time available at the level requirements these short scenes require. Would have loved to have seen some of these encounters include stats for multiple levels - the ones that weren't for combat, for example, could have probably included tips on scaling them for players 2, 4, 6 levels higher.

The art is decent, but the maps are just average. The scenarios are, on the whole, fairly interesting. I actually used Talda Relka from one of these as a recurring character from "Embers of the Last War" - Relka makes a much better "mission-giver" than the Medani character they included. These days, $7 doesn't buy a whole lot - but in this case, you get a decent amount of content for it. I think it's worth it.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Encounters in Sharn
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

DDAL-ELW09 Searching for Secrets
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by M.A. R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/13/2021 17:53:32

It's a little frustrating that we have yet-another-heist mission, but at least this one is pretty exciting. It's a stagecoach robbery, basically, complete with a map of city streets where the ambush can take place. There's broad leeway given to the characters as to how they make it happen, and my players took a while planning the thing out - but when it arrived it was a tense battle. As usual, the writers of this series included a very well balanced combat encounter - the primary reason I am giving this four stars instead of three.

Going through scenes one and two (of three) more than filled up the three or four hours of this session. The final scene felt tacked-on to me, with a "oh no, your princess is in another castle" type of setup...and so I skipped it. Not a bad entry in the series at all.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL-ELW09 Searching for Secrets
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

DDAL-ELW08 The Kundarak Job
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by M.A. R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/19/2021 16:36:29

In a set of adventures filled with "heist" scenarios, this one clearly stands out. Not only does it contain a useful side-bar that gives general tips on how to run it, but several alternate paths and scenarios are sketched out: "If the players do this, consider that". The group was a little disappointed to have this one play out with no combat, but overall I think they had fun. There's even the opportunity to bring back an NPC from earlier on in the path. Best adventure in the path so far, to be sure.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL-ELW08 The Kundarak Job
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

DDAL-ELW07 Blades of Terror
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by M.A. R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/04/2021 13:39:37

We have here yet another "sneak in someplace" heist mission for the Embers of the Last War campaign. My party's rogue is having a blast; the barbarian, probably less so...although there were combat encounters in this one, at the very least.

Like some of the other adventures in this series, it is a little lacking in the setup. It expects characters to gain entry to the ship by bribing, lying, or sneaking...but my players asked: can we just buy tickets for passage? I ruled that they couldn't, but the potential options should have been spelled out - or ruled out, with reasons why.

Then the characters are expected to roam around the ship. If they snuck on, then the question is: what to do when you're caught? The adventure-as-written seems to assume that they have to avoid everyone, and the guards are somewhat powerful for a group of four or five - combat is kind of ruled out? But they can also talk with folks and get answers. What would the reactions to the crew reasonably be upon seeing strangers on this ship? What kind of uniform or cover would they need to allay suspicions? It's all left very vague.

I appreciate that they're trying to leave it flexible for the DMs, but having potential paths at least thought through and addressed is the appeal of a published adventure and the justification for its price tag. When a published adventure doesn't deliver on that, I'm wondering why I paid the money for it. This seventh entry is not as bad as the third adventure in this path, but it's not great, either.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL-ELW07 Blades of Terror
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

DDAL-ELW06 A Holy Visit
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by M.A. R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/01/2021 13:42:10

Feedback from the players was that, up until this adventure, they had wondered whether any of the former adventures were connected at all. This one is the first one to tie the "big bad" together with NPCs the players had encountered earlier. It's well-paced, relies on social / combat rather than a "heist" like the last several adventures, and is well-written.

The big miss that keeps this from getting five stars is the lack of a battle map for the tower where the final "confrontation" takes place. Had to make one myself. This would have been a lot more useful than the map of the inn that they did include.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL-ELW06 A Holy Visit
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

DDAL-ELW05 Against the Lightning
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by M.A. R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/30/2020 18:32:14

This adventure does a great job of hooking the characters, giving them a mystery, and leading them to a place where they can solve it. The major location to explore is yet another building that doesn't look like it belongs in Sharn (not a segment of a tower), and the end fight was a bit of a joke for the characters - I had to triple the boss monster's healing ability to even keep it going for a few rounds. But overall, they had fun - it's definitely a step up from some of the heists of the past few scenarios.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL-ELW05 Against the Lightning
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

DDAL-ELW04 Jack of Daggers
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by M.A. R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/27/2020 08:16:39

This adventure is pretty mediocre - it's not bad and it's not particularly good. As others have noted, this is the third scenario in a row where the characters are expected to infiltrate a location. I spiced it up with one of the "Encounters in Sharn" in between some of them, but if I hadn't, the combat-centered players would have gone several sessions with nothing to do. As it stands, we're all a little tired of watching the rogue be the star in the adventure.

As has also been noted, the building doesn't look particularly like it belongs in Sharn - it's square, has an attic, and has a basement. The map is also poorly drawn, so unlike some of the other scenarios they weren't constrained by the layout of a professional map available via some commercial license - this could have been a circular tower, and they chose not to.

The characters had fun, and it was definitely better than the previous scenario, but I can't help but feel that this one slot in a twelve-scenario mini-campaign could have been far more impactful.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL-ELW04 Jack of Daggers
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

DDAL-ELW03 The Cannith Code
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by M.A. R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/12/2020 19:49:17

I ran this one as-written, with no modifications, and I should have changed it. This adventure has a huge deficiency - a plot hole the size of the bus. In brief:

  • The party is supposed to infiltrate a guarded location to locate a "macguffin".
  • Without giving too much away, the macguffin is directly tied to a person at the location.
  • The person does not, however, live at the location - presumably, the person leaves the location at night and goes home (the location has no living quarters suitable for all the people there).
  • The problem should be obvious: why in the world would the adventurers go to the trouble of entering a secure location to get the macguffin when they could just approach once out in the open streets?!

The fact that the adventure never accounts for this or addresses it is the adventure's greatest weakness. Either the macguffin should live at the place, be escorted under armed guard to a secure house which is harder to infiltrate, or characters should otherwise be given some other reason to enter this place and get the macguffin out. As-is, my players cased the joint, realized this flaw, and obtained the primary objective without much fuss.

The combat at the end is really well-balanced, and that provided a lot of fun for the characters - there's where the adventure got back on track. But the rest of it was kind of short-circuited due to the massive flaw in the setup. Makes me kind of wonder if this thing was ever really playtested with a cunning and inventive group of players. This one needs some serious adjustment to go well, which kind of defeats the purpose of buying a pre-made adventure.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL-ELW03 The Cannith Code
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

DDAL-ELW02 Boromar Ball
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by MATT R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/11/2020 08:09:54

This is a well-designed adventure that stands on the Social and Exploration pillars of D&D. As others have noted, the Combat pillar is light or non-existent here, and you may need to invent something to keep your "tanks" occupied. It's also heavily weighted towards your sneaky characters - your party will be tempted to split up so that the rogues can explore while the rest of them mingle. More could have been done to provide clues and secrets for the others who wished to interact with the guests.

But, overall, the group had fun and the adventure itself is tightly constructed - and it's OK to have a session where the fighters aren't pivotal. The "macguffin" isn't so easily found, and there aren't obvious shortcuts to obtaining it that the adventure-as-written doesn't account for. Balance it out with one of the items from "Encounters In Sharn" (there is an obvious follow-up, a fight-heavy one involving a House Sivis break-in and the lightning rail station), and everyone will be happy.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL-ELW02 Boromar Ball
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Displaying 1 to 15 (of 17 reviews) Result Pages:  1  2  [Next >>] 
Back
0 items
 Gift Certificates