by Christopher Perkins
I’ve never played Birthright, so I don’t know if this adventure is typical. The party is expected to have a lot of retainers. Two combat NPC’s join the party. A band of brigands can be convinced to join the party. There is a group of 2 dozen mercenaries that could join the party, six or so of whom are named/classed. That’s a lot to keep track of. During your combat with 35 skeletons in a 30×50 room. Weird, and seems hard to manage. This is essentially an assault, rather linear, on a fortress full of undead. There are more than a few intelligent undead, and some faction play. There’s a bit of a haunted mansion feel, as skeleton drink beer, etc, but a lot of the joie de vivre is sucked out of it by the writing style. There’s a bit climactic battle at the end with a fourth (fifth?) faction showing up. The beginning section is overly wordy, even by Dungeon standards. The middle section has potential, but the writing is lifeless and the map mostly linear. The NPC’s need a simple reference sheet rather than each having 2 columns of personality. Hard to run, I’d imagine.
The Mother’s Curse
by John Guzzetta
This is quite the interesting little adventure, plagued by a conversational writing style that embeds information in unusual places. There’s a village investigation portion and then a monster base assault. Both sections have information scattered throughout them instead of being presented in a more logical manner that better supports play. In the village each NPC is described at their location, along with what they know. The text is WAY too long to support this style. A brief table of NPC’s would have been much more effective and made the adventure much easier to run. SImilarly, the monster fortress has an issue with things being scattered about instead of putting the important bits, briefly, up front and then doing the keyed/encounter thing. What really makes this one interesting though is that it’s a Hag adventure that FEELS like a hag adventure. A hag has switched babies with a human mother, in the womb. The pregnant woman is sick … and the hag carries the humans baby. The whole evil hag thing comes through VERY well, both in the village, in the swamps, and in her fortress. I really enjoyed the atmosphere and the way the adventure and monster and complications fit together well. It’s not just a case of picking a monster out of the MM for the adventure, the entire thing is built around a hag, with hag motivations and all. Another one for the “needs a modern rewrite” pile.
by Paul F. Culotta
A railroad event based adventure centered around a wedding day. The DM is advised, up front, to not let the party catch the miscreant until the end. What follows are a handful of events based around wedding day: the preparation, ceremony, and party. A jilted lover disrupts the events of some scene and the party have to face the results and help fix things up, all while not in armor/carrying big weapons, etc, as the families want appropriate attire. Nothing to see; these types of adventures are a dime a dozen.
Voyage of the Crimpshine
by Tony Ross
This is a weird little adventure. Or maybe “adventure outline.” The party travels on a riverboat. It sinks. The party leads the survivors back to civilization. The party goes back to the boat to retrieve valuables for the survivors. Once at the boat again they find it occupied by merrow. The riverboat journey as well as the journey to/from civilization is pretty general. Just a couple of ideas and some rough ideas about the NPC’s you’re leading to rescue. “Fat Mike” the gnomish bartender, among them. This section could be both tightened up, from extraneous generalizations, and expanded with further encounters, wandering charts, etc. The last part is an underwater adventure (which I ALWAYS find tedious because of the extra rules) back in the boat again and is nothing very special.