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DDEX1-07 Drums in the Marsh (5e) $2.99
Average Rating:4.0 / 5
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DDEX1-07 Drums in the Marsh (5e)
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DDEX1-07 Drums in the Marsh (5e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Andrea C. T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/28/2018 13:24:55

The good:

  • Challenging Combat Encounters - even when I was "pulling my punches," the players were on the edge of their seats during the combat. It made their victory feel hard-fought and gives players who are very keen on combat that thrill/risk of death that a lot of players complain they don't feel any more.
  • Investigation and RP - the earlier portion of the module gives players who are more in it for the story than the fighting a great time to shine but may cause players who are more interesting in killing things to feel bored.

The bad:

  • There doesn't seem to be a good in-story way to have the players discover the module's "backstory" unless they scour every single nook and cranny of the island. Most of the players might just want to bypass that portion and go straight for the final encounter
  • It is a long module. Four hours does not seem like enough for this module especially if you have roleplay-centric players and some of the encounters feel like they should give more EXP than what the module can grant.

Overall: A pretty solid module but might take several re-reads for the DM to anticipate the branching paths and means of getting the party back on track because of how open-ended it is.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDEX1-07 Drums in the Marsh (5e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Drew J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/27/2018 14:45:39

Encounters can be a bit strong in the swamp but the character need to get through to figure out what has been going on. The swamp offers a chance for a bit of boating with can lead to all sorts of fun chaos. Trying to keep the lights off can make things interesting as well.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDEX1-07 Drums in the Marsh (5e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Oskar R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/30/2018 10:34:03

This module was fun and was a nice diversion from the usual enemies. The players figured out that they needed to go into the swamp pretty quickly but there characters were not thrilled with that plan. They were even less thrilled when the two rogues were swallowed by the giant toads and almost died. Still, they managed it and were sufficiently freaked out about the acid melted corpses and items. I linked the end of DDEX1-06 explicitly with why they needed to go into the swamp and it seemed to work out well. Encounters in the swamp were interesting and challenging. Would recommend, especially if you want to scare your characters with drowning by grappling lizardfolk that can hold their breath far longer than most characters.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDEX1-07 Drums in the Marsh (5e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Greg T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/29/2018 19:32:35

Atmospheric but muddled.

With Drums in the Marsh, the Tyranny of Dragons AL season takes a detour to the Twilight Marsh for an encounter with lizardfolk.

There's a lot to like here, staring with an extremely atmospheric setting. The module does a great job of emphasising a potentially terrifing trek across the marsh, complete with pounding drums, driving rain, a river voyage, relentless lizardfolk pursuit, and dangerous marsh creatures. The finale rather unusually (for this AL season) offers players a lot of opportunity for creative, aggressive or diplomatic approaches. The lizardfolk are well used, with a lot of emphasis on how they work as teams and how they make use of their natural environment to increase their threat. These are all really strong points.

But the module definitely needed an edit. The opening "investigation" phase feels tired and obligatory. It's clear from the first words of the module that lizardfolk are the villains, but the first act nevertheless goes through a tiresome series of "what could possibly have left these clawed footprints" site-based investigations. When I ran the module, I skipped this first act entirely, starting in media res with the party already travelling down the Trank River by boat.

Another serious defect is the lack of an overland map. Much of the module consists of a wilderness journey through the Twilight Marsh, with encounters at various points along the way, but the module includes no large-scale map of the area showing the relative positions of these encounters, nor does any good detail map of the area exist in other Forgotten Realms material that I'm aware of. It makes it hard for players to make sensible decisions about their progress or engage with the exploration portion. (To be fair, in its original AL format, the time constraints of an AL game would normally prevent players making this level of decision anyway, but it's still a noticeable and jarring omission.)

The module also fits poorly into the larger Adventurer's League season, using none of the existing worldbuilding around Phlan but existing in its own standalone space. A DM of reasonable sharpness can bridge this gap - or alternatively, it may make it more attractive to DMs looking for a lizardfolk-themed one-shot, as the whole module could easily be dropped into any marshland in any campaign setting. It also regrettably repeats some themes from the immediately preceding adventure, "The Scroll Thief", featuring another trip to the Twilight Marsh and the involvement of another black dragon, after the players have possibly already just dealt with those exact same plot elements.

Lastly, it suffers (as many AL modules do) from possibly not meeting player expectations regarding the finale. Events in the module have largely been set into motion by a villain who does not actually appear within the module scope. The later module "Raiders of the Twilight Marsh" picks up some of these plot threads, but player expectations need to be managed or they'll be expecting a fight that never comes.

Summary: A good highlight of lizardfolk, easy to use as a generic marsh-themed adventure, but a poor contribution to the surrounding Adventurer's League season burdened with a dull first act.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
DDEX1-07 Drums in the Marsh (5e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Mikaela R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/03/2018 00:45:41

It is easy to get sidetracked with the exploration bit, but the combat mechanics are what make this module interesting.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDEX1-07 Drums in the Marsh (5e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Charles M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/02/2018 21:06:36

My party did not care for this adventure. The drum beats constantly giving advantage threw off some key factors in how the characters were developed. The drum beats are overpowered and should be nerfed. The rest of the combats went well despite this though.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
DDEX1-07 Drums in the Marsh (5e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Erik R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/17/2018 16:13:41

Ran this twice, once in person and once online through Fantasy Grounds. Both parties of players really enjoyed the adventure, though it took about 7 hours from start to finish both times, even though the parties took somewhat different approaches. I would also say it doesn't scale down well to 1st level and maybe 2nd characters - it's balanced for 3rd and I'd say that's about right. A few 2nd level characters among others who are 3rd/4th is fine but lizardfolk are tough customers and the main villain at the end can be impressively dangerous! If you want to speed it up, I'd suggest speeding up the farm investigation and skipping the giant toads. Players really enjoyed thinking about the possible approaches to the central island and the final chaotic fight was very enjoyable in both sessions. I definitely recommend this.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
DDEX1-07 Drums in the Marsh (5e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Mark S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/17/2017 09:29:21

Recently ran this, and the players had fun, even though the game ran fairly quickly. Some of the encounters were a little tough for the group, though that was mostly because the group were all low level. The fact that the module gives groups a lot of leeway in how to approach the two later encounters was a big plus. It gave the party the ability to resolve the situation without being forced into combat.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDEX1-07 Drums in the Marsh (5e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Russell M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/31/2017 19:06:30

I found this module to be a nice balance of roleplaying and rollplaying. Players can easily get sidetracked in the searching for clues/investigation side of things but I had little trouble moving things along to keep it closer to the allotted time. The final fight/zone leaves itself open to a variety of ways for players to achieve victory.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDEX1-07 Drums in the Marsh (5e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Daniel D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/26/2017 17:16:12

This one was fun. The players were a bit frightened at the prospect of a Dragon in the area. Halfway through the big battle at the end, the group didn't seem to understand why they were fighting the lizardfolk, and a truce was struck. Bogclaw was defeated and allowed to live.
Giant toads are suprisingly tough if they manage to swallow a character or two. Almost had a TPK going there.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDEX1-07 Drums in the Marsh (5e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Brian M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/16/2017 22:57:09

Although a few of my players weren't involved early on because of little combat in the beginning investigation phase, many attempted to interact with the environment including Animal Speaking with the surviving bull and Mending doors and other broken objects around the farms besides looking for tracks and investigating what occured. Sadly the toads blew their stealth checks and couldn't attempt snagging players first. I tried to up the odds slightly after by adding a third into the encounter a few rounds later to have it easily dispatched as well. The Emerald Enclave mission option was heavily influenced by the players they managed to convince a captured lizardman and use him to guide them further into his clan territory and halt further bloodshed as they influenced others into trade options and tales of their recent battles. Sadly, I couldn't get the players to fight the Lizardfolk king due to the fact that they charmed him to comply with their requests. So I threw in a dwarven swineherdress refusing to leave until her breeding sow was recovered (aka classic pet owner jumping into the fire to rescue beloved pet). They helped her carry and load it onto a raft. Regardless, the players were highly imaginative, willing to offer options to overcome obstacles and deliver an effective force in battle when neccessary. Overall, a definite play-again.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
DDEX1-07 Drums in the Marsh (5e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Aaron N. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/11/2017 16:42:30

This is a nice adventure if your characters are aching to get out of the city and in to the country. If you have a combat heavy group, they will be bored in the middle. This became more interesting with the advent of Volo's guide, since Volo added lizardfolk as a playable race. Some combat, but more RP in my opinion. Still a good adventure, but drawing maps can get a little challenging due to scale.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDEX1-07 Drums in the Marsh (5e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Jeffrey W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/10/2017 01:02:26

If your group strongly favors the shoot first, shoot later approach, a very large portion of this module may go straight over their heads and seem maybe a little boring even. A lot of this module depends on characters interacting with at least a couple lizardfolk NPCs. Those interactions can lead to some very interesting RP elements, but those with more of a murderhobo bent wont ever know those elements are there.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
DDEX1-07 Drums in the Marsh (5e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by lowell s. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/05/2017 05:30:52

Cool module. Really introduces lizard folk that because they are now a player race opens up whole avenues for the players that were not there before. Lots of chances for RPing. Also has a couple good combats.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDEX1-07 Drums in the Marsh (5e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Justin F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/27/2017 06:13:40

A few things about Drums in the Marsh that make it fun now more than ever is the fact that Lizardfolk are now a playable race, and having one in a party really livens up the experience. If you know about lizardfolk and their society going into this module it really escalates the story when you have a dominating lizardfolk party member who wants to take over the tribes (GREAT RP opportunity!) and uses that towards the end of the adventure. If you don't understand much about tribal society this module is great for teaching your players how lizardfolk hunt, capture prey, what they worship/fear, etc. I highly recommend this module for anyone who wants to engage in lizardfolk lore!

Pros:

  • Great RP opportunities
  • Water based warfare for anyone that wants to put a swim speed to good use
  • Brings characters closer to how wide spread the influence of dragons are at this point in time
  • Good consumables at the end that you can't get anywhere else (easily!)

Cons:

  • Lots of water
  • Can go for longer than the module declares (had a 6 hour run of this once)
  • Giant Toads (almost did a TPK with them...)


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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