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DDAL04-13 The Horseman (5e) $2.99
Average Rating:4.1 / 5
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DDAL04-13 The Horseman (5e)
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DDAL04-13 The Horseman (5e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Arnaud v. d. G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/13/2019 14:54:59

The following writing is done by one of my players. SPOILERS AHEAD . . . . . First of all, I would like to tell that this review comes from the view of a player from Adventurers League, not from the view of a Dungeon Master, so this review is more about the gaming experience then about the details of the adventure itself. This 4th season of Adventurers league has been tons of fun up till now, especially with the wacky monsters from liar’s night 2019. However, this last adventure has been a lot less fun, that is why I write this. This is not meant as an outlet of frustration, but as my perspective of the overall adventure that might be improved.

The start of the ‘HORSEMEN’ was great. The pandemonium in the town gave everyone a reason to care for the town, and to track the thing that caused such misery. The tracking and battle in the forest were nothing special. Big monsters dealing damage. The group either racing through their sheets, being heroic or absolutely stupid (I was the latter). But then the reason for this review came.

We were a party of six, consisting out of two fighters, a paladin, a cleric, a sorcerer, and a ranger, entered a cave from which a dim light shone. Inside the cave, a lone monster was playing a flute, surrounded by the statue of a woman and over 15 paintings showing the same woman. As soon as we entered the cave, he stopped playing, gave his monologue, and so started the boss fight. Before any of us could make an action, we had to make a saving throw. One of the fighters failed, and went down stunned. After this, we had two other saving throws, where nearly everyone failed at least one of them. The monster had three legendary actions every turn, as well as a lair action, almost each being an ability to temporary incapacitate someone. Within a few minutes, almost everyone was either stunned, frightened or charmed. Especially being charmed by the Hypnotic Pattern was horrible, because someone else had to spend their turn to snap someone out, and due to the other effects, we could hardly reach one another. The monster could also simply jump from one opponent to another without attacks of opportunity. What also became a big problem was the fact that our cleric and sorcerer could not help us, due to the paintings countering nearly every spell, making the sorcerer as good as useless.

This fight took over two hours, and it was simply us getting slowly grinded down to 0 hit points, while eventually trying to escape. This was quite frustrating as it sometimes took a couple of turns to actually regain the ability to play the game, while you lost it the next turn because either A) failed a save, B) needed your turn to heal yourself from damage or C) needed to help someone else who went down. It was disheartening to just sit there, and wait until the boss was done with you.

In the end only half of our group (the sorcerer, the fighter, and the ranger) survived because they were stuck in the entrance of the cave due to the barrage of saving throws, and gave up. The paladin died after trying to destroy the altar (without any effect), the cleric who could hardly use his magic and got beaten by the boss, and the second fighter, who got charmed, without anyone near him to get him out. The characters in the back of the cave could not as much as enter the cave, and our characters got wailed upon by the boss without really knowing how to beat it. The DM gave a tip that the fighter was doing something right, after shredding a painting near the entrance, but due to the number of art pieces, and the damage and effects, we were unable to even reach the other end of the cave to actually destroying them. After the adventure ended (it was near midnight on a Tuesday), the DM revealed that there were only 2 paintings (guardian portraits) that caused the effects, and that without all the disabling effects it would have been easier. But these were 2 paintings out of at least a dozen art pieces, and we had to spend time to find the right ones, time we barely had.

The greatest problem with this encounter was that it was not fun. You just throwed save after save, and if you failed one, you were practically incapacitated for a turn or two, in which the boss could just take you down by 30 points. Many of us had characters with which we played for months, and these were just wiped off the board without much of a chance. The feeling that there was no chance to beat the boss is what I find so disheartening about this encounter, and I hope that the makers of this ‘Adventurers League’ adventure change it for the better, because it’s a great adventure, except for the last encounter.

I hope that you find this review insightful and that I have not been too nit-picky. If you have played ‘THE HORSEMAN’ yourself, I would really like to know what your thoughts are about the encounter, and if you know any improvements (I personally think that fewer paintings would really help). Thanks for reading.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL04-13 The Horseman (5e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by William F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/26/2018 02:34:41

This adventure runs ok in the alloted time. The first part is just exposition that explains all the stuff that has happened earlier in the campaign. It could be role played out but you'll probably do it as just a big data dump. That said, it's an interesting story and explains a lot of stuff from earler adventures. The stuff in the village should probably be done as Theatre of the Mind because it's mostly about impressing the players with all the obsessions. The players will probably just want to restrain the dangerous villagers and rescue the others. The fight with the trees was ok but nothing special. The final boss fight was great. There was a cool villain speach then a really hard and interesting fight. Omou had great spells as well as legendary and lair actions. But he wasn't too dificult to run because there were't too many choices. The players definitely felt like they had been in a fight.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL04-13 The Horseman (5e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Stephen L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/21/2018 18:09:46

The whole town gone mad at the beginning of the adventure makes for some great roleplaying opportunities before the party finds out about the headless horseman and pursues after him. A creative DM can add to the excitement by coming up with all sorts of crazy things the rest of the village is doing. The final encounter was very challenging and very nearly resulted in a TPK for my group. Adjust this with caution. Aside from that, the tragic villain of the story was a very solid and memorable character.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL04-13 The Horseman (5e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Anthony V. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/16/2018 09:14:25

That begining though! Push through the tunnel of the first part of this module then slide down into the awesome sauce. A good romp in the gothic horrors of Barovia. Played it once, DMed it 3 times fun every time! You do need to connect with the NPC and play it full out to get the max from this. I would DM again. -DM Ace



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL04-13 The Horseman (5e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Robert G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/03/2017 16:32:55

This adventure has a great ending battle, but a really forced beginning. I understand that each adventure is named after a Tarokka Card, but the actual horseman could have been used instead of trying to fool the players or portraying the villagers as dumb NPCs again. Once passed the first encounter, this module does a great job preparing the players for the final module in this game. The final fight itself can test to see weather the party is ready or not.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL04-13 The Horseman (5e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Diana V. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/29/2017 15:12:13

Highly reccomend running this. Omou is genuinely an amazing NPC, and if you can play up the nature of his complex relationship to the adventurers (he's pitiful, but not deserving of pity, he's gifted and skilled, but singlemindedly obsessed with Esmae, and he might be a reflection of some of the PCs) the adventure shines and the boss fight, which can be highly deadly, takes on a somber tone that really shines. Really ties into the overall story of the Season 4 AL modules of love and obsession being destructive. Highly reccomended.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL04-13 The Horseman (5e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Blake J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/31/2017 16:49:25

This module was by far one of the most insane (in a good way) and difficult modules I have played. Although the challenges were tough, they never felt unwinnable, BUT I was always afraid of dying. The battle at the end was by far one of the toughest boss encounters ever. It was incredible. A simply well done, tragic, fantastic module.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL04-13 The Horseman (5e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Joshua N. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/19/2017 15:53:56

Recommend Purchase: Yes. XP Range: 1,875-2,500

The overall story woven between all fourteen modules is called 'Misty Fortunes and Absent Hearts' and is relatively strong overall, but suffers for a couple reasons. The final module probably wasn't written at the time the first was released, so they couldn't or didn't want to spill some of the meta information that DMs would have LOVED to have. In the early modules things would occur 'deus ex machina' and even the DM wouldn't have a clue as to why.

If you're planning on running these, i HIGHLY recommend buying the bundle, reading the DDAL04-14 (The Dark Lord) Adventure Overview on pages 7-8 to see where everthing is heading ... and then reading each module's Overview in turn before running everything. This will help you greatly.

If you start with the first module you'll have enough XP to level up, stay within the module tiers and make it all the way to the 14th module. Afterwards you could always play a few chapters of the Curse of Strahd Harcover and then leave Barovia behind.

Before running any Season 4 module, you should download the following content:

  • dndadventurersleague.org/barexit-escaping-the-mists-of-barovia/
  • dndadventurersleague.org/curse-of-strahd-backgrounds/
  • DMSGUILD: DDAL04 Expanded Dark Gifts Table [OPTIONAL CONTENT]

Season 4 initially couldn't leave the Demiplane of Dread until the very end, but the Admins later introduced the 'Barexit' mechanic.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL04-13 The Horseman (5e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Tosh L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/15/2017 23:02:29

I thought this was a challenging, dark, and enjoyable module that emphasized the insanity that Barovia can drive its beings. The fights weren't too much of a challenge, except for, of course... the boss fight. This boss is rivaled only by the "Dark Lord" (both of them) herself. His mind-flayer, blue-dragon, mongrelfolk, monk combination is truly terrifying that could easily mean one to two deaths for the party. Nevertheless, it's one that is both awesome and frightening to run. I would not advise this adventure for anyone who has qualms about deadly adventures (I actually wouldn't recommend any of season 4 for said people). My only issue with this is that at certain parts the editing could use a little work, and the fight with the elves can be a bit clunky with so many combatants.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL04-13 The Horseman (5e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by David W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/20/2017 11:42:52

The Horseman very much wants to be a dark, atmospheric treatise on the nature of obsession and love, and to present a tragic tale of a talented yet homely antagonist rejected by the more potent evil he adores. Unfortunately, the adventure also serves as the info-dump for the metaplot in preparation for the final adventure in the series, The Darklord, and since this happens right up front, the sense of fatigue and irritation that this will likely install in your players will color the entire adventure.

Begin with the knowledge that the events of the previous adventures were irrelevant -- in The Raven, the party races against a 'ticking clock' to rescue the seer Sybil Rasia, yet regardless of their success, Sybil begins this adventure with the party, and even manages to bear the plot-significant object from The Artifact if, for some reason, the party either hasn't played the adventure or has somehow misplaced the MacGuffin.

The party is informed that the adventure's antagonist is on the way to deliver the final piece of the main villain's plan to her, yet has no way to impact this -- by the time the party mounts up and rides to the rescue, Omou (the antagonist) had already made his delivery and been rejected by the object of his own obsession, leading him to once again subject the poor, hapless citizens of Orasnou to dark doom. If it seems like 'endanger the citizens of Orasnou' is an overdone trope by the thirteenth adventure in the series, well, your eyes don't lie to you -- of the five Season Four adventures largely set in or involving Orasnou, four of them (including this one) feature an assault on the village that the PCs must thwart. Only the very first module, The Beast, doesn't include a direct threat to the village.

Another problem with the module is its attempt to raise the stakes by attempting to convince the DM to use 'Breathless Pacing', by which the module designer means 'don't let the PCs take even a short rest if you can help it'. In general, an adventure where short-rest focused classes like warlock and fighter are not necessarily advantaged over long-rest focused classes is a good thing every so often to serve as a change-of-pace, but this adventure doubles down on the challenge by adding arbitrary damage between encounters and basically seems to want to drain the PCs of all their useful powers before finally confronting them with the main antagonist of the piece -- who is honestly powerful enough to deal with a nearly fully-rested party if run intelligently.

A competent adventure, yet despite its attempts to provoke bigger emotions (one section is actually titled "The Last Stand of the Greenhall Elves"), it simply comes across as tired and waiting for the end.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL04-13 The Horseman (5e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/24/2017 02:16:16

Why? Why did you make the greatest boss fight out of any module I have played or ran (I have played or ran pretty much everything to include available CCCs and Baldman Games), and put him into a disposeable story. It would have been so easy to build up this fight, foreshadow stuff in earlier adventures, just someone mentioning in passing, hey there is this headless horseman dude. But no, instead you create one of the most memorable characters and fights and make him barely relevent to the overall storyline except for the out of the blue thing that he has that the party needs.

If you get the chance to play this, I would definitely recommend it, but I would just note that it doesn't make a whole lot of sense within the overall season 4 storyline.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL04-13 The Horseman (5e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Chester C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/12/2017 23:21:47

The Horseman is continuing a previous adventure where they are escorting a prisoner when they learn of some sort of troubles brewing in the town. The town is being attacked by some sort of creature that is spreading madness and the players must help out and defeat this creature. The creature will run to escape to it's lair and they will follow and track him down. Upon confronting him, they will realize that its a creature with unrequited love kinda like phantom of the opera causing chaos and mayhem. The only difference is the phantom is unexpectedly strong and if the players are not careful they could get their asses handed to them. I actually loved the final combat because it is epic and challenging. One of the most challenging fights that I have participated and ran before.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL04-13 The Horseman (5e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Tim L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/10/2017 10:04:54

Finally, we figure what's been going on all this time! Thank you for explaining what we should have known back in DDAL4-7. Crazy Phanton of the Opera dude causes mass destruction? Excellent. Good climax battle.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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