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CCC-BLD 1-2 Bleeding Gate: Amalgamation
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Thomas P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/14/2019 19:43:28

Bleeding Gate: Amalgamation is a strong sequel to Bleeding Gate: Pandemonium. Having run this for both a seasoned party and a relatively inexperienced party I highly recommend it.

Pros:

  1. Following the successful format of the original, the adventure is well-written and easy for the DM to understand. The author presented an excellent summary of the whole module before launching into the detailed narrative of the adventure.
  2. Strong narrative with good role-playing opportunities and an interesting backstory.
  3. The players are repeatedly challenged to distinguish friend from foe.
  4. The combats are really good and feature some distinctive monsters.
  5. The author's voice seems to have matured since he wrote the first episode. The underlying ideas are presented in a subtler way.

Cons:

  1. The third episode of this trilogy is on Tier 2. Stepping up in the middle of a trilogy is very awkward.
  2. Between my two parties there was only one player who had run the first module. The "Previously on Bleeding Gate" part of the adventure took a lot of time to narrate and even after I invested that effort I still needed to make another significant effort later on. All the critical characters from Pandemonium suddenly show up in the grand finale of Amalgamation and a lot of people were a little lost.

But that's AL in a game store for you. If you can run both episodes for the same party it will be amazing as this weakness becomes a great strength when it all ties together. Otherwise just make sure that you know Pandemonium. Be prepared to spend some time catching people up and it will be fine.

Conclusion: A well-written module with an excellent story and enjoyable combats.

PS: With regard to a previous review, both my parties resolved the final conflict without battling the Villain. Thus they avoided an extremely dangerous encounter that could easily have led to fatalities. I believe it is the author's clear intent that this outcome is possible and desirable. He goes to a lot of trouble to outline the persuasion and intimidation tools at the adventurers' disposal.

Where the author failed is in defining what success looks like. It was completely up to me to decide what combination of strong words, good rolls, and blown up zombies would force the Villain to capitulate.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
CCC-BLD 1-2 Bleeding Gate: Amalgamation
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Creator Reply:
Thank you so much for your review Thomas! I'll try to keep in mind for future adventures to define what success looks like. I'm so glad you and your players enjoyed yourselves!
CCC-BLD 1-1 Bleeding Gate: Pandemonium
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Thomas P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/13/2019 22:05:05

I chose this adventure for my first time as an Adventure League DM. I really enjoyed it and so did my players.

Pros:

  1. Well-written and easy for the DM to understand. The author presented an excellent summary of the whole module before launching into the detailed narrative of the adventure.
  2. A fun and positive story that everyone seemed to relate to.
  3. Two good combats featuring slightly offbeat monsters for those of us who are tired of fighting kobolds.
  4. An interesting and creative story award that doesn't jeopardize game balance.
  5. A strong lead out to the sequel.

Minor issues:

  1. There is a significant possiiblity that the first encounter could one-hit kill a first level character. To be clear I am sayng dead, not merely unconscious or disabled. As a DM you should decide if you are OK with that and plan accordingly.
  2. As another reviewer wrote, allowing the players some influence over the Peacestone's decision would be more satisfying. I created an opportunity after the first battle for the characters to earn some good karma (a plus) for their upcoming roll.
  3. The story can fall apart if there is no Harper in the party to pull in the Harper hook. As DM you need a plan B to get that information to the players. One simple solution would be for a desperate Harper agent to make a cold contact asking for the party's help.

Ideas are essential to art. They stimulate us, intrigue us, challenge us, provoke us, and hopefully enlighten us. Important ideas play a large role in this module and I definitely consider this module to be a work of art. But I caution the author that often a subtle touch is better. Be careful about letting the ideas become bigger than the story. Layer your ideas into your work and let people draw their own conclusions.

Summary: this is one of the best Tier 1 adventures I have seen. Absolutely run it for your players.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
CCC-BLD 1-1 Bleeding Gate: Pandemonium
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Creator Reply:
Thank you so much for your review, Thomas! Being my first adventure, I admit I had a lot to learn and I hope to keep on improving. Some things that might help for future running, when I run the first encounter, I have the neogi and snakes target Theema Aga'Rith. I may still choose to attack the PCs a little but I mainly use the neogi and snakes as an introduction to Theema Aga'Rith and Tomakas. Even though touching the Peacestone yields random results, it has a high probability of success. Still, no matter what the result, as the Paragon says, a PC may broaden peace. If they choose to receive training (give them a copy of the principles and Paragon quotes) despite not receiving the story award, WOW that would say a lot about that character and could make for some interesting roleplay. I have definitely used your approach for the Harper hook or given it to the most roguish PC. I've also run it without a Harper; an insight check can reveal the same information about Ersu's reluctance to talk in front of the crowd even without reading the Thieves Cant tattoo. I can't change much about the module at this point but those last two suggestions (Peacesmith and insight check) could be added if you think it would help. Thank you again for playing my module and for writing the review! Ma'at
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