A Quick Review of Season Surprises Vol 1
I was happy to check out the DM Guild’s Halloween pdf, and for 2018 this seems to be it! I downloaded it and took a quick scan of the contents with intent to review.
The book looks like a polished official product, something I could imagine in a store on a shelf. There are no pictures and only one map, but that doesn’t seem to hurt this product. I didn’t find any errors or missteps in the product.
I haven’t play tested this stuff, but from a quick look I found:
There seems to be 3 sections to this product: Monsters, Magic Items, and Encounters.
The monsters look well-made and fun, with a Challenge of 1-13. The monsters do seem a bit powerful for the CR though, a Corpse Doll (CR 1) could give a pretty even fight to a Bearded Devil (CR 3) for example. That one seems the most off, as the others are just slightly tougher overall.
The monsters have a god theme and connect to the magic items and encounters, so I felt like I was reading more of an appendix to a larger adventure than a grab bag or random items, which is good.
The magic items are Halloween themed as are all the creatures and objects are in this product. This is my favorite section of this product, I like the collection of useful and whimsical items here. The masks are very static but I like that they are, and they do what I like magic items to do, which is to give the character new options instead of just not ultimate power.
The encounters are all actually a part of one module, so the one map makes more sense. It took me a moment to figure out the big purple circle is a tree, but other than that I was able to functionally understand the map and the encounters.
The encounters almost make up a full adventure, and mostly serve as individual back drops for the monsters in the book. I like that the encounters are all in one place, but I would have liked a loose story or quest, but overall I think this would be a fun hack and slash Halloween night, something light which may work better than a complicated story would for a holiday event.
I couldn’t find it anywhere in the book, but it appears this product is 5 encounters and 2 random monsters for an adventure of a certain level. I would say “This adventure is optimized for a party of five 8th level characters.”
It would also benefit from the “Determining Party Strength” table found in many Adventurer’s League products.
I did not run this set of encounters, so I can’t fully say how it goes, but it looks like fun.
Overall, I’d say I really liked this product, and if I have the time this Halloween I’d get some snacks and a light costume and run this through!