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DDAL08-11 Poisoned Words $4.99
Average Rating:4.2 / 5
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DDAL08-11 Poisoned Words
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DDAL08-11 Poisoned Words
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Marc G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/19/2019 18:28:43

This has been my favorite module of this season I think it has something to offer all kinds of groups because you can approach it multiple ways and still reach a satisfying solution. It has rp for your rp groups and ways to avoid combat, but combat and just pounding your way though the front gates still works if that's your groups style. Love this module look forward to running and playing it more.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL08-11 Poisoned Words
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Dan S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/11/2019 00:36:00

This was a really good module to follow DDAL08-10. The players got a good little jaunt to find do some investigating and then a couple fun fights. The Sundeth encounter was a little too easy. I blame me for this. I didn't anticipate the tactic the players would use and they got a HUGE jump on the NPCs. I think describing the scene would have helped me DM that encounter a little better, but I can add those embellishments in future sessions.

I highly encourage people to give this module a shot. It was a ton of fun!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL08-11 Poisoned Words
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Jay A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/10/2019 09:59:48

This is a very well done adventure. My only issue (and for me I couldn't get this out of my head), it feels too easy to attack Skull Island and it's leader, Commander Sundeth. It feels like too much is 'handwaved' to get to the Tower of Seven Woes and the fight with Sundeth was a bit disappointing for as a DM.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL08-11 Poisoned Words
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by David E. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/02/2019 11:44:18

I really enjoyed running this module. The plot was coherent and easy to follow. I especially like how it incoporates Bregan D'aerth, the Zhenterim and the Zanathar guild. It really made Skullport come to life. My group had a lot of fun with the different characters. I especially liked the Drow gunslingers, I couldn't help but playing them like Clint Eastwood in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

The only criticisms I have are that it took longer than four hours to run with all the bonus objectives and the format. I really detest the new format. The pillars of play side bars make it difficult to find information. I am constantly thinking to myself, "I know I read it somewhere. Was it in the encounter description, the pillars sidebar or the NPC descriptions?" It's a nightmare when you are working from a computer and have to scroll back and forth.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL08-11 Poisoned Words
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by David P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/27/2019 16:27:46

I expect three things from an Adventurer's League module. I expect a coherent story with good reasons for various kinds of PCs to participate, and enough background information to support necessary DM improvisation without requiring DMs to invent new material if they don't want to.

I expect the module to include challenging combats, skill challenges, and other content for the game we're all playing, with enough information for less experienced DMs to run them effectively.

I expect the module to be structured in a way that helps DMs run them in the allotted time, preferably with some guidance on how to do that.

All of these things relate to the nature of Adventurer's League. No matter how experienced I am as a DM I'm not comfortable improvising about background information, such as plot points or characters motivations, because if it isn't described in the module, no future DM is going to know about it. The more improvisation that I have to do the more jarring and confusing the experience for my players.

Not all DMs are good at designing combat encounters, not all DMs are good at adjusting them on the fly. Some DMs are asked to run at the last minute with a minimum of prep time. Some DMs are new. Organized play is supposed to represent a ready entry point for new DMs because as much of the work as possible had been done for them.

Adventurer's League modules are often run at conventions, game days and game stores where there are fixed time constraints. They need to be able to run in their slot because going over or finishing later might not be possible.

This module does better than previous season 8 modules at the first point and fails at the other two.

All the NPCs in this module have reasons for acting the way that they do. This puts it in the top tier of season 8 modules so far. I am genuinely thankful for that.

The module is very difficult to pace since it could have as few as 0 combats or as many as, I think six? Several of the combats are described as avoidable on the basis of a skill check. Assuming that we expect people to run the module as written I don't think it's a good idea for the number of combats to be left up to chance in a module that is meant to be run under strict time constraints.

The combats themselves are difficult to balance. A knowledgable but inexperienced DM is very likely to accidentally kill PCs with very high damage boss enemies. The Drow Arachnomancer does an average of 54 damage on her first hit in each round and may get a second, weaker hit. This is more than enough damage to take some characters that might be in this module - like a level 5 rogue or wizard at a table of 6 level 9's - from maximum hitpoints to killed outright with a single hit. At the same time, such a small number of enemies without legendary actions are easily overwhelmed in the action economy by a table with a large number of PCs. Neither of those outcomes is particularly fun. There are no interesting tactical decisions in being killed outright in one hit or burning down the boss before she can act.

Even as an experienced DM it is difficult to control the challenge of these combats. I should be able to adjust the challenge by having the enemies act strategically or not to match the players, but enemy behavior still needs to look like the NPCs are trying (however ineffectively) to win. Having the NPCs make obvious mistakes to the PC's benefit isn't fun for them, and fudging die rolls is a last resort. It is very difficult to run combat properly when the boss monster's most effective reusable tool is to simply hit for an average of 54 damage once per round. If she just chooses to stop murdering people for no reason then the players are going to notice.

Finally, I try not to mention the season 8 module format in every review because I know it isn't up to the individual authors but this module is very hard to use. If you don't prepare with meticulous care, and that means luxurious amounts of time, you will very likely miss things such as how combats are meant to be skipped or what the obsidian whistle actually does. It is very difficult to find information to remind yourself or confirm things while you're at the table. For example, the section on reinforcements in the Tower of Seven Woes doesn't mention the obsidian whistle even though delaying those reinforcements is a large part of what the whistle does.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL08-11 Poisoned Words
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Henry B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/26/2019 19:49:10

I have run this module twice with vastly different results and I can firmly say that this module suffers specifically from the Season 8 format problems. Every NPC here has good motivations, but the format and editing standards of Season 8 make the module miserable for players and DMs.

First the good: Everything that happens in this module is clearly a result of realistic motivations of the NPCs involved! Hooray! If the players are paying attention to what is happening they can actually guess what the motivations and actions of NPCs they will meet should be and try to role play with that. Previous modules have had no clear motivation for NPC interactions, so the players were never rewarded for trying to understand why an NPC was doing something. (In 8-10 the mind flayer only eats "evil" brains, except for the "good" courier he murders for no reason to make them look for him).

Now the bad (all of which can be traced back to the Season 8 Format): One) This module can be completed by the players with zero or up to 6 combats, which makes time management and combat balancing impossible. Especially for inexperienced DMs.

The 2 hour version of the module can be completed with no combat, but has 2 optional combats suggested inline for the investigation section. Unless you already know your party will try to talk their way out of everything, running these 2 combats will absolutely prevent you from finishing the module in 2 (or 4 with bonus objectives) hours.

I run AL Modules in a convention-style environment (our weekly store turnout is 80-100 players randomly seated with exactly 4 hours to play) so I cannot afford to make mistakes in timing the module and the season 8 format provides NO HELP WHATSOEVER in achieving this goal.

Two) None of the combats are balanced against any of the others. As a result of the Season 8 expectation that the party be looking for ways to avoid combat, most combats in this module (even with adjustments) are Deadly or harder. This means that parties which engage in combat (either by failing a skill check or because the players are murder hobos) are quickly overwhelmed.

Three) Nothing is where it logically belongs, even the module consistently admits this. You have to read Bosskyn's description in the NPC list to find out he is a blind tiefling, but in Episode 2: Scene A Tesselgryn is listed as Tethyrian (human) inline with her description. The same happens with Durquin (Scene B, his description as a human is only in the NPC list) and the Braegen D'aerth agents you meet in Scene C (they are both described as Drow inline with their names).

The whistle provided by Bregan D'aerth in Episode 2: Scene C is also similarly not described in any organized location. You find out in Bonus Objective A the players can earn a second use, but the actual effects are split in 2 places (one effect is listed in Playing the Pillars sidebar on page 9 and the other is inline with the text on page 11).

Four) The players can be BRUTALLY PUNISHED FOR SMART PLAY. I have run this twice. The first time I ran it, the party successfully convinced Sundeth they had business in the Tower of Seven Woes, then asked him to show them upstairs....

The players were playing smart, they used the information they had about Sundeth to convince him they belonged in the tower and asked him to lead them upstairs (all smart plays which would have led to complete success) except when Bonus Objective B is in play. Using Bonus Objective B, the players had now inadvertently COMBINED the combat with Sundeth and the Drow Priestess of Lolth. Both these combats are already Deadly Boss Combats and now, because of their smart plays earlier, the party was facing them in a single small room.

In summary: The season 8 format forces DMs to do incredible amounts of preparation not required by earlier modules and sets numerous traps where, in an effort to reward smart play, DMs must acknowledge they are breaking or ignoring the rules. This creates a situation where the players know that they are only succeeding because the DM is cheating for them and that isn't fun for anyone at the table.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL08-11 Poisoned Words
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Roger M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/25/2019 16:07:08

I ran this Sunday Feb 24 for a very weak group. The adjustments are good except if you do the bonus objective B with the Episode 3 boss fight. I downgraded some of the Blackguard abilities for the combat. The story is okay. But since it is a second act of a McGuffin chase it does not harm the action or the story.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL08-11 Poisoned Words
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Jeffery C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/18/2019 20:50:17

Another good adventure, but be careful as this one can run a bit long and be a bit tough for some adventurers. It was a blast to run as a DM, other than the season 8 format of the module.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL08-11 Poisoned Words
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Wrich P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/11/2019 15:01:25

This adventure is well laid out, and it plays on the work already done in the Waterdeep book, continuing the adventure in Skullport. It, and it's companion adventures are much better laid out, and paced than previous entries, and 8-10/11/12 are a real return to excellent adventures for AL.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL08-11 Poisoned Words
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Paige L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/07/2019 01:19:08

This is a great romp theough Skullport wit a fun cast of seedy and weird NPCs, interesting fights, and a fast paced story.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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