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CCC-GARY01-03: The Gary Con 2017 Story Arc $12.99
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Joshua H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/03/2017 12:39:39

I am going to second much of what the other reviewers have said.

I have read and run most of the 5e AL content (I have four dedicated file cabinet drawers full of modules). This one felt sloppy to me from the start.

The setup is very old-school, and that's what the writers appear to have been going for--a maze of magical and monstrous traps set up like 1980s D&D. However, it doesn't make sense in the political and sociological environment of modern D&D. The story begins with a building appearing in the zhent ghetto and no one knows anything about it--that feels odd and off, given the tight magical controls in Mulmaster. Then a poison gas is released killing all of the guests. That's wiping out a whole strata of Mulmaster society, which feels very rash given all of the adventuring that's taken place there.

Mechanical problems start with the suggestion that players remove armor and weapons, making quite a few classes largely unfit to complete the subsequent adventures. Structural issues compound as the mini-modules role one right into the next without hooks or context. AL modules are supposed to exist independent of each other. Some may follow logically from others, but players are not required to play all of the modules in a series and new players are supposed to be able to join at any module break. How does that work here? These should not have been 3 separate modules but rather one long one. All of the complaints about missing maps, missing magical items in the rewards sections, missing story rewards, etc. etc. are spot on. The difficulty of encounters varies considerably and strays toward very difficult, which is alright perhaps, in the spirit of older modules, but it certainly entails a lot of DM adjusting that is beyond the scope of standard AL play.

Finally, the bathhouse scene seems pretty inappropriate to me. I run these modules for mixed public play parties that often include high schoolers and college students as well as middle-aged folks, and a scene set in a bathhouse full of scantily clad people is going to generate jokes and remarks that will make other people uncomfortable. It is definitely in-keeping with the lascivious and misogynous character of some of the early D&D illustrations and descriptions, but in the 21st century, shouldn't we be moving past this?

So, to sum up, this collection of modules is not worth your money unless you're being a completionist. It is AL Legal content, and I'll probably continue to run it from time to time as I do with all the other modules. There are some interesting traps and tough encounters, but the logistics are a disaster, and there are enough issues with this series that I think it really should be overhauled or ignored by DMs.

[2 of 5 Stars!]
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CCC-GARY01-03: The Gary Con 2017 Story Arc
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