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Complete Adventures of M.T. Black Vol. I $9.95
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Greg T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/23/2018 07:48:39

Quality varies, but you can't beat the quantity

(Review will be updated as/when we play more of the modules in the pack.)

The Complete Adventures of MT Black Vol 1 offers no less than 14 complete modules for D&D 5E, all of them roughly Adventurer's League length or a little longer (between 3 and 6 hours). It contains the entirety of the material offered in the adventure packs "Tales of the North", "Triboar Trilogy" and "Harpell Hexalogy" - although note that these are loosely themed collections, not continuing adventure paths. None of them are Adventurer's League legal, but in many ways that makes them even more suitable for a cosy home-table environment. It's a lot of gameplay for your money - but the quality definitely varies from module to module.

The adventures are set firmly in the Forgotten Realms - specifically, on the northern Sword Coast, in and around the Dessarin Valley and the nearby towns of Longsaddle, Triboar and Red Larch. This makes them a great companion to the Princes of the Apocalypse or Storm King's Thunder campaigns, which also explore this area. At the same time, they're generic enough that you could plausibly move them elsewhere in the Realms or to a range of other campaign worlds. Most of the modules are of the "town and down" genre, with the PCs setting off from a town to explore a nearby local dungeon / tower / enchanted forest / haunted mansion.

Monster stats and magic item descriptions are not included in the modules, and you will need to have the Monster Manual and DMG handy. Most modules include a serviceable map of the environment - the artistic quality of these varies. The game balance genuinely leans heavily towards the "tough" end of their intended level range - parties within the suggested levels will need optimised play and some experience with the rules to succeed; newer groups may want to treat them as a level higher than advertised.

So far my group has played the following modules:

  • Giantslayer - 4 stars

Balanced for four 1st Level characters.

The "dungeon" in this module is of the "magical forest" variety, populated with assorted fey weirdness. The virtue of the module, though, is in the roleplaying, which makes it a meatier and more satisfying expedition than some of the other adventures in the collection. The party are off to find a legendary giantslayer and bring her home to defend the village she grew up in. It's got plenty of character potential, while remaining simple and relatively uncomplicated. We had a lot of fun with it, and found some genuine emotion in its interactions. In terms of flaws, the various forest encounters are a bit random and disconnected, and the final fight presents some challenges to find the fun spot between "trivial" and "lethal". It may take the intervention of a more accomplished GM than the module anticipates. Not worldshaking, but worth your time and money; recommended.

  • Tower of the Mad Mage (Harpell Hexalogy 1 of 6 / Tales of the North 1 of 3) - 3 stars

Balanced for four 1st Level characters.

A fairly standard "magical dungeon" romp, full of weird elementals and "what is even happening here" gimmick rooms. Players who like that kind of thing will be entertained. Those who prefer cause-and-effect and an ability to reasonably anticipate danger will be frustrated. The adventure hook is problematic - it asks players to murder an otherwise unthreatening tribe of goblins in order to steal their treasure. The "pet goblin" trope makes an appearance, with a comic-relief goblin sidekick following the party around for the duration. Good for a light palate cleanser, nothing to particularly recommend.

  • Doorway To Darkness (Harpell Hexalogy 2 of 6) - 1 star

Balanced for four 2nd Level characters

A quick guide to everything you shouldn't do in writing an adventure. It's basically a linear dungeon crawl. The central route features repetitive fights against a single enemy type. Side passages punish exploration brutally and without warning. The story is completely generic, there are no meaningful character interactions, and no meaningful decisions to be made. An NPC guide is used to strongly railroad players into staying on the main path. A backstory exists explaining what is happening but there is no provision in the text for players to learn it, and it is instead left to the DM to insert. DCs are punishingly high throughout, with only the luckiest characters able to avoid traps or learn anything meaningful from investigation. Difficulty of the module overall will be affected strongly by whether the party includes a cleric with Turn Undead. Very much not recommended.

(Review and rating will be updated if more modules are played.)

[3 of 5 Stars!]
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Complete Adventures of M.T. Black Vol. I
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