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The Priest, the Witch, and the Lost Temple: An Adventure $4.45
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Brad R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/20/2018 08:38:06

Review as of 19th of November 2018 Full video review here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDQUueJe-p8&feature=-
youtu.be

What is it

  • Adventure for levels 2-3
  • A tale of misdirection, a classic villain is not all that they seem and those who seem like allies may reveal themselves in time to be the true evil at work.
  • Taking place in the town of Whitehaven, though it is possible to uplift this to whatever setting your heart desires.
  • Presented in three parts, a preamble of sorts to get players thinking and engaged in the story, a confrontation with a possible enemy in a lair with traps aplenty and finally a dive into dungeons unknown with a showdown.
  • There is a lot of background information presented here. Great for DM’s who love that world building but it might grate on those that just want to get on with the adventure.
  • Each Chapter is something different, a town to explore, a villian to confront or a dungeon to delve.

What I Liked

  • The guides on how to roleplay each NPC were really nice and informative allowed me to really understand the character and how best to portray them to my players.
  • The town is rich in history and a gem to explore with lots of factions to interact with and manage.
  • Lots of player choice in the first section as to what to do and where to go gives a great breadth of explorable options.
  • The included maps are a really nice simple design that gets the point across.
  • I like the small simple puzzle in C7, though I don’t play with alignment generally I can see it being interesting to roleplay out.
  • I really liked the thematics of the villain appearing at the last minute only to get away.
  • The Bodak/Deathlok Encounter is really interesting I like how it plays out thematically gives a real sense of theatrics you usually don’t get at lower levels.
  • I liked that it’s left open at the end to start a greater adventure, it’s a great springboard adventure.
  • There are some great monster choices from Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes and Volo’s Guide to Monsters that have options to replace them with different ones from the main Monster manual. I like the intention it’s interesting and shows understanding that not everyone has every book

What I didn’t Like

  • First Encounter isn’t really described very well there are three creatures with sickly parlour but it doesn’t say what they are? Zombies Ghouls what? Be specific when it comes to combat. (Fixed)
  • The flow of the first encounter feels broken and disjointed, the players see the zombies and the two farmers but what is the priority here do the zombies continue to feast into the farmer on the ground and what happens after the battle is over. The wording jumps around a lot. (Fixed)
  • A map of the town would help a lot with general flow.
  • The how to roleplay sections were great I wish though that they were either organised better or at least had a Dramtis Persone section where you could find where these sections were located easily.
  • It might of been nice to include scaling to allow this to be used in a wider level and party range something like APL (Average Party Level) is a great idea gives your adventure more lifespan.
  • An appendix with any unique monsters (goblin zombie) is a must.
  • I’ve seen it now in a few larger adventures or ones with more complex plot lines it would be great if there was a flow chart of the adventure to give a sense of things in scale of time.
  • I think you are allowed to include monster stat blocks from official WOTC books in modules released on the DM’s guild but not 100% sure on that one.
  • A lot of the Second chapter references creatures in other books it would probably be ok to include a sample stat block for these creatures.
  • Why would someone who left Thay have a bust of Tam who represents everything that Thay is?
  • For a lot of Chapter 3 I can see players attempting to deal with or attempt to rescue villagers it would of been nice to include a random encounter table for just such an occasion.
  • Putting a barrier in front of players where the only option is to retreat feels a little weird, perhaps if the almiraj is behind them when they are trapped.
  • I feel like the final confrontation is more interesting as a player if the monster is still there it makes it harder yes but more engaging.
  • The final sacrifice of that NPC feels like it might of been better to leave it up to the players to help with that part perhaps giving part of their life force as an option?

Final Thoughts and Rating

  • I’m a little harsh on the new guy but in general I like what’s presented here.
  • There is a lot going for it and for a first foray into the guild this is a damn fine piece.
  • A lot of the problems I mention are strictly a problem with structure of an adventure things like monster stat blocks or perhaps adding in flow charts. They by no means make the adventure un playable or un fun.
  • So for the P.E.R.C. System C Combat,
  • Combat in these low levels is an interesting affair making it difficult to judge how interesting or unique any given encounter is. The bodak presents an interesting challenge though it is an optional encounter, I really like the way that encounter could play out presenting an interesting challenge to a group as it’s effectively a three way fight. Other combat in the module is handled more of your standard affair but I will say tends on the more lethal side but it’s level 2-3 so it’s a bit expected. 4/5 R Roleplay,
  • There are a lot of really interesting dynamics present here and in a lower tier adventure it’s hard for players to get invested sometimes. What’s presented though is a joy with a plethora of unique and engaging characters to play around both for a GM and a player. I can’t stress how helpful it is to have that roleplay advice and I really like the false scent that is thrown down early on. 5/5 E Exploration,
  • The first chapter is really great here a lot of areas to explore and a lot of choices to make. It’s a shame that the final chapter is bit more linear in nature. It would of been nice to see that same flair drawn though in the design of the final dungeon. That being said both areas are interesting in their own rights and sometimes a good easy straight through is what you need. I will say here there are some inconsistencies with the layout and design of certain areas particularly both the final spot and the second chapter mansion around characters presented. Such as the final area the villain is moving through in front of you some evidence of their passage maybe sprung traps or the likes would add to the interest. 4/5 P Polish
  • This is where work needs to be done, Maps should always be in separate files for VTT use. Its make a small difference but it’s a big deal for those of us who game that way.
  • In addition there are a lot of things around general structure that can inhibit your play and implementation experience.
  • A map or general layout of the town would help immensely here I know you have a world map which gives more broad locations but the players are traipsing around this area a lot so it would of been nice to have.
  • The first encounter feels weird and not explained very well but then subsequent ones are handled really well.
  • It would also be nice to do something to extend the playable range a bit. Giving a range of monsters per encounter so that this can be enjoyed by a larger level range would be fantastic.
  • It could use a few handouts as well to help players visualize things like the orb of undeath.
  • Any unique monsters should always be in the appendix same as the NPC’s.
  • A bit more art to break up the word blocks might also be appreciated here.
  • All in all there are a lot of minor things which are easily fixed or changed to really help this shine.
  • The maps are simple and effective I really like them and I like the battle maps that are used here I know some people really have a problem with the style used but the simple design means I can add whatever flair I want to them (which I probably will and produce full colour versions with stuff in them.)
  • The how-to roleplay sections are great but they are all over the place so it would be nice to have them grouped up or at least a page number reference. 3 / 5
  • So all told I give it a 4 / 5 I really like this adventure another polish pass and you have a really great starting adventure that can springboard a whole campaign.


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Hi DM Dango. Thanks for the very detailed review! I accept most of your points. However, I just wanted to offer some of my own reasoning on a couple of things you had mentioned. Of course, this doesn’t mean I disagree with you. But thought I’d explain why I made some of these choices.

First, I had intentionally placed the bust of Szass Tam in the library. Partly, this was a means to create uncertainty on the part of players exploring the rooms – that’s why the doors to their rooms have skulls and flowers, why there's images of Thay and necromancy books mixed in with books on alchemy, plants, why there’s a nice garden in the front next to unmarked graves, etc. But secondly, I also thought that the character who fled Thay had still not 100 percent rejected it either. She’s trying to become a better person, but it doesn’t mean she’s quite there yet either. And sometimes, you still keep the item that reminds you of what you rejected - until you're finally ready to get rid of it. She's just not quite there yet.

Also, regarding not having unique creature stat block, I do take your point. Here, I was following what many of the official books do. They often have a creature that is only mildly modified, and instead of a new stat block, they just say look at the Monster Manual entry but with these modifications. It also helped to keep the number of pages down (probably also why they do that too). I wanted the pub to be in multiple of fours, to allow for possible professional printing - admittedly for personal reasons! That doesn’t negate your comments, of course. And I might add more monster stat blocks in my next foray.

Lastly, with the “how to roleplay” sections, that I also borrowed from the official books – and these are always located when the characters first encounter the person in question. Of course, you’re not the first person to mention adding a Dramatis Personae in the front part. An interesting idea. I haven’t seen that much in either official books or Guild products (though recent official books seem to do that more often nowadays). But I might contemplate that for my next pub.

Anyways, I do take your comments seriously. I just wanted to provide my own thinking behind some of those choices. And I’m glad you enjoyed the adventure.
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The Priest, the Witch, and the Lost Temple: An Adventure
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