JP On Gaming

Thursday, April 11, 2019

[Review] Perilous Nights in Eckwold for 5e

I happened on one of the DM's Guild Facebook Groups on a new author wanting to get some critique about his adventure. Jos-W put out an adventure called Perilous Nights in Eckwold by Dicey Games. He was asking for feedback on the adventure... and what better way to do so than to review it!

So let's get to it, shall we?

1- Overall. The first thing I noticed about it is that the pdf is dry and without art (except for a set of maps at this end, an overall map with the distance of the main events would REALLY help). This felt like an Adventure League product in appearance. I will rate this as "okay", so 2/5.

2- Editing. I noticed a few issues here and there, nothing really jumped out at me. The issues were less with the English and more with the D&D terminology, like skill names having the wrong casing, magic items and spells not being italicized and capitalized. Okay. Okay, I'm an old and grumpy guy who focuses too much on these things. None of the issue prevented me from understanding, so I'll give it a 4/5.

3- Flow. I am torn in this one. On the one hand, the adventure has a good series of investigative elements and combats. On the other hand, the trail of clues is linear. "This NPC is missing over there" means the players will IMMEDIATELY head "over there" turns out, that is not really a wrong thing to do. This means that the PCs are likely to miss, ignore, and not care about 95% of the investigation presented. Another issue I have with the adventure, the boxed text and presentation assume a lot - what PCs feel, what they do next - and that irks me 2/5.

4- Rewards/ Magic Items. There are a few rewards (some good ones for a low-level game), but nothing unique here. One or two special items could have added to the interest. 3/5

5- Plugin potential. This is a side trek. As a night when you are missing 1 or 2 party members, this can be very effective. I don't think there would be more than an evening of gaming here. Advertised as an adventure for 3-6 hours, it hits its mark (though I would expect closer to the 3h than the 6h). The adventure includes future hooks, many which are hinted at, but not addressed in the narrative. 4/5.

Running this, I would use it more as a canvas than a script. The story is interesting, if very basic. Now if you are looking for a simple sidetrek where you can add stuff, where your PCs' paranoid minds will look for something dark to find, this is not a bad one.

So... I see a lot that this adventure COULD be, leaving me torn in giving a final score. There is potential to take this from a simple story into a really nice, complex adventure. With a few tweaks, the flow in particular can be improved.

I will settle on using math 2+4+2+3+4=15/25 = 3/5. I can live with that.

Update Note. Between the time I wrote this review and now, the document was updated. One of the minor issues: the maps, were taken out of the document and placed in their own zip, which is a good thing. It adds value, but I still think the 3/5 rating stands.

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