Pirates and fey do not typically overlap. Unfortunately, The Sea Among Fae does a poor job combining its themes, creating richly defined characters and relationships that have little bearing on the mini-quest into the feywild.
The Anatomy of Adventure looks like an academic journal, but it’s actually a collection of essays on adventure design, marketing, and the creative process, from one of the most well-known and successful creators in the DMs Guild, M.T. Black.
Valravn, level 3 Eladrin Bard of Eloquence
Fray, level 3 Halfling Barbarian of the Beast
Celeste, level 3 Half-orc Sun Soul Monk
Edmond, Level 3 Human Alchemist Artificer
Thimbleweed, level 3 Gnome Swarmkeeper Ranger
Level three is a big deal for most D&D classes, and we spend a good chunk of this session going over everyone’s exciting and fun new subclasses. Then it’s off toward the mountain of Kelvin’s Cairn to tackle the Mountain Climb quest, and search for the previous adventuring party.
In this rare 2-for-1 review, I look at the first two parts of The Legacy of Zandrax, a D&D campaign that presumably starts at 1st level, and includes at least one additional part before concluding. I’m just as frustrated as you are by the vague structure and lack of organization, yet there are some undeniably amazing ideas found in these pages.
After reviewing Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft and its included Horror adventure, “The House of Lament,” it’s starting to fee like Haunted Manor has become its own subgenre of D&D Horror. On one hand Manor of Dreadis Yet Another Haunted Manor Adventure, but it also includes a beautiful layout, full color map, and far bigger and more frequent combat encounters than the average haunted house.
Traveling between more exciting locations is often left to a montage of descriptions in D&D, punctuated by the occasional random encounter battle. Encounter supplements are typically full of battles and mini-quests, but Campfire Tales specifically provides non-combat encounters that focus more on role-playing and world-building.
It’s not often a session can nail all three pillars of Dungeons & Dragons, but the Beautiful Mine quest in Termalaine features combat, exploration, and role-playing, with just a bit of adjustments from the DM to make things more dynamic.
Uprooted is a twisted fairy tale. It’s a romance-fantasy novel. It’s a horror story. It’s a swords-and-sorcery fantasy epic. Uprooted is somehow all of these things, telling a wonderfully intriguing fantasy story that builds and builds, and more importantly, satisfyingly concludes, within 350 pages.
The story starts off a bit slow, and first-person narration always takes a bit for me to get used to. Agnieskha isn’t a typical fantasy hero; reluctant may even be too strong a word, but once we get over her awkward pragmatism and she begins learning how to cast spells her own way, we can’t help but root for her (pun intended). The way Novik describes spellcasting in this world is sublime, evoking a beautiful symphony of poetry, music, and emotion.
The book effortlessly bounds between genres in relatively short time, giving us breathtaking romance, character-driven political intrigue, exciting chase sequences, dramatic battles, and exhilarating moments of action-horror that reminded me of Aliens in all the right ways.
And then there’s The Wood. Never have I felt such fear and terror of this world’s uniquely antagonistic location. The Wood is a malevolent force with its own agenda, minions, and abilities, and discovering all its reasoning and intentions as the plot unfurls is incredibly rewarding. If you can get past the admittedly slow, fairytale-like start, you’ll find a worthy fantasy story that refreshingly doesn’t take thousands of pages to unfurl.