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I’m a fan of Acquisitions Incorporated, ever since I listened to their first adventures in Dungeons & Dragons Fourth Edition. Their fun-loving antics didn’t immediately draw me into D&D, but their continued adventures was a major factor into eventually running a permanent, ongoing series of live-streamed adventures with my friends.
I’m predisposed to liking anything with their involvement, so you may want to take this review with a grain of salt. That being said, the adventure included in the Acquisitions Incorporated Roll20 module, “The Orrery of the Wanderer,” is the best I’ve seen out of D&D Fifth Edition, finally supplanting Lost Mine of Phandelver as the premiere low-level campaign.
MAJOR SPOILERS – DM’s only!
The following content is included in the $49.95 Acquisitions Incorporated bundle:
- 1 new race, the Verdan
- 7 new spells, including “Jim’s Magic Missile”
- 5 new player backgrounds.
- New role-playing quirk tables for each class.
- An entire chapter on using Acq Inq franchises in your campaign, including eight multi-tiered company positions.
- “The Orrery of the Wanderer” adventure Add-on, which includes:
- 12 5-ft square battle maps w/ tokens and dynamic lighting.
- 2 non-gridded town and region maps.
- 1 alphabetized token page.
- Journal divided into 5 episodes containing notes and handouts.
- Over 30 named NPCs, including all the famous members of Acq Inq, the B Team, and the C Team.
- Over 100 generic monster sheets and tokens.
- 49 Magic item handouts (17 w/ pics).
The Acq Inq book is 1 part new player options, akin to Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, and 2 parts campaign, providing an adventure that’s somewhere between Lost Mine of Phandelver and a more standard-length 5E adventure like Princes of the Apocalypse.
The new player options mostly involve starting your own franchise as a base of operations. These manifest as additional downtime activities to make contacts, perform quests, and grow your adventuring brand, as well as offering the recognizable faction features from the C-Team, such as Documancer and Cartographer.
The new player race, and few new spells and player backgrounds are all tied into various Acq Inq stories and situations, and work especially well with the included adventure, “The Orrery of the Wanderer.”
To say that I fell in love with this adventure is an understatement.
Despite only running levels 1-6, the scope of the adventure is breathtaking. The six episode campaign involves a return trip to Phandalin’s Tresendar Manor, hopping through portals through dangerous pirate encounters, attending a dwarven wedding through body-swapping attendees, fending off an aerial encounter on a hot air balloon, exploring a skeleton-manned casino owned by a lich, shrinking to six inches and surviving a now gigantic house cat in an inn, and consoling a lonely deep crow.
The level 1 dungeon alone is incredibly well-designed. A sinkhole opens up in Waterdeep, and the PCs are sent to investigate it by Omin, CEO of Acquisitions Incorporated. The tunnels are designed as 10 separate areas, making it easy to physically put tokens where they go as the PCs explore deeper and deeper. They’ll contend with a giant spider, a hallway of traps, a room of severed, stomping feet, a giant tentacle in a watery basin, and the opportunity to rescue a wyrmling brass dragon from a pair of darkmantles. That’s all in a single, level 1 dungeon!
The entire campaign oozes that special Penny Arcade flavoring of fun and goofy, with larger than life characters, memorable action set-pieces, and a solid story that ties everything together.
Acq Inq fans will obviously get the most out of the campaign, particularly the final episode that takes place around the multi-dimensional inn The Dran and Courtier in Red Larch, as the PCs get a chance to save and meet the C-Team while battling the vengeful machinations of Splugoth the goblin.
Even non-fans will appreciate excellent game design, and DMs’ will appreciate full color, detailed maps for every dungeon, including a pirate ship, a dwarven stronghold, and an undead casino.
Every episode features downtime activities and chances for role-playing and growing the campaign through side treks and business contacts, and several side treks were as memorable as the main quest, including rescuing a doppleganger contact from Neverwinter prison, and assisting some down and out pirates on a mutiny. The Journal is excellently organized so each of these story beats has its own detailed section, with plenty of great artwork for handouts.
I cannot heap enough praise upon “The Orrery of the Wanderer,” easily selling the entire Acquisitions Incorporated book by itself. The adventure is a bit shorter and smaller compared to similar priced full campaign books, but the quality is second to none. Lost Mine of Phandelver is still often (correctly) regarded as the best overall adventure Wizards of the Coast has put out for Fifth Edition, and the go-to for introductory campaigns.
The time has finally come for Phandelver to move aside and enjoy the heir to the throne. If you’re seeking my official advice? Sign on the dotted line, initial it twice.
- New Franchise Company Positions, downtime activities, and numerous role-playing player ideas and tables for each class.
- The Orrery of the Wanderer adventure:
- Excellent dungeon designs with the perfect mix of exploration, combat, and social encounters.
- Fun, interesting side treks, including breaking a doppleganger out of Neverwinter prison and assisting with a mutiny on a ship.
- Trademark Acq Inq humor and characters.
- Full color grid maps for all major dungeons and locations
- Light on new spells, races, monsters, and magic items.
- A shorter adventure compared to other full-priced campaigns.
- Episode 2 re-uses Phandalin, and the entire Tresendar Manor dungeon from Lost Mine of Phandelver.
The Verdict: Bursting with memorable moments, exotic locations, quirky characters, and trademark humor, the Acquisitions Incorporated adventure finally dethrones Lost Mine of Phandelver as the premiere low-level Fifth Edition campaign.
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