DMs Guild Review – Songs of Aedragard

A role-playing heavy exploration of a haunted castle in the forest, for level 1.

dms guild review

A review copy of “Songs of Aedragard” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using affiliate links for shopping and pledging via Patreon.

Designed by: Fernando A. Dolande

Songs of Aedragard is a first-level adventure set in the Kryptgarden Forest. The PCs are tasked with clearing out a ruined castle, but the ghostly occupants are more interested in talking than fighting in this refreshingly role-playing heavy adventure.

A wealthy benefactor hires the party to investigate and clear out the ruins of her family’s old castle in the forest. Naturally its haunted, and the surrounding forest is full of danger, though almost everyone has a story to tell.

The adventure surprisingly  hand-waves through its initial quest-giving NPC and plops the party into the forest to start. Normally a large chunk of a dungeon crawling adventure’s role-playing and socializing comes from that initial NPC, but Songs of Aedragard has plenty more RP action in store.

Songs of Aedragard features a beautiful green and gold layout with succinct descriptive text for each area and artwork on nearly every page. My favorite element is the attractive flow chart that visually showcases all the scripted encounter scenes that make up the first chapter in the forest.

An ogre shepherd named Forni could make a fearsome foe, but is actually quite friendly (if distrustful of smallfok, given their prejudices). The party could activate an ancient dwarven construct named 2B with the right knowledge, or aid a wounded dwarf scout who ends up with a familial connection to one of the ghosts.

Combat encounters include fighting wolves, a giant spider, and even a green dragon wyrmling, though they’re always optional. The flowchart provides a balance of scenes that lead the party to discovering at least one of the helpful NPCs, and their choices determine the next scene. It’s a brilliant way to structure a series of “random” encounters while giving the PCs’ plenty of options.

dms guild review

This scene-by-scene organization doesn’t work quite as well for the following two chapters, however. There’s a reason dungeons are organized by location. It’s needlessly complicated to look up which scene happens in which location. The maps for the castle also use Dyson Logos’ minimalist style, which I’ve never been a fan of.

The top of the castle (Ch. 2) is completely empty but features lots of exploration and story-telling moments. In the ruins beneath (Ch. 3) we discover the restless ghosts, but instead of attacking the party they’re all still engaged in the activities they were doing before, like a healer preparing medicine, or a child playing tag.

None of it is meant to be horrific or violent, but melancholy and investigative. Even the climax involves a skill challenge as the party performs a festival to release the ghosts, though it could also lead to battling the ghostly bard who caused them to remain behind – or the party could simply kill all the ghosts and be done with the whole ordeal.

D&D groups who are more used to kicking down doors, fighting monsters, and earning loot may find this a disappointing module. But it’s a rare treat when I feel the need to add a few random battles to break up the heavy role-playing and exploration of an adventure, and Songs of Aedragard is worth exploring.

Pros:

  • Beautiful layout.
  • Excellent notes for role-playing and conversing with NPCs.
  • Flow chart with multiple paths of scripted encounters for Chapter 1.
  • Multiple endings and epilogues depending on character choices and successes.
  • Notes for incorporating the adventure into published campaigns and other settings.

Cons:

  • Dyson Logos map.
  • Organizing by Scenes in Ch 2. and 3 is needlessly confusing.

The Verdict: Songs of Aedragard is a beautifully written low-level adventure that focuses on role-playing and story-telling in a haunted castle.

A review copy of “Songs of Aedragard” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using affiliate links for shopping and pledging via Patreon.

Author: roguewatson

Freelance Writer

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