DMs Guild Review – Bloodties Anthology Volume 1: Bloodstained

A collection of 12 horror themed mini-adventures for levels 1-10.

DMs Guild review

A review copy of “Bloodties Anthology Volume 1: Bloodstained” 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: Darren Kenny, with Ana Paula RebolledoAran MoonBeth BallCindy ButorDaylight PublicationsHiten DaveJay DavidsonJürgen HubertKai LinderLeanne JohnsonMiłosz GawęckiTyler Mahoney

Bloodties Anthology Volume 1 offers 12 mini-adventures for levels 1-10, centered around horror themes such as a plant-based blood plague, monstrous science experiments, dark gods and evil cults, and a good old fashioned circus of horrors.

The anthology is designed to support and promote new creators, while infusing their ideas and adventures with higher quality art and editing. The results are impressive; I never wouldn’t known these were first-time or relatively new creators. The layout and editing is top-notch, though some adventures are a bit too wordy for their own good.

Each adventure is well-organized, including an adventure overview or synopsis right at the beginning, typically followed by background information and the cast of important characters.

The adventures are generally short and simple, usually fewer than 20 pages (not including appendices) and centered around a different subgenre of horror, such as mad scientist, house of horrors, dark forest, or evil cult.

DMs guild

The best adventures feature a solid balance of story, exploration, and combat wrapped in a fun idea. “The Mad Lab of Dr. Zakari” is an obvious take on The Island of Dr. Moreau, with the players infiltrating the lab of the mad druid while fending off mutated horrors. Brave PCs can even sign up for the mutant treatment, receiving a new body modification with its own benefits and flaws.

“The Whitestone Affair” begins as a search for a missing person that leads to a dark cult and an evil god. Midway through, the PCs can choose between two distinct paths depending on if they want to gather information from a friendly beholder, or an imprisoned demon.

“Verdant Growth” reminded me of Resident Evil. The villagers of a town have been transforming into terrifying infected plant monsters, and the party must trace the disease back to the killer blood root plant in an alchemist’s basement.

“Corrupted Veins” makes good use of ghostly visions as cutscenes to recount the downfall of a group of people, while “The House of Sacrifices” is a pretty awesome recreation of the last third of Cabin in the Woods.

dms guild

I was particularly impressed with the detailed appendices included in each adventure, especially the huge number of unique monster statblocks. Each adventure also includes grid maps, but most are a plain black and white style, or are clearly intended for DM’s eyes only.

I didn’t enjoy all the adventures included in the anthology. At over 4o pages long, “Crimson Well” was way too wordy and bloated, and neither of the dark forest adventures were particularly memorable. Two of the adventures didn’t fit the horror theme very well, sending the PCs off to exotic adventuring locations to deal with demons and vampires. But none of them were straight-up bad, and the overall quality of the anthology is satisfyingly consistent.

Pros:

  • 12 Horror themed mini-adventures with a variety of subgenre themes and tropes.
  • Each adventure is well-organized, including plot hooks, adventure summaries, and grid maps.
  • Most adventures include lengthy appendices detailing monster stablocks, encounter tables, or additional lore and information.

Cons:

  • Unattractive, bare maps.
  • A few of the adventures are more adventure than horror.

The Verdict: From dark forests to evil gods and mutant monstrosities, Bloodties Anthology Volume 1 features a consistent quality of horror themed mini-adventures.

A review copy of “Bloodties Anthology Volume 1: Bloodstained” 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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