DMs Guild Review – The Blood Hunter

A solo adventure specifically designed for a level 5 blood hunter (and their bard sidekick).

dms guild

A review copy of “The Blood Hunter” 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: Anthony Joyce

The Blood Hunter is a solo adventure that cleverly draws inspiration from popular action-adventure genre TV shows such as The Witcher and The Mandalorian. It’s designed for a single fifth level Blood Hunter, and is extremely well-crafted, with beautiful artwork and full color maps.

Solo adventures are designed for two players, a DM and a player. The Blood Hunter takes things even further, requiring the player to play as a specific class, the Blood Hunter, a “fight fire with fire” monster hunter designed by Critical Role’s Matthew Mercer (and freely available on DnD Beyond).

It’s a very niche setup but the result is a solidly crafted adventure that cleverly plays to the blood hunter’s strengths.

The 20-page adventure is divided into four chapters, beginning with our hero reaching the end of a werewolf hunt, and our first major twist – the werewolf is a kindly old beet farmer. The old woman has been able to resist her lycanthropy all her life, but her age has made her finally succumb to the curse and murder a pair of teenagers, creating an interesting moral dilemma for our hero.

After dealing with the werewolf, our hero returns to Phandalin and the quest-giver Harbin Wester.

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Most D&D players should recognize Phandalin by now. The Lost Mine of Phandelver remains one of the most popular introductory adventures for D&D Fifth Edition.

I was initially annoyed at retreading this same location yet again (as Wizards of the Coast did for the Dragon of Icespire Peak). Thankfully it doesn’t re-use any of the dungeons, and a Redbrand bandit attack of your soon-to-be bard sidekick is a fun callback.

The real adventure begins when Mordenkainen himself shows up in town. He gives the player a quest to rescue a child from a green hag in the nearby swamps, and offers some magic items as a boon. I love the use of Mordy as a mysteriously cryptic quest-giving NPC, and appreciate the organized and fluid approach to writing NPC dialogue as bullet points.

The Swamps of Gilgar is where the bulk of the adventure takes place. Instead of a traditional dungeon crawl, the swamp is organized as a non-linear series of areas with branching paths. Even more interesting, the entire swamp is covered in a magical fog, requiring the blood hunter to pass Survival checks or start over at the beginning.

Normally teleporting to the entrance of a dungeon would be frustrating as hell. But in this case it could motivate players to take different paths and explore the scripted events in each area.

Swamp encounters include a crippled manticore who could serve as an interesting ally, a hilariously deranged bullywug “emperor,” a creepily deceptive will o’ wisp, and a pair of victims of the green hag who previously tried to assault her lair (and steal the child), with deadly consequences.

The green hag makes her home in an awesome hollowed-out Giant’s skull. Full color, detailed maps are provided for each location in the adventure, including separate DM and player handouts. Elven Tower is one of my favorite map-makers. Along with amazing original artwork by Gordon McAlpin, The Blood Hunter is one of the most aesthetically pleasing adventures I’ve ever reviewed.

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The hag creates another interesting choice for our heroic hunter. She’s not the evil boss we might have expected. Her neutrality is explored during her macabre explanations via the foes she’s slain in the swamp, including the now undead hobgoblins who continue to haunt the region. The blood hunter can choose to fight her (even allying with a wight in the process), or destroy the undead as she gladly hands over the child she’s been protecting.

Unfortunately the adventure ends at this tantalizing cliffhanger. We have no idea who this drow baby is or why he’s so important. The adventure offers some speculations, including the reincarnation of the drow boss in Lost Mine of Phandelver. But the adventure feels incomplete, like if The Mandalorian simply ended after the first episode.

In addition to appendices full of maps and journal handouts, the adventure also includes over a dozen concoctions. The blood hunter can craft these unique potions from slain monsters with a Nature check (and a gold cost), creating a fun, personalized system of temporary buffs.

Despite its niche status, I’m extremely impressed with this solo adventure. It hits all the right notes of an episode of your favorite action-adventure TV show while providing plenty of room for the player to make meaningful choices and explore at their own pace. I would absolutely love to see the designer and artists continue to collaborate on a series of solo adventures for all the other classes – as well as continuing this intriguing storyline for The Blood Hunter.

Pros:

  • Gorgeous layout and original artwork.
  • Effective solo adventure emphasizing the Blood Hunter’s strengths.
  • Full color grid and region maps by Elven Tower with separate DM and Player handouts.
  • 14 Blood Hunter concoctions with rules for harvesting monster parts.

Cons:

  • Feels like the end of the first episode of a much bigger story.

The Verdict: With incredible artwork, professional layout, and an adventure inspired by popular genre TV shows, The Blood Hunter is an effective solo adventure that capitalizes on the class’ themes and strengths.

A review copy of “The Blood Hunter” 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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