DMs Guild Review – Rescue at Brightwell

Sneak behind enemy lines to rescue a spy in this military-heist adventure for levels 3-4.

dms guild review

A review copy of “Rescue at Brightwell” 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: Matthew Wulf

Countries at active war is a common backdrop in many video game RPGS (particularly JRPGs), but a rarity in D&D. Rescue at Brightwell drops the player characters into a military-themed heist mission, tasked with rescuing a valuable spy behind enemy lines.

At fewer than 20 pages, Rescue at Brightwell could be run as a one-shot adventure, which works even better with the exciting in medias res introduction. The story kicks off with the player characters as level 3-4 soldiers of the Belford army, a kingdom at war with Peldadrin over a large diamond deposit on their borders.

In the first page, their commanding officer is killed by a hobgoblin ambush, leaving the players to continue their rescue mission alone. Their mission is to infiltrate the occupied town of Brightwell and recover Private Geth Heston, a spy who may have uncovered valuable information.

Before making it to the town, the party runs into a patrol of Peldadrin soldiers, which they can talk, sneak, or fight their way past. That classic trio of choices extends to the entire adventure. The PCs are given multiple options to make it inside the fortified hamlet, including scaling the walls or deceiving the guards.

Once inside they’re free to explore the limited buildings and NPCs, like Elder Kendra, the town’s dragonborn leader, and Violet, the goblin blacksmith. The important NPCs are each given a paragraph of information, as well as their trait, ideal, bond, and flaw.

The one twist that the adventure presents is that the town isn’t happy with this occupying force, who have currently set up shop in their temple. In fact, if the PCs tarry long enough, the town will organize its own revolt and attack the soldiers (and be swiftly put down and the Elder publicly executed, but hey – it’s also a distraction!).

dms guild

It’s up to the party on how they conceal their identity and infiltrate the temple, distract soldiers, question towns-folk, or try to capture soldiers to gain information. The goal is to rescue the spy inside the temple, but how that happens is completely up to the PCs. It’s interesting to remember that defeating the enemy forces are not part of the mission, and players should be encouraged to treat this as a heist rather than a frontal assault.

The heist works well, and I’m satisfied with the amount of freedom, information, and events that play out, despite the very short run-time. My chief complaint is that the story is a bit too straightforward and simplistic. There are no real surprises or twists along the way. The adventure also lacks that D&D flavoring. I expected the spy to be an exotic creature, or maybe the information he uncovered is some kind of magic artifact, instead of just another diamond deposit. 

I am impressed with the maps, however. While the product’s layout is nothing special, it includes multiple full color maps for each encounter, including a nice little map of the town, with DM, player, and grid-less versions in a separate .zip file. Rescue at Brightwell is a short, but well-designed heist/rescue mission that could make an effective action-packed one-shot.

Pros:

  • Exciting start with a deadly ambush.
  • Multiple paths and avenues for the party to succeed in their mission, including socially, stealthily, and forcibly.
  • Full color battle maps for each encounter.

Cons:

  • A little too short and simple.

The Verdict: Rescue at Brightwell executes on a relatively simple premise while granting the player character soldiers a satisfying amount of freedom and choices.

A review copy of “Rescue at Brightwell” 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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