DMs Guild Review – The Girl Who Woke the Dead

Protect a mysterious young woman who possesses the power of resurrection in this one-shot adventure for 3rd level.

A review copy of “The Girl Who Woke the Dead” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

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

Designed by: Tal Aviezer (Full disclosure: Tal Aviezer is a patron subscriber)

Aveizer’s previous adventure, Secrets of the Blind Palace, remains one of my favorite adventures on the DMs Guild — I even ran it as a live streamed Halloween one-shot back in 2019.

The Girl Who Woke the Dead isn’t nearly as big or involved. There’s no dungeon crawl or big bad villain. It’s designed for level three parties and encompasses only a single area, and a single NPC. It’s essentially an escort mission turned into an effective D&D side quest, with an impressive series of realistic and rewarding events that force the players to confront some serious questions into the nature of death.

The short 14-page adventure is centered around a mysterious young woman known as Vitae. She’s an amnesiac celestial on the material plane, with no recollection of who she is or where she came from, and neither is it explained for DMs. She has the normal stats of a commoner except for increased hit points and an incredible gift: she can cast the spell Raise Dead once per day.

Vitae uses this gift as a divine calling, raising anyone and everyone she comes across, including animals. Adventure hooks include a faction or church sending the party out to investigate this possible heretic/prophet; someone the party knows as dead mysteriously returning to life and pointing to her as the source; or someone from Phandalin, the town from Lost Mine of Phandelver, sending the party out to check on her.

The woman has recently fled to Old Owl Well to avoid persecution by those who would seek to exploit her or destroy her. The adventure is divided into five  parts, with each part representing a different scene of travelers paying a visit, with an assortment of agendas and beliefs (including exploitation and destruction). The party chooses how to deal with each group, and ultimately determines the fate of Vitae.

girl who woke dead

It’s an intriguing concept for a straightforward side quest. Vitae has great power yet isn’t capable of physically defending herself, and she’s a bit naïve about how her actions have serious consequences.

For example, one of the scenes involves a contingent of holy knights with a prisoner. They exclaim that they put the convicted prisoner to death several days ago, yet recently found him alive. Vitae had found the hanging body and resurrected him, as she does not discriminate on whom to use her powers on.

The entire sequence could turn into an allegory for the health care system in the United States, as the Knights of Torm bestow healing on those who can pay for it (to help fund their programs, including orphanages and monster-fighting warriors), whereas Vitae gifts her powers freely, and argues as such with the knights.

It’s a deliciously complex issue for players to work with — or they could simply turn it into a combat encounter. The designer acknowledges optional endings and branching outcomes if the party makes certain decisions, such as allowing Vitae to be arrested by the knights, or convincing her to accept the job offer from the priest of Waukeen (a hilariously schmoozy salesman with the personality of a game show host).

At the end, a group of monks from Kelemvor show up with a dead deer. They don’t talk much, but everyone can observe as different animals come to feast on the carcass. The monks make the point that death serves an important purpose, adding another moral quandary for Vitae and the party to consider.

Each of these scenes takes place on the same Old Owl Well location, which is instantly recognizable from anyone who has played Lost Mine of Phandelver. A full color grid map is included, making this a very easy mission to run, and one that’s easily adapted to any campaign.

My only complaint, aside from the plain white layout, is the lack of a proper ending. After the Kelemvor monks make their point, the adventure ends with a whimper. The party is expected to have chosen one of those groups for Vitae, but there’s no satisfying ending if they don’t. I would’ve appreciated some options thrown in, including a contingency plan if the party thinks to add an NPC with such a critically powerful ability into their own party.

 Pros:

  • A pivotal NPC and a morally complex series of choices and events.
  • Easily dropped into any adventure or campaign, especially Lost Mine at Phandelver.
  • APL adjustments for combat encounters.
  • Meaningful player choices and branching outcomes.

Cons:

  • Plain white layout.
  • No epilogue.

The Verdict: The Girl Who Woke the Dead transforms a relatively simple escort mission into an intriguing and highly adaptable one-shot adventure.

A review copy of “The Girl Who Woke the Dead” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

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

Author: roguewatson

Freelance Writer

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