DriveThruRPG Review – Adventures from the Potbellied Kobold

Collection of 15 mini-adventures ranging from 2nd to 9th level, from some of the biggest designers in 5E.

A review copy of “Adventures from the Potbellied Kobold: 15 Adventures for 5E” was provided by the publisher. Find more reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

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

Designed by: Jeff Stevens Games, with writing by Alan Tucker, Alex Clippinger, Catherine Evans, Cody Faulk, Greg Marks, Hannah Rose, James Introcaso, Jean Headley, Jeff C. Stevens, JVC Parry, Kat Kruger, Maxine Henry, Mike Shea, MT Black, Oliver Darkshire, Shawn Merwin, Toni Winslow-Brill, Tony Petrecca

Adventures from the Potbellied Kobold is a goofy name for a seriously weighty tome (170+ pages!): a collection of 15 mini one-shot adventures, ranging from levels two to nine, from some of the biggest names in D&D adventure design.

Similar to Candlekeep Mysteries, Potbellied Kobold includes over a dozen stand-alone mini-adventures for D&D 5E, in a broad range of genres and styles.

The titular kobold, who is really a cursed gnome wizard, plays an optional role in linking ten of the adventures to create a loose campaign. Using her magic book, Krisalee Tingletoe, aka the Potbellied Kobold, gets wind of each of these adventures, acting as the party’s primary quest-giver while asking for unique items and ingredients from each quest to undo her curse. Considering the adventures in Candlekeep Mysteries had no narrative ties whatsoever (other than they all began with books), I appreciate the option.

Each adventure is fewer than 10 pages and designed for three hours or less. Eight of them are Tier 1 (levels 2-4) while the rest are Tier 2 (levels 5-9). Sadly none of the adventures venture into Tier 3, though I realize most D&D games rarely reach that far anyway.

The overall quality is impressive; while I didn’t fall in love with every adventure, there wasn’t a single one that was was poorly designed or boring.

house of fire

Most adventurers would assume undead problems when investigating an abandoned manor in “Tinker, Tailor, Goblin, Die!”, and while the ghost of the original owner does hang around, it’s his construct friends that party will have to deal with. I love how it plays on the absurd as clues, like a giant tree in the dining room (awakened tree) or a desk in the garden (mimic).

In “Redeemed with Fire,” a criminal mastermind pulls the party into a noble family’s drama of a runaway noble, and a fiery trap. Quickly recover sacred bones from a sinking cemetery in the swamp in “Blue Moon,” gather allies in a tower to defeat a transformed green dragon in Orb of Envy, and escape an extradimensional library in “Athenaeum of Dust,” whose book-based beginnings would’ve fit perfectly in Candlekeep Mysteries.

There are epic dungeon crawls, as with the awesome trap-filled and puzzle-filled clockwork dungeon of “Clunkspindle’s Cockwork Conundrum,” and intriguing social situations, such as Murder at Sable Mansion, which is basically Clue meets John Carpenter’s The Thing. Brilliant!

The huge anthology is filled with artwork, including many NPC portraits, though some are inlaid better than others. I wasn’t a big fan of the font or textual layout, however. All of the text appears to be bolded, making it hard to differentiate between important information, such as creatures.

One huge plus with these adventures: the maps! Every single adventure includes at least one full color, detailed battle map, which are also included as separate, grid-less image files for each use on a virtual tabletop. Multiple artists bring to life everything from slime-filled caves to labyrinthine libraries and a healer’s home for retired adventurers.

The anthology also includes over 30 statblocks from Kobold Press’ Tomb of Beasts and Creature Codex, as many of the adventures make use of these creatures. And a final bonus: four new player character backgrounds, each with their own d6 tables of traits, bonds, flaws, and ideals.

With such an impressive collection of fun and interesting stories, Adventures from the Potbellied Kobold is easily one of the best adventure products of the year.

Pros:

  • 15 short but excellent mini-adventures, covering a wide variety of genres and playstyles.
  • Optional, overarching quest chain starring the titular kobold loosely ties 10 of the adventures together.
  • Encounter scaling suggestions, and alternate options from Tomb of Beasts and Creature Codex (30+ statblocks included in this supplement).
  • Each adventure features a full color, detailed battle map, plus NPC and monster tokens
  • Four character backgrounds.

Cons:

  • Unattractive font and text layout makes it hard to pinpoint important information, such as enemies.
  • Only tier 1 and 2 adventures.

The Verdict: Investigate a home for retired adventurers, solve a murder mystery at a noble manor, survive a clockwork dungeon crawl and much more in this excellent collection of short and sweet one-shot adventures.

A review copy of “Adventures from the Potbellied Kobold: 15 Adventures for 5E” was provided by the publisher. Find more 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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