DMs Guild Review – Veratrem’s Tribal Siege

Save a village from a green dragon’s kobold army in this level 6 drop-in adventure.

This review has been sponsored by the publisher. Find more reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

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

Designed by: T.M. van Dalen

Storm King’s Thunder‘s infamous third chapter is an open-world adventure encompassing a relatively large chunk of the Forgotten Realms. It doesn’t take much to slot any adventure into that framework, yet Veratrem’s Tribal Siege, a mini-adventure for level 6, works especially well as a bridge between the Triboar siege in Chapter two and the rest of the campaign.

Veratrem is a young green dragon, and like any dragon has aspirations of greatness. He’s carved out a lair in Westwood forest, along with his own army of kobolds. With the giants running amok around the world, he’s decided now’s the time to launch an attack on the small town near his borders, Wealdham.

Wealdham is located south of Triboar, where our adventure begins with an escort mission to deliver a shipment along the The Long Road toward Waterdeep.

Escorting a caravan? A dragon attacking a village? A cave full of kobolds? This is about as cliché as it gets for a D&D adventure. Yet the sincerity of the story and the overall production values helped sell this drop-in adventure.

The adventure assumes we’re playing Storm King’s Thunder, but technically works just as well as a stand-alone. In SKT chapter two, the party could tackle one (or more) city sieges at Bryn Shander, Goldenfields, and Triboar. Obviously Triboar would be the better pick for this adventure, but the party could simply travel there later on, and then launch into this adventure afterward, which then sets them on the road south toward Wealdham.

The adventure is organized in Adventurer’s League standards, which means short, easy-to-read chapters with estimated durations, a helpful story flowchart, and average party level adjustments for encounters. We even get a pronunciation guide! I also enjoyed seeing big, half-page artwork on nearly every page, including full color, detailed battle maps of the kobold cave dungeon (with grid and non-gridded player versions).

veratrem ch 2

The road trip is detailed in chapter two, which includes a d8 table of random encounters for DMs to choose from, not all of which are simple combat encounters, such as Zephyros’ cloud castle flying overhead, or a scared traveler who can foreshadow the upcoming hill giant encounter.

The major road encounter is a pair of hill giants, Rug and Zog, who are waylaying travelers from a ruined trading post. A battle map is included for the encounter, along with some suggested tactics for the dumb brutes. I wish a bit more information was provided for the giants, particularly if players want to attempt stealthy or social approaches.

The party arrives in Wealdham in chapter three, which includes several locations and NPCs to interact with. This is not a hub town with multiple quests, however. When the party delivers the goods to the trading post, Veratrem launches his titular siege on the town using his army of kobolds.

The army consists of four groups of a dozen kobolds each (including some winged kobolds). I would’ve loved to see interesting complications and scenarios for parties to deal with, such as burning buildings and rescuing townsfolk, but the siege is quickly described in only half a page. The dragon himself never actually attacks, preferring to stay back and let his minions do the work, like any BBEG.

When the attack is thwarted, the party can track the kobolds back to their lair in the fourth chapter. The kobold caverns is where the bulk of the adventure lies, a trap-filled, sprawling cave system full of twisting dead-ends and numerous opportunities for the forewarned kobolds to fight back and hobble the party.

Kobolds means traps, and the Verdantskin tribe lair has plenty of ’em. Collapsing ceilings, burning oil, pressure plate alarms, and a small, parallel tunnel where kobolds stab you from tiny holes. The cave lair has multiple levels to help confound the party and give the kobolds even greater advantage in sneaking around and dumping swarms of insects on their faces.

Suffice to say, if your players aren’t fond of kobolds and traps, this is probably not the adventure for you.

The finale is a straightforward battle with the ambitious young green dragon, most likely with a scale sorcerer ally. There aren’t any big twists or revelations in the dungeon; not even a captured NPC to interact with. Yet once again the high-quality art and professional design helped sell me on this simple but effective adventure design. Sometimes we just want to crawl through dungeons and fight dragons, dang it!

Upon heading back to Wealdham as heroes, the townsfolk can provide effective quest and story hooks to other areas of Storm King’s Thunder, including Moongleam Tower in Everlund, a birthday party in Amphail, and the riverboat casino in Yartar. It would’ve been easy to label this adventure as a SKT tie-in with few actual ties, but I appreciate the work to integrate these campaign elements into the beginning and end.

While I had some quibbles throughout, none of them stood out as particularly egregious. The relatively simple adventure design is smartly elevated with its quality maps, solid structure, and superb organization. An uncomplicated adventure isn’t necessarily lacking in rewarding D&D gameplay, and Veratrem’s Tribal Siege is the perfect example.

Pros:

  • Easy to run, well-organized side quest adventure that actually features s dungeon and a dragon!
  • Helpful connections to Storm King’s Thunder.
  • Several full color, detailed maps with grid and grid-less versions for players.
  • APL adjustments for major combat encounters.
  • Professional layout and design, with evocative art on nearly every page.

Cons:

  • None!

The Verdict: A dragon attacking a village isn’t the most original adventure idea, but Veratrem’s Tribal Siege is a satisfying drop-in side quest thanks to high-quality maps, excellent organization, and a well-designed kobold dungeon crawl.

This review has been sponsored by the publisher Find more 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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