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Is it awkward that my first review of 2022 is also one of the best products I’ve reviewed on the DMs Guild?
Dread Metrol is an awesome crossover between Eberron and Ravenloft, shunting a ruined city in the Mournlands into its own demiplane where an authoritarian Queen rules over an increasingly desperation populace, besieged every night by a never-ending army of undead.
The 100-page sourcebook is divided in half between the demiplane setting, and the accompanying level 1-3 adventure, “The Mourning After.”
The first 40 pages are stuffed full of well-written (and well-organized!) lore surrounding this intriguingly dark demiplane and its four-years long unwinnable siege, including a detailed backstory on Queen Dannel, the darklord of the demiplane, and a breakdown of the various locations that make up the city.
The horrors of this undead siege create an evocatively grimdark, urban setting, where the Queen’s soldiers patrol the streets, people are abducted and turned into half-metal creatures of war, and entire districts have been lost to the ravenous undead.
The inhabiting Dragonmarked Houses have turned to dark arts and horrifying biological experimentation, while a resistance force called the Unbroken fights back against the oppressive Queen, using violent methods that often create more death and destruction.
It’s a bad place, but one rife for adventure.
Several pages are dedicated to creating adventures, and adventurers, in the dread plane, including using Reconstructed NPC templates (cyborgs!), and the equivalent PC version in the form of a new Artificer subclass, the steel-fisted Mastermaker.
Dread Metrol would be an incredible product just for the first half alone. But it also includes a full, 40+ page adventure that nearly rivals that of Lost Mine of Phandelver in length and scope, albeit with far fewer dungeon crawls and open world exploration.
“The Mourning After” offers two different introductions, with one using standard adventurers from Eberron being drawn into the mists. The other, darker introduction features the PCs as natives of the demiplane, probably survivors of some terrible experiments and/or haunted by the events around them.
Either way, Part Two drops them into the Kennels Research Compound as prisoners ready to be experimented on. Their imprisonment is cut short by a break-in and subsequent escape.
What follows is a series of fun chase sequences, NPC meetings, betrayals, and shady dealings. It’s all very immersive — at the cost of being extremely linear.
Once the PCs touch base with the Unbroken resistance and prove their worth, they’re sent on a mission back to the Kennels to break into the Research Laboratory and destroy a particularly gruesome experiment. The result is a unique dungeon crawl full of mad scientists and dark creations, which could also serve as a solid drop-in dungeon for other campaigns.
The adventure includes over 20 statblocks, with several new creatures and unique NPCs, as well as full color, detailed grid battle maps, designed by Andrew Bishkinskyi with Inkarnate. The entire product features a professional layout and design that easily rivals official 5e content.
Eberron fans, Ranveloft fans, and D&D fans in general shouldn’t miss this unique setting.
- 40 pages of lore, factions, and locations of the Domain of Metrol.
- Lengthy details and history on the Darklord Queen, including a statblock!
- Suggestions, tips, and tables for crafting adventures, and creating adventures, in the Domain of Metrol.
- New artificer subclass, Mastermaker.
- “The Mourning After” adventure is an atmospheric urban adventure for demiplane natives and newcomers alike.
- Adventure includes 20+ statblocks and several full color battle maps.
The Verdict: Dread Metrol transforms a fallen city of Eberron into an intriguing Ravenloft demiplane; it’s one part detailed sourcebook, one part gritty urban adventure, and one hundred percent awesome.
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