DMs Guild Review – Tales from the World’s End

An encounter book featuring 16 horror-themed events, boss battles, and mini-adventures.

A review copy of “Tales from the World’s End” 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: Miłosz Gawęcki, Bobby EllisHiten DaveJames DoddsKathleen HarringtonLogan SmithLucas ZellersNikolas TotiefSaga MackenzieVall Syrene

Even if you’re not a Lovecraft connoisseur, you’re probably aware of the themes and tropes: entire villages of secret cultists, powerful evil that is uncaring yet dangerous, and lots and lots of body horror. And probably tentacles.

Tales from the World’s End is an encounter book featuring 16 eldritch horror-themed encounters and mini-adventures. It’s full of creepy lakes, creepy oceans, creepy forests, creepy pits, creepy villagers, and lots of suitably terrifying monsters.

The nearly 90-page encounter book is dripping with theme, and not just the actual content. The book is a work of art, with black pages, evocative sketch art, and letters that feature cursive writing on parchment paper between a Peddler and Librarian, who may as well be Rod Serling and Vincent Price.

These “grim correspondence” are found throughout the entire book, drawing me into the immersive horror of each new encounter.

The encounters range from 3rd level up to 12th, with the majority in the classic level 3-8 range where most D&D is played. Most feature nightmare-fuel boss fights that represent deadly battles for their level range.

I’m particularly impressed with the custom statblocks for these Lovecraftian horrors. The monstrous, tentacled plant monster in “The Hobbes End Horror” can charm creatures to climb inside of it where it can consume them, transform them into a ghoul, then either feed on the ghoul to heal itself, or release it as a minion.

“Jackson’s Folly” features the exploration of an old fisher’s shack, who has recently been seen exhibiting strange behavior. His body is found inside the shack, while the diving suit that comes up from the water (at the most terrifying moment) is a lovely thing that attacks with restraining, barbed chains, and casts Arms of Hadar when its true form begins leaking out.

“Night of the Living Dreams,” is yet another custom monster-fight, but this one appears as a dream demon to anyone who casts from the cursed scroll, attacking the player the next time they sleep, Freddy Krueger style. I love that the PC has a chance to wrest control of the dream world (lair actions) with a contested Charisma check, and bring their allies into the fight.

night of dreams

Many of the encounters involve deranged or possessed townsfolk, or rituals that summon creatures (or both).

“Song of the Sea” has an amazing multi-pronged battle with a group of bards who recite a dangerous litany that begins transforming on-lookers into deep scions and casting various spells and effects. The party will have to intervene to stop the bards from their ultimate goal of summoning a nasty creature from the nearby water.

“Beckoning of the Bleak” is one of the few encounters that doesn’t feature a terrifying monster at the end, yet it’s one of my favorites. A crashed meteor created a deep pit that extends into a gateway of an unknown dimension of horror. Drinking the water around the newly formed lake isn’t a great idea, but villagers are gonna village, as the party investigates the odd memory effects, the missing people, and the terrible dreams.

All of the encounters utilize the eldritch horror theme to maximum effect, but some use their limited length better than others.

As much as I enjoy the climactic battle in “Song of the Sea,” I wish it had some proper build up beforehand. The spiraling crashed spaceship of “The Buried Vessel,” is a cool start, but doesn’t really go anywhere, and “All Hail the King” is little more than a big boss fight.

Many of the encounters include grid battle maps, especially if they feature a big boss fight (which most do). Unfortunately the maps lack color, but the art style does fit the rest of the sketch-book design of the book. When I love the layout this much, it’s unfair to complain about the maps.

Even as someone who doesn’t normally run many horror adventures or encounters, it’s impossible to not be impressed by the ideas, art, and creatures in Tales from the World’s End.

Pros:

  • Over a dozen eldritch horror-themed encounters and mini-adventures.
  • Many awesome new custom statblocks representing terrifying monsters.
  • Immersive layout and design, with evocative artwork and “grim correspondence.”
  • Helpful subheading includes quick overview, suggested level, and content warnings.

Cons:

  • Some of the encounters are too short for the story they’re trying to tell.
  • Needs an “About the Authors” section!

The Verdict: For fans of eldritch horror, Tales from the World’s End is an excellent collection of encounters and mini-adventures that feature all of the possessed villagers, dangerous nightmares, and tentacled monstrosities you could want.

A review copy of “Tales from the World’s End” 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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