DMs Guild Review – The Evil at Ra Manor

Uncover a vampire infestation at a local manor in this 5th level urban adventure.

A review copy of “The Evil at Ra Manor” 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: Lars Erik Eriksen

The Evil at Ra Manor is a two-part dungeon crawling adventure for fifth level that begins at a brothel and ends with some old fashioned vampire-hunting.

The party is hired by the owner of a high-class brothel, The Little Pleasures, to investigate a series of missing employees.

The brothel is located in the town of Ti-Ek-Saz. Very little information is provided about this town other than the two locations used in this adventure: the brothel, and the manor.

I was nervous reading about a fully interactive brothel in a TTRPG, but The Little Pleasures is quite inclusive and respectful. It’s also a treasure trove of information. The party can learn valuable clues (as well as untrue rumors), and even gain solutions to puzzles they haven’t found yet for the upcoming dungeon crawl.

With plenty of rooms to explore, eavesdropping, role-playing, and investigating, the brothel is essentially a non-combat dungeon. It’s a great start, though still badly need need of explicit content warnings and advice for handling a brothel in a TTRPG — not to mention that fact that PCs have the option of role-playing the employees to gain information!

Once they’re ready, the story shifts to the Ra Manor, where the rest of the adventure plays out. Getting into the manor is sadly underdeveloped, with only a few suggestions of obstacles to throw at the party.

Once inside, the manor is a massive 20+ room dungeon crawl with two floors, an attic, and a dungeon.

ra manor pic

There are plenty of fun traps and puzzles, including a classic sliding stairs trap that can split the party and dump them into the monster-filled dungeons.

The Earl can be found shackled to his bed in the second floor, unable to die while his vampire wife lives. She constantly feeds off him and forces him to sign important documents. He probably could’ve done a bit better for himself.

Vampires can be fun enemies given their usual melodramatic verbosity. But none of that is present here; the vampire matron Tara and her twin vampire spawn daughters may as well be feral beasts. There’s no dialogue or scripted events —a huge misstep for such potentially interesting foes.

In fact, the manor dungeon relies on random encounters with the reduced CR 8 vampire and her vampire spawn as the primary source of danger and combat. Simply roll a d12 and one of them might appear and attack! In what will surely be an incredibly one-sided, weird fight. Ugh.

There’s also no real narrative structure or conclusion. Finding (and presumably mercy-killing) the Earl is the only major step in the quest. Once you reach the dungeons (which could happen almost literally right away if you trigger the stairs-slide trap) it’s a simple matter of battling the vampires in their coffin rooms, then freeing the captives.

The vampires were kidnapping people to turn them into horrific beasts, for some reason. There’s some nasty mutilation and body horror near the end that also could’ve benefitted from content warnings. The entire rest of the manor is quite tame by comparison.

The adventure includes amazing original artwork that greatly enhances the presentation for the reader, as well as handouts for the floor tile puzzle solutions. But it’s brought back down again by plain, graph paper map art, a no-go for playing on VTT.

Pros:

  • The brothel works surprisingly well as a non-combat dungeon full of intrigue, role-playing, and investigation.
  • Large manor dungeon provides ample opportunity for socializing, fighting, and exploration.
  • Detailed NPC appendix organizes relevant plot information.
  • Wonderful, original artwork on nearly every page. (Artist: Christopher Leloup)

Cons:

  • Getting inside the manor is “left to the DM’s discretion.”
  • Lacks a satisfying narrative conclusion;  the “boss fight” is just another room.
  • Includes brothel role-playing, vampires, and multination, but lacks sufficient content warnings and DM advice.
  • Graph paper map art.

The Verdict: The Evil at RA Manor is a good old fashioned vampire lair dungeon crawl with some fun ideas, though its many narrative and design shortcomings hold it back.

A review copy of “The Evil at Ra Manor” 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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