Beauty & Blood
By Thilo Graf
This adventure from Adventureaweek.com is 36 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page credits/ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 33 pages of content, so let’s check this out!
This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion.
Still here All right! Iversdam is a prosperous, harmonious small village, the land of the nearby Silwood belonging to a beneficent druid who guides loggers and the village and ensures harmony between civilization and nature – until a nymph enters the Silwood, harms the druid and starts slaying villagers. After arriving in town (and potentially stocking up on cold iron weapons at the conveniently in town trader), they are quickly briefed by the druid and warned that another adventuring group went missing when checking for some mites. The PC’s task is set – find the group and the nymph and deal with her – preferably without killing her.
Easier said than done, though -Daphne has convinced some mountain wolves and a dire version to guard the forest and in order to go anywhere, the PC will have o pass them – by blade, wiles or animal empathy. Now in the forest the mites turn out to be rather capable adversaries with deadly traps, their verminous breed and so on – after shot while, the PCs will find their predecessors and an enraged grizzly bear, which proved to be the undoing of the luckless adventurers.
Hopefully, the PCs don’t dilly-dally, for the other two mites with their verminous mounts are in the process of torturing the dryad-ally of Oswald, while curing the skin of her sister. Finally reaching Oswald’s home, the PCs will have to brave another grizzly among the numerous beehives used by the druid to brew his favourite mead as well as a redcap, who drove the ursine mammals into such a frenzy. The lone survivor of the other adventuring group can also be found here – now, by her report (if they can get the drunken elven maid to talk) and by interacting with the surviving dryads, the PCs may find the location of the hidden grove where Daphne now lairs – guarded once again by a rather big pack of mountain wolves. Hopefully the PCs negotiate, for Daphne is no pushover either and curing the nymph will be quite a feat – possessed by a magical amulet that drives her paranoid, the PCs will have to be up to their game and make her helpful in order to get the amulet from her. So strong is the curse, though, that the nymph will try her best to regain it before 24 hours have elapsed and the curse is truly broken.
The adventure also provides stats for the dryad-skin material, mite weaponry and the cursed amulet as well as magical honey.
Editing and formatting are good, though not top-notch – I noticed several minor glitches à la missing “h”s in the name Daphne etc. Layout adheres to AaW’s two-column standard with its parchment style background. Artworks are ok and cartography is awesome – the 3 maps also come as a player-friendly version to hand out, which is always neat. The pdf comes in two versions, one being printer-friendly and Herolab-files, though as per the writing of this review not yet done, will be provided for the module. Author Benjamin Medrano has created a nice little sidetrek module, which, while not special in its execution, has a certain charm, flows logically from encounter to encounter without feeling too railroady and should make for a neat session. It’s most distinct and perhaps coolest aspect is that many situations of the module can be solved by non-violent means and that the climax can be simply a rather tense negotiation in which failure on the PC’s behalf might mean that they are fed to the wolves – literally! All in all, Beauty & Blood has managed to cram a lot of nice ideas into the scant few pages of length and makes for a worthwhile module that is not yet outstanding. Nevertheless, congratulations to author Benjamin Medrano for a well-deserved final rating of 4 stars.
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