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DDAL09-06 Infernal Insurgency
by Cameron E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/02/2024 14:53:08

I am in the process of running all of DDAL09 as a campaign, so will be reviewing each adventure as I run them. For context, I have run 7 adventures in this campaign already, a homebrew one where the party needs to get out of Elturel with as many civilians as possible as the city is being sucked into hell, and then Baldur's Gate: Fall of Elturel, also on DM's Guild for a different group of adventurers, finally I have run DDAL09-01 through DDAL09-05.

What I liked: This is a solid dungeon crawl, with a layered dungeon location to explore in The Dump. There is plenty to explore, fight, and negotiate with. There are some optional objectives that the players can decide to pursue or not to pursue as well as different approaches of attacking the base and infernal or abyssal monsters to collaborate or engage in conflict with. I really liked the ability for the party to get partial maps of the dump ahead of time and the secret areas not included in those maps that could still be found. It was a really great 10 hours of adventure split amongst 3 sessions. So I would also say this adventure is over-full, plenty to do!

What I didn't like:

The initial goal is unclear. I kept the general idea (pull resources away from Plagueshield Point) but there doesn't seem to be a good mechanism for destroying the forte, the bombs you're supposed to plant aren't defined, nor is there a way to succeed or fail at placing them in a particular location. Also, there is often discussion in the module about not being seen, but I feel as though the consequences for not taking a stealthy approach are not clear (other than more combat).

But still a solid structure and with the use of an adversary roster to run the dungeon it's a lot of fun!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL09-06 Infernal Insurgency
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DDAL09-05 Faces of Fortune: the Story of Fai Chen
by Cameron E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/02/2024 13:45:26

I am in the process of running all of DDAL09 as a campaign, so will be reviewing each adventure as I run them. For context, I ran 5 adventures in this campaign already, a homebrew one where the party needs to get out of Elturel with as many civilians as possible as the city is being sucked into hell, and then Baldur's Gate: Fall of Elturel, also on DM's Guild for a different group of adventurers, finally I have run DDAL09-01 through DDAL09-04.

What I liked: This is a fun adventure! Mahadi's Wandering Emporium is a GREAT central location to venture out from in Avernus. There are a bunch of great characters you meet and if you are a savvy DM you can look ahead and grab the NPCs from DDAL09-06 to fill it out even more. The adventure structure is a nice reason to tour through Mahadi's and the optional quests in the module add some fun combat. Overall just a solid adventure design in a memorable location that helps establish the tone of the rest of Avernus.

What I didn't like:

Starting in media res with a chase. The chase itself isn't great (infernal vehicles aren't statted, discouraging combat, but the chase mechanics aren't particularly interesting) and it takes too long. It's neat that it introduces the rust razors, but if I ran things again, I'd try and shorten it, adding more complications and not worrying about closing in for melee combat.

A great way to end the player character's time at Baldur's Gate, a very solid recommendation to anyone to run!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL09-05 Faces of Fortune: the Story of Fai Chen
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DDAL07-11 A Lesson in Love (5e)
by Roger M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/01/2024 12:02:32

A nice adventure once you rewrite half of it. And I didn't know I was doing it. The quest giver is interesting and so is the merchant house. But I drop half of Part 2 due to time and lack of interest and totally waved the water breathing spell. At the last moment I told the players just mark the cash off their sheet. I rewrote Jafray as being a ghost who was haunting the ship. Part 4 can be interesting or a bust. It will depend on the group.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL07-11 A Lesson in Love (5e)
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DDAL07-12 In Search of Secrets (5e)
by Roger M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/30/2024 10:14:08

This is dungeon crawl with only traps and one combat. But when a 11th cleric casting one spell (Heroes' Feast) can turn the dungeon from slightly dangerous to easy. And having auto trigger traps which a thief can not disarm is bad design. I added five to highest dc in each room to for a thieves tool check to make fun for the theif. My players were very not happy with the run through and begged me to try to make the ONLY fight deadly and I have to redo the map to fit more monster in.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL07-12 In Search of Secrets (5e)
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DDAL-DRW-INT-03 A Red Day for Elventree
by Harneys M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/25/2024 17:00:13

tl;dr Fun little intro adventure that should say 3-4 hours of play that has PC's travelling 180 miles in 1 day to warn of incoming danger. there are 3 stops and a final battle at the end. particularly deadly for lvl 1's. Would run again.

The good: great use of group skill checks lots of great RP opportunities great foreshadowing in the weather fun choose how you help mechanic at the final battle lots of options for adjusting the scene for the final battle

The bad: >better suited for PCs above lvl 1, few things could kill a lvl1 pc, giant kelp(3d6), flameskull could tpk with a fireball. >the travel section says it should take 30min, every single group wants to investigate every location and each one could take 30min each. >180 mile trek to elventree should take 6 days if moving at a fast pace per the dmg, but you do it in a few hours, up to you as DM to narrate accordingly. >PCs dont care to run away to warrant the optional chase sequence, they want to fight! >even though the PCs make hazards it does not tangibly do anything but potentially slow themselves down, there is no mechanic or excerpt that says 'if 3 hazard were made reduce the monsters at the final fight etc.' something to think about as the dm and adjust accordingly.

my experience: i ran this adventure 6 times for 2 hour blocks for 6 1s lvl pregen PCs, the first 3 games i ran out of time for the final fight and we just evacuated elven tree because they want to do each location even though i prefaced and told them they could possibly lose time and benefits at the end scene. The last 3 games i ran i only presented the first encounter with danmick then right to the final battle, this felt more in line with what the adventure time suggestion was. The final fight i turned into a tower defence game essentially, 100ft long, 25ft wide grid, the bad guys had to reach the harper house at the end and deal 100 dmg to it to 'destroy' elventree. i reduced the zombies and skeletons to 1 hit 1 kill and used the orc claw stat for the big bad and gave him 18ac and telling the PCs they need to fell the bbg to win.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL-DRW-INT-03 A Red Day for Elventree
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DDAL04-02 The Beast (5e) Expansion [OPTIONAL CONTENT]
by Dustin W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/07/2024 16:00:18

Adding new content around the Curse of Strahd campaign will always get me giddy to both run as a dm and (hopefully!) run into as a player, and for free? It's greatly appreciated!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL04-02 The Beast (5e) Expansion [OPTIONAL CONTENT]
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WBW-PR Lost Things
by Dustin W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/07/2024 15:56:56

Having us play as kids before the actual adventure starts? It makes for such a fun and interesting way to have a prelude to a fantastical story and added a much more personal feel later on!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
WBW-PR Lost Things
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City Guide: Mulmaster
by Dustin W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/07/2024 15:51:31

The map was alright, but the writing made me enjoy the most.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
City Guide: Mulmaster
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D&D Adventurers League Pack: The Wild Beyond the Witchlight
by Dustin W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/07/2024 15:48:08

There was so much thought put into turning this into an AL story, and it honestly looks lovely!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
D&D Adventurers League Pack: The Wild Beyond the Witchlight
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DDAL00-11 Pipyap's Guide to All of the Nine Hells
by Peter L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/29/2024 10:38:47

The Hells are reduced to a light coat of paint for generic scenarios. I wish there was more ambition here (I'm lost on what the motivation to produce this was). Players who want to experience the tension and drama of the Hells won't get it (the stakes are laughable--often literally) nor will DMs interested in Hell-lore be satisfied. The only positive I can give it is the presentation, but it's from the Adventurer's League so that's a given, not an added benefit.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL00-11 Pipyap's Guide to All of the Nine Hells
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DDAL09-04 The Day of the Devil
by Cameron E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/10/2024 14:56:51

I am in the process of running all of DDAL09 as a campaign, so will be reviewing each adventure as I run them. For context, I ran 4 adventures in this campaign already, a homebrew one where the party needs to get out of Elturel with as many civilians as possible as the city is being sucked into hell, and then Baldur's Gate: Fall of Elturel, also on DM's Guild for a different group of adventurers, finally I have run DDAL09-01 through DDAL09-03.

What I liked: This has been the high point of the campaign so far. Starts off with a bang, the party had spent time developing ties and relations with the Flaming Fists and refugees. I also introduced Duke Portyr earlier in the adventure to help develop a rapport with the group. I gave him sympathies to the Elturel refugees and it made his assassination very impactful, as well as the encounter with the devils in the crowd very chaotic. I also found that the chase was really fun for the players, but to incentivize them I changed two things. 1: I made it so they noticed the cultists (who were corrupt flaming fists from the previous adventure) going to the warehouse and were chasing them. 2: I had them overhear that other cultists were already at the warehouse to incentivize getting there as fast as possible and not fighting the traveling cultists, it became a race. The tracking of progress by landmarks was really really nice, I liked that bit of flavor. The defense of the warehouse was also a lot of fun, having the cultists come in both sides helped keep the party on their toes, really just fun overall. Same with the reveal about the angels and introduction of Fai Chen (although I forshadowed him to give some more impact).

What I didn't like: Small things.

  1. Gharizol needed to be a chain devil and have some buddies, he got burned down way to easily by my players, even when I bumped him up to a Barbed Devil. He also needed meatier thugs instead of just cultist statblocks. They were not real threats.
  2. Fai Chen needed some background info given, I did it myself, but it would have been nice in the module.

A great way to end the player character's time at Baldur's Gate, a very solid recommendation to anyone to run!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL09-04 The Day of the Devil
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DDAL09-03 Hungry Shadows
by Cameron E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/10/2024 14:45:47

I am in the process of running all of DDAL09 as a campaign, so will be reviewing each adventure as I run them. For context, I ran two adventures in this campaign already, a homebrew one where the party needs to get out of Elturel with as many civilians as possible as the city is being sucked into hell, and then Baldur's Gate: Fall of Elturel, also on DM's Guild for a different group of adventurers, finally I have run DDAL09-01 through DDAL09-02.

What I liked: Again, the idea here is really intruiging. Learning more about Gharizol and the cult of Zariel, a mystery involving someone being killed with no visible entry or exit. A secret cult lair to explore, this is good stuff!

What I didn't like: Again it comes down to the details. I basically took the idea and the maps and redid the map keys (which are poor) and the details. I game more info on the cult to discover and motivate the players, I gave a better sign of the summoning (and the fact that something killed Sands and then broke the door down out toward the secret entrance). I also think that the first optional quest doesn't add a lot of value as is. What I did was use it along with some general details to help the party discover the murder more naturally, pointing clues at Sands' house for them to go check it out without having to be told by the Flaming Fists. But the second Optional Quest doesn't feel optional, that is the conclusion of the adventure.

Two weak mysteries in a row, the nice thing is the investigations seem over now that Gharizol has been flushed out. And I have heard good things about the next adventure in the series!



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL09-03 Hungry Shadows
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DDAL-DRW-INT-03 A Red Day for Elventree
by Ron M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/09/2024 07:21:17

This is another good stand-alone Tier 1 adventure with a straightforward mission. I've run it once with 6 players, 4 4th level, 2 1st level. It was easy to keep the encounters balanced to challenge the 4ths but still allow the 1sts to feel as if they contributed. There are excellent opportunities for all three pillars to be enganged- exploration, combat, diplomacy. While it is stand alone, I found it easy to develop a link between INT01,02,and 04 to this one. I recommend running this one last if you plan to do it as a series. It is easy enough to tie the assault on Elventree to the mage and book theft in INT03.

That being said, out of the 4 INT modules, this is the one I struggled the most to run. In an effort to keep things simple to run, the module hand-waves the travel distance into a series of encounter way-points. Biut the distance is not insignificant, and SHOULD take multiple days, requiring multiple long rests to avoid exhaustion. I recommend to any DMs to develop their own charting system for successes and failures.

The beginning of the second section didn't make much sense to me. The village should evacuate no matter what with a huge army bearing down. So I added that one of the goals of a Thayan battleplan is to take as many prisoners as possible. Slaves and pre-undead are highly valuable. The gnome chief knows this. So I chaned the choices to a) hold the line in the main common area to delay the enemy long enough for the villagers to escape or b) screen and protect the villagers as they move through the forest.

In the second section, my group chose the chase. Now, chases are notoriously difficult to run in 5e. They are hard to visualize, and require a lot of hand-waving of distances, comabt reach, etc. And this one has a few problems that need specific adjustments and changes to allow for quick adjudication to keep the chase moving. The module states that the NPC mob will dash each round. That can quickly put them way out of reach of the enemy to hurt and the characters to help. So I implemented a statement that if a player wasn't within 60' of the NPC mob, they rolled at disadvantage on the complications table. After all, the purpose was to guide the NPCs and keep them safe. I also said that if the NPCs took damage that round from a complication, they could not dash. So I had to alter some of the one-time benefits from increasing movement to allowing a dash that round. I also had to adjudicate the use of the Darkness spell during a chase. The quick way I did it was to say it imposed disadvantage on the complications roll for anyone passing through it. Lastly, I hand-waved variable movement rates and let everyone move in 30' increments if they had less than 30' movement rate. I described this as breaking up the mob into groups and letting the slower-pace people guard the slower-pace NPCs as they moved along. But the relative distances were still good. That allowed me to keep everything at 30' increments, which made tracking MUCH easier.

Overall, my players really enjoyed this entire module. The opportunity for skills and diplomacy to effect gameplay early was well received. The chase in the second part was chaotic and challenging to manage, with hard choices to stay together or leave those who fall behind.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL-DRW-INT-03 A Red Day for Elventree
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DDAL-DRW-INT-04 Tales of Fang and Claw
by Ron M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/08/2024 07:45:39

This is another excellent stand-alone fetch quest. Go somewhere, get something, complications ensue. The module itself plays through in a clear manner, with the sequence of events happening in whatever order the players encounter them. The final battle can be quite difficult given the building design. There is a choke-point that can become quite problematic depending on initiative order given that there is a timer on the final battle. My players nearly lost becasue of their inability to get through quickly. Overall it will run longer than some of the others if the players are not extremely clever. In addition, setting the atmosphere early is key. The module is muddled a bit on this one- is is stormy or bright moon-lit night? I reccommend reading it through carefully and writing notes about opportunities to set tone. The NPC are supposed to be creepy (undead), but the area lends itself more to unnerving (lycanthropes). Select how you want to make the characters think and make sure the interactions match appropriately. I leaned into the lycanthrope tone more in my interactions. I used this once, as part of a Adventurer's leage through-line with INT-01 & INT-02. It makes sense for this to be part 3. But I had to make some changes to the background. In INT-01, they encountered a red wizard. I added that they found a clue to a group he hired to raid a tomb a few days away. In INT-02, the stopped the group from raiding a tomb. I added that the Harper agent sends them to Candlekeep to get more information. Part 3, I added that to get the information, they needed to run an errand. Which set up Int-04. And the wizard at the end I changed to be the same one from INT-01. And they had a note that said after they gathered the books, they were to rendezvous outside Mulmaster to support an offensive operation in the Moonsea area. Which leads to INT-03.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL-DRW-INT-04 Tales of Fang and Claw
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DDAL-DRW-INT-02 Watchers of the Trollclaws 1
by Ron M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/08/2024 07:29:53

This is mostly a dungeon crawl, which can be a good thing. It is largely stand-alone, so if you are planning to use this as a series, you may need to make some modifications to the Call to Action and part 2. For me, I used a note found on the villian on INT-01 that said he was to check on a hired crew exploring some ruins. That was enough.
It can be easy to finish in 2 hours if the players choose to avoid exploring some areas. So taking time to improvise and expand upon a particular social interaction is recommended. In addition, would reccommend any DMs clearly think through how they want part 2 to proceed based on what information is in the module. As I read it, part 2 turned out to be a wasted opportunity for exploration because of the event that happens right at the beginning. So I changed a few things so that the area was obscured so the players could not see which way the opposition fled and had to make choices and explore. Overall, it can be played through as a stand-alone with minimal changes, or adapted quickly for a larger campaign.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL-DRW-INT-02 Watchers of the Trollclaws 1
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