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Thistle Hold - Wrath of the Warden
 
€13,81 €8,29
Average Rating:4.7 / 5
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Thistle Hold - Wrath of the Warden
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Thistle Hold - Wrath of the Warden
Publisher: Free League Publishing
by Drew [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/06/2024 14:41:43

I'm currently running this for my group, and we're having blast with it. It has a very rich story with a fun mystery to delve into, as well as plenty of opportunities for action. The opening is intentionally a bit linear, but after that it opens up and gives the players a great deal of opportunity to approach it from different ways. It is a big adventure. We just wrapped up session #7, and I feel like we are about half way.

For me, the story and tone of the adventure is 5 stars. However, this is not an easy adventure to run. I wouldn't recommend it to an inexperienced GM. As other posters have mentioned, there is a lot of background lore that needs to be dolled out throughout the course of the adventure, which can be a bit of trick to do in a way that is fun. It also introduces several major factions in the setting, so it intentionally is weaving multiple storylines together and laying out the key themes of the Throne of Thorns campaign. As a result, I've had to make some handouts with important story details to help my players keep track of all the things going on.

My biggest complaint is that information is all in prose. There is no real use of bullet points or any other tricks (other than a story flowchart) to help make information easy to find, so it isn't very good as an easy reference tool for a GM. I end up putting a lot of prep time in making notes about the different factions, NPCs, clues and leads.

Overall, if you are the sort of GM that enjoys running adventures that have a very rich and detailed story with a mystery element and you don't mind putting in some prep work, then you will probably have a great time with this adventure. If you are looking for a fairly, simple and easy adventure to run, then this one probably isn't for you.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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Thistle Hold - Wrath of the Warden
Publisher: Free League Publishing
by Stanislav S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/16/2021 05:57:08

Unfortunately, I have to agree with allan p.

The adventure gives the impression of a draft that needs more refining before playing. This is in contrast to the Copper Crown that can be played as written.

[Mild spoilers below]

The story opens up with a large sinkhole opening in Thistle Hold destroying numerous blocks of buildings with abominations crawling out of it attacking the citizens. This is the best part of the story, it's shortly foreshadowed and then explodes in riveting action for the players.

Unfortunately the main story falls apart with the subsequent quests - while the players want to solve the mystery of the sinkhole, the book sends their characters out on half a dozen quests that have nothing to do with the danger Thistle Hold is facing right now. Most groups will want to press on with the investigation, but the text sends them out to explore Blackmoor, discover the inner politics of the Church, intrecept an artifact important to the queen. and even take a two weeks break from the city to go visit the elves. None of these have anything to do with the sinkhole. Most of these would be best played outside of the main story to keep it more cohesive.

Another big problem is that the main hook of the story gets missed by most groups. Unless you rewrite it, your players will not come up with the idea to search for the belongings of a certain character that only gets a 10 minutes cameo at the start of the main quest. It can be easily remedied by placing the belongings somewhere else or making the character more important to the players but the fact that the book does not address this at all suggests that it was not play tested.

The third problem is that the scenes lead to a lot of exposition for the players. There's exposition on Church politics, the elves tell you a lot of background, the Queens Legation will drown you with information, there is a scene where you should "interrogate" a mad inmate that turns out to be another info dump plus a whole lot of other examples of "talking about the past". I found the player's eyes glazed over from all that monologue way too often.

[End of mild spoilers]

If you just skim through the book you will be greeted by walls of text interrupted by 20 or so character portraits (with a wall of text on their background below them). There are some other illustrations here and there, but the book gives off a "written in stone" vibe - if it was more flexible, there would be more graphical elements, optional paths to same ends, events to be used when needed etc. Instead the one graphic showing the suggested path through the quests is a single arrow connecting all the events in one direction in the order they're written in the book.

The material is not useless, it's just disappointing. It feels like it could have been an excellent adventure if it was playtested and refined more.

Buyer beware, the Wrath of the Warde is nowhere near the quality of the Copper Crown adventure.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
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Thistle Hold - Wrath of the Warden
Publisher: Free League Publishing
by Roger L. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/07/2019 10:33:07

https://www.teilzeithelden.de/2019/03/30/rezension-symbaroum-throne-of-thorns-auf-symbars-faehrte/

Abschnitt 1 – The Hunter’s Harbor Das Leuchtfeuer der Stadt Thistle Hold führt Schatzsucher, Abenteurer und die Waldläufer der Königin aus dem finsteren Davokar zurück auf zivilisierten Grund und Boden. Die immerwährende Verlockung von Reichtümern und mächtiger Jagdbeute, die es in den Schatten des Waldes zu finden gibt, prägt die befestigte und gepflegte Hochburg, die Repräsentanten aller Autoritäten Ambrias in sich beheimatet.

Thistle Hold – Wrath of the Warden stellt die gleichnamige Stadt wie auch das Vorstädtchen Blackmoor umfangreich vor. Es werden die wichtigsten Gasthäuser und Handelshäuser wie auch relevante Persönlichkeiten und Fraktionen aufgeführt.

The Hunter’s Harbor ist als separate PDF-Datei erhältlich. Da dieser Abschnitt der einzige ist, der nicht ausschließlich für die Augen des SL bestimmt ist, ist dies sehr hilfreich für Spieler, die nicht in Inhalte investieren möchten, die sie nicht einsehen sollten oder möchten. Gleiches gilt für die ersten Abschnitte der ebenfalls vorgestellten Werke Karvosti: The Witch Hammer und Yndaros: The Darkest Star.

Abschnitt 2 – Game Master’s Section Der sodann folgende Abschnitt bietet dem SL Informationen an, die an dieser Stelle kurz, aber spoilerfrei, vorgestellt werden. So beinhaltet Thistle Hold – Wrath of the Warden ein Kapitel über zielorientiertes Rollenspiel. Dies beschreibt den Typus Rollenspiel, bei dem einzig die Spieler den Handlungsverlauf bestimmen, indem sie ihre persönlichen und gemeinsamen Ziele zu erreichen versuchen. Es werden Vorschläge für derartige Ziele dargelegt, die konform mit dem Kampagnenverlauf von Throne of Thorns gehen.

Des Weiteren werden Ruinen innerhalb des Davokars beschrieben, die je nach Bedarf besucht oder eben nicht besucht werden können. Abschließend werden ergänzende Regeln wie beispielsweise Fähigkeiten für feindliche Kreaturen angeboten.

Auch Artefakte und Elixiere werden definiert und der SL erhält Tipps, wie er Nachforschungs- und Recherchearbeiten der SC handhaben kann.

Abschnitt 3 – Wrath of the Warden Thistle Hold – Wrath of the Warden endet mit dem ersten Teil der Throne of Thorns-Kampagne. Der Aufbau des ersten Abschnitts des Abenteuers sowie die handelnden Fraktionen werden vorgestellt. Positiv auffallend ist die enthaltene Adventure-Time-Line, die dem SL zu jeder Zeit darstellt, wo die Spieler sich gerade befinden – und wo sie hin müssen. Vor allem für unerfahrene SL ist dies eine große Unterstützung. Auch Handouts in Form von Briefen oder Notizen sind weiter hinten in der PDF-Datei hinterlegt – ein Umstand, der allen bisher erschienen Bänden der Kampagne zu eigen ist.

Erscheinungsbild Die PDF-Datei von Thistle Hold – Wrath of the Warden verfügt über 177 farbige Seiten. Der Textfluss ist durch Absätze, Unterüberschriften und farbige Einschübe ansprechend gestaltet. Alle Seiten sind in einem beigefarbenen warmen Ton gehalten, der das Lesen zu einer angenehmen Angelegenheit macht. Die Illustrationen sind – wie in anderen Symbaroum-Regelwerken auch – hochwertig und ästhetisch gehalten. Besonders hervorzuheben sind die vorbereiteten Handouts in Form vom Briefen bzw. Karten weiter hinten im Buch, die der SL im Rahmen des ersten Abenteuerabschnitts verwenden kann, ebenso wie auch die Portraits von wichtigen NSC.

Ein Index ist nicht vorhanden, jedoch ist ein Inhaltsverzeichnis zu Beginn des Buches.

Fazit Mit Thistle Hold – Wrath of the Warden bietet Järnringen nicht nur den ersten Teil einer umfangreichen und stimmigen Kampagne an, sondern offeriert überdies Informationen, die auf den Inhalten des Grundregelwerks aufbauen. Die Welt wird sowohl inhaltlich als auch regeltechnisch ausgebaut; sie wächst. Die angebotenen Informationen helfen vor allem unerfahrenen SL, mit den Inhalten umzugehen und die Spieltermine entsprechend vorzubereiten. Viele der hiermit in Zusammenhang stehenden Inhalte sind für erfahrene SL jedoch redundant.

Das Regelwerk ist attraktiv gestaltet und weist weniger Fehler innerhalb der stimmungsvoll gehaltenen Texte auf. Der Einwand, dass ein Großteil des Bandes lediglich für den SL gedacht ist, wird damit abgewiegelt, dass der erste Abschnitt, Hunter’s Harbor, separat erhältlich ist und interessierte Spieler somit nicht für Inhalte zahlen, die sie nicht konsumieren möchten.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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Thistle Hold - Wrath of the Warden
Publisher: Free League Publishing
by Steven F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/13/2018 11:44:31

This is an excellent start to the Throne of Thorns campaign line for Symbaroum as well as a solid information source for your own adventures in the realm on Ambria. The first section of the book, written for both players and GMs is a more in depth look at the town of Thistle Hold. Beyond the standard module fare of a map with some numbers and key to tell you what those numbers represent, this section of the book gives the reader details about the important people who run the town and what motivates them to stay in the town on the edge of Davokar forest. It also contains rumors and off-hand knowledge that the authors describe as being what just about any character would know about Thistle Hold after spending a few days to a couple of weeks within the walls. There are some things here for players to possibly investigate on their own if they are so inclined or for GMs to spin into their own stories, either to build an adventure or just to breathe some life into their players' stay.

The second section is similar to the first except that it is meant specifically for GMs. This section goes into detail on the real history of Thistle Hold and the truth behind many of the rumors mentioned in the first section. The history laid out here really adds to the setting as a whole and gives GMs a solid base from which to build their own adventures in and around the city by explaining the true motives and intentions driving the power players in Thistle Hold. It also makes it clear just how precarious the situation that the town is in, sitting a stone's throw from the edge of the forest and all of the dangers that hide within.

The last section is the adventure entitled The Wrath of the Warden. I won't put too much detailed information here so as not to spoil anything for potential players who are looking into reviews. This adventure assumes that the player characters already have some experience under their belts and have made something of a name for themselves either in Thistle Hold or Ambria in a broader sense. The three-part introduction adventure series comprised of "The Promised Land" (in the back of the core rules), "The Mark of the Beast", and "The Tomb of Dying Dreams" set PCs up pretty well for starting this adventure both in terms of experience and in terms of reputation.

The opening of the adventure is written to provide a couple of difference entry points to the story, based on the feel that the GM wants and how the players play. In most cases the players are contacted by a mysterious "soon-to-be friend" who thinks that they can be of help in solving a problem that Thistle Hold doesn't even really know it has. The situation goes downhill from there with surprises, underground expeditions, and at least one trip to the forest of Davokar to sort out what is really going on and how the situation can be resolved. My players thoroughly enjoyed it, in any case.

It is worth noting that Jarnringen doesn't write their adventures in the module format that a GM might be used to. Rather than laying out a specific path through the story and giving the GM paragraphs of read aloud text, these adventures (and all Symbaroum adventures really) are presented in phases similar to how this entire book is set up. All of the important NPCs (as well as the factions to which they belong) are described ahead of the action of the module along with their backgrounds and motivations. These descriptions also include their goals for the current scenario and in the overarching campaign if their roles extend beyond Wrath of the Warden. Following that, there is an overview of the entire adventure along with suggested hooks for the GM to use in getting things rolling. Now, all of that might still sound pretty standard for any well-written module. Where Symbaroum's adventures differentiate themselves is in the meat of the scenario.

As I said above, the events of the module are not laid out in a "the players do A then B then C" format. Instead the adventure is broken into acts which contain scenes. Each scene describes, fairly loosely, what is going to happen provided that the players do NOTHING. The expectation is that the GM understands the NPCs, their goals, and the adventure as a whole well enough that the players can approach the scenario in whatever way they choose and not throw things off when they inevitably apply their will to the world and the situation at hand. This means that scenes mostly contain environmental details and relevant bits of knowledge that some NPCs might have in that moment. Each scene also suggests challenges and skill tests that can be used to gain information or change a situation if the players choose a certain course of action. Stats are provided for potential opponents in a scene but rarely is a fight guaranteed. Ultimately, it is left to the GM and the players (through their actions) to determine which scenes happen, the order in which they happen, the effects of the events of that scene.

As a GM who primarily runs games as an off-the-cuff operation this layout really appeals to me personally. The scenes presented here are more likely to offer bullet points and information about what a person, place, or object looks like rather than a specific block of text to read. I find it offers a much more succinct and streamlined way for the authors to give me the information that I need to run the story the way it works for my players rather than the way that the author envisioned. That's basically what this offers, a well thought out adventure that is only as railroaded as the GM wants it to be.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Thistle Hold - Wrath of the Warden
Publisher: Free League Publishing
by allan p. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/20/2017 22:22:15

If you are looking for a even moderately thought out, cohesive adventure, current with modern gaming standards, then this is not it. There is a group of random scenes pasted together under one title. I can only assume there is no playtest system at work. I could eleborate further but I dont want to waste my time, if i write 'buyer beware', its all the effort I hope other gamers will need. If they had a free trial option you could make your own judgement.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
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