--Moon 2-1 Defenders of Caer Moray puts the characters slap bang into the defense of Caer Moray a moderately sized town/village (more information on the Caer part would of been appreciated in the scenario). 'City' defense scenarios DO have their place in D&D and have had for a long time, but after the relative openess of the Moonshae Treasure Hunt, this scenario immediatly smacked of a combat fest in a relatively enclosed location with the last 1/3 being a more investigative component which ends in a resolution that dosnt feel like it resolves much.
Firstly , Id like to draw to the fact that if you are reading this you will likely be dming for AL players under season 8 rules. That means that characters will at this point in their life have very limited funds. This scenario includes a lot of creatures that take less damage from normal weaponary that is likely to be seen in Tier 1. Silvering weapons costs 100 gold pieces. It is unlikely that a character will have that money by this point. THis means that you will be having melee adventurers in combat with monsters than can fully affect them, but not be fully hurt in return. And multiple of such creatures (obv depending on the tiering). Certainly groups may be lucky and have enough spellcasters to even things up, and some may not.
Many of the encounters here are pretty brutal because of it. There is some balancing with silvered weapons being found in some encounters which can even things up. Now the monsters themselves are spot on. THe Black Blood Cultists are Jackalweres, Wererats and Werewolves. That is perfectly fine and they should all be involved in the attack.
I did like the use of 3 NPCS to give the characters ties to Caery Moray. Its a good spontaneous way to get players to improv at the spur of the moment. I was asking questions of some characters and getting wild stories. It led however to an expected outcome.
Characters decided to split up. I had some going to rescue Sandra, others going to rescue Ybie. I certainly had to pull back on some tactics, but it was still some very close encounters because of reduce resources. Im not a fan of looming over the groups and saying 'Are you sure?' .. thats just not me.
Because of the base encounters (as well as further encounters that can be generated) , this game can seem very front heavy..... that is it will likely chew up a lot of time. Combats/Encounters by their very nature are time consuming esp when resources are spread between different battles. I found this took more time than I alloted. The encounter at the Gate was interesting, the party managed to close the Gates with only one pc being found and chased into the city (as kinda a diversion) that paid off but again... it would be very easy to have a really really tough encounter here.
Due to timing, everything after this went quick. THe Investigation involves finding out that Two Guards were drugged to open the gate by a 'Cook' who in turn was murdered to keep the secret of what he had done. This in turn leads to a boat moored which is run by some pirates who arnt really involved as much as a info source to direct you only the real culprit. There can be a fight here but by this point I think my players were getting a bit spent so there was no combat and after a bribe were directed onto another secret Cultist, who didnt really explain much of what was going on. Another cultist is arrested 'off screen'
The story is concluded at that point.
THe investigation is quite linear and thankfully short. Guards leads to cook which leads to boat which leads to secret person. Linear lines of investigation are not bad, but if the party dosnt search or bribe or interact well then it can go nowhere fast (people can run away if things take too long).
However Part 1 and it's Siege really overwhelms my view of this scenario. The use of friendly pcs is good, the splitting up not so much and the brutualness of resistant creatures makes it tough. If you are coming into this from Treasure hunt, you are likely bringing in Level 1 or 2 characters to play and things could get messy.
It's honestly not what I would have had as a first up scenario after the introductory one, however it does show the party that Lycanthropes are indeed a menance and hopefully gives them some future npcs to interact with.
EDIT: Something I completely forgot. a Map of the Southern Area of the Moonshae Isles comes with this scenario. Now printing it out for me with the rest of the scenario means I get a very small font A4 sized map. Moray sadly is not the focus of the map, as it should be front and center. It's actually somewhat difficult to read the text of Caer Moray. My suggest would be the full size of Moray only on the map with none of the other landmasses present (they arnt needed here). I printed it to A3 which was much better. Print this map if you are going to print it on a larger Size of paper!