Fallow and abandoned for years, Bloodsworn Vale has long been a dangerous wood separating two kingdoms. A recent call-to-arms asks adventurers from around the world to establish a trade route through this dark and forboding forest.
Conquest of Bloodsworn Vale is a wilderness adventure written by Jason Bulmahn that pits players against the evil fey tribes of the Vale. Only the valiant and clever can defeat the fey—but will you be clever enough to destroy their master?
GameMastery Modules are 32-page, high-quality, full-color, OGL-compatible adventures for use with the world's most popular fantasy RPG. All GameMastery Modules include four pre-made characters so players can jump right into the action, and full-color maps to enhance play.
The background to this adventure is quite simple: the ruler of Korvosa wants to reopen a trade route to the south through a long-deserted valley. He's sent his own troops, of course, but they are struggling a bit so he's prepared to offer gold, titles and land to anyone willing to help.
Assuming the characters take the bait (a few options are presented to entice them in), when they arrive a fort has been established and the long slog of making Bloodsworn Vale safe has begun. The action consists of a series of tasks and missions, with a neat system whereby the characters accumulate 'accomplishment points' for everything that they do, these being used to calculate the level of reward they have earned once the trade route is open.
The tasks are varied: finding out what happened to a missing party of road-builders, dealing with other sentient races already in residence and the like, as well as plenty of random encounters for you to drop in as you see fit. A lot of the work can be undertaken at the characters' own pace and in an order of their choice, but there is an underlying timeline which both keeps things moving and melds the adventures into a coherent whole - a neat way of letting the players think they have complete freedom of action while ensuring that the overall game proceeds as planned!
Overall it is a well-organised mini-campaign, which can give the characters a feeling of accomplishment and knowledge that they have contributed to the development of the area. This may be continued as you wish, or they can take their rewards and move on.
Great, open ended adventure to let your PCs run through
I really liked this one. Its not that the plot was full of twists and turns so much as events were properly and clearly linked to other events. The passage of time should be pretty easy to feel, and there are clear benchmarks for how this story progresses, while still leaving the the specifics really open ended for what the PCs can do to achieve these goals.
I have noticed that the fey of Golarion seem to be twisted little muppets, but I'm okay with that. Loved the new drakes as well. Glad I got this one, and I'll probably be ordering the physical copy from my local hobby shop soon.
This module had lots of potential, but, for me, the layout and format made this module very difficult to run.
Positives: Interesting locale, wide range of choices for the PCs to explore, a wide variety of encounter types to challenge the players.
Negatives:#1 Layout. The encounters/areas were laid out in an order based on the map on the inside of the jacket. Very little rhyme or reason for the way they were laid out on the map. Then, add in the fact that there is a timeline (on page 11- 1/3 of the way though the book.) for the encounters that essentially goes A_B_K_J_I_G_E_C_L_H_I_F_M, and you have a lot of flipping back and forth. The Fort, which is labeled "A", is put in an Appendix in the back of the book (Map on inside front cover.)
In order to encounter, much less defeat, the King of Roses, the first "boss" of the adventure, the party must complete a "series" of sidequests in an 8 room dungeon. Many parties will fail this, due to the obtuse nature of the quests and the likely desire to just kill all these vicious little fae.
The fire seed is another. This "Immovable" floating time bomb is designed to scare/force the PCs into moving quickly to take down the story's ultimate villian, Lord Vardak. My players floated up to it, threw it in a handy haversack, then threw the haversack into the river far, far away from the fort. Problem solved. It was followed by a very forced/argumentative conversation, as the players felt they had completed their mission and had earned their rewards.
#3 Adventure Design Flaws-I felt the random encounters in the vale were simply too easy for 6th level characters. The encounters in the final "dungeon" were problematical.
The greater barghests had problems with narrow passages and doorways, plus the 2 that were to come to Vardak's aid couldn't leave their room without either using dimension door or having to save vs. the pit.
There is considerable value in this adventure, in fact, the term adventure has to be used very loosely in the case of this module. Like a few other modules--most notably, Keep on the Borderlands--Conquest of the Bloodsworn Vale is really a mini-campaign based around a region, rather than an adventure based upon a specific narrative goal. The encounters occur along a timeline, but the DM is provided with enough detail about the Vale and its main location, Fort Thorn, to use the episodic nature of the adventure to their advantage: players can be afforded ample opportunity to role-play in the community and develop their own stories.
The encounters themselves can be handled in multiple ways, with some dependent upon investigation or diplomacy and others on direct combat. This mix means that the overall wilderness focus of the adventure won't leave characters like Bards out in the cold!