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Dark Oak (PFRPG) PDF

***** (based on 4 ratings)

Our Price: $4.99

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Beneath the fetid roots of a noisome swamp linger the pathetic remnants of a once proud and noble tribe. Laid low by a powerful narcotic administered by their ambitious (but wildly paranoid) mistress, the lizardfolk of the Dark Oak are but a shadow of their former greatness. Now below the slumbering body of a diseased treant she plots to bring bloody slaughter to the folk of the nearby villages before her followers forget their proud heritage and sink into a lethargy from which there is no escape.

A Pathfinder Roleplaying Game adventure for four 5th-level PCs by Creighton Broadhurst and Steve Hood.

NOTE: This product is a dual PDF file. In your download you'll receive two versions of the PDF: one is optimized for printing and use on a normal computer while the other is optimized for use on a mobile device. Apart from their size, the files are identical in content, layout and format.

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Product Reviews (4)

Average product rating:

***** (based on 4 ratings)

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It's oaky

*****

If you managed to forgive me that horrible pun and are reading this, know that "Dark Oak" is a fine adventure. It is presented in a very clean and pleasent style, stat blocks are well organized, and some excellent bookmarking allows to easily nevigate the PDF. The map of the location looks like it was drawn with a pencil on a piece of paper and then scanned, but all the lines are stright and precise and the outcome is very readable and easy to use - there's even a version for use of the PCs as a player handout (even though I'm not sure why a GM would just hand the players a map of a location they don't know...).

As to the content of the adventure itself, other reviewrs already went into great detail about it, so just read their informative reviews. Here I will say that I am planning on using this adventure in my own game, as it is short, and has a nice mix of roleplay and combat.

When I look at the price tag and the length of this adventure (very cheap and very short) and compate with, say, a Pathfinder Society scenario, I am impressed with the quality and value in this product. Obviously in many technical aspects this can't compete with a Paizo product, but if you are looking for a nice side quest in the swamps, this should be just O.K ;)


*****

Dark Oak is the sort of excellent scenario I've come to expect from Creighton Broadhurst. It is presented in a clear and precise way and comes complete with some outstanding art and maps. Indeed, the art and maps could be considered to be worth the price alone!

The scenario itself has been written in such a way as to allow it to be slotted into any home campaign with minimal fuss and is designed to be played through in a standard session. The encounters are creatively thought out with the, potential, combatants having their own tactics and, as well as the obvious threats, there are also environmental hazards to contend with.

Included in the PDF are 6 pre-generated characters that allow for a GM to offer this up as a one-off break from another campaign if needed - perhaps as an introduction to Pathfinder itself.

Overall, as I stated earlier, this is an excellent scenario and I look forward to seeing more from Creighton and Raging Swan Press.


A solid delve you can pick up and master without preparation

*****

This pdf is 39 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page blank inside of the front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC and SRD, 1 page advertisement and 1 page back cover, leaving 33 pages of content.

The newest adventure by Raging Swan's mastermind, Creighton Broadhurst, "Dark Oak" is closer in style to "Road of the Dead" than to "Retribution" in the sense that it is a quite straightforward adventure.

After a brief synopsis, the adventure background, lore sections on the background, a short random encounter table, side-boxes on hooks and rumors as well as a section on tactics, we get a nice 1-page b/w-map of the complex to be explored by the PCs. This is where, once again, Raging Swan's high quality and thought for the stressed DM shows: Among the player aids we also find keyless maps, both with and without grids, that you can print out and then cut up to show to the players when they enter an area. This additional benefit is just what makes the difference between a good and an excellent product. It should also be noted that two magic items get their own artworks and are presented in another hand-out for players.

The pdf does not stop there, though: There are also 4 b/w-artworks of adversaries to print out and show to your players. The adventure also comes with 6 pregenerated characters that come fully equipped. The attention to detail is nice, as one of them actually has some cold iron and silver arrows (without necessarily needing them in this adventure). There is, of course, also the obligatory page that explains how to read stat-blocks to novice DMs. The adventure itself spans 16 pages and can be played in one session.

This is where the spoilers begin, so potential players beware!

The adventure itself is a very straightforward mini-delve that centers on the PCs trying to vanquish already almost broken tribe of Lizardmen. On the apex of their might, this particular tribe managed to corrupt a treant, who now lies charred and semi-insane in front of their caves and send it towards the human settlements. Now, some years later, they resume their attacks in a final blaze of non-glory, as the paranoia of the druidic tribal leader has forced the tribe on the slippery slope towards drug-induced extinction. Rules for the new drug as well as the mold that befell the treant are provided along rules for 2 new magic items. In the fine tradition of the former adventures by Raging Swan, this one also requires your PCs to fight smart - environmental hazards, area features, tactics - these enemies don't fight like cannon-fodder. More importantly, though, is the fact that your PCs don't HAVE to fight - diplomacy is also an option in more than one encounter, e.g. in the one with the semi-mad treant, who may actually reward the PCs for fulfilling his vengeance against the lizardfolk. There is but one encounter where I would have enjoyed a section on diplomacy and found it lacking, an encounter with a crocodile. I would have loved a section on PCs taming the beast, but that is nitpicking at the highest level. Each encounter has some kind of environmental hazard, feature or peculiarity that makes it unique and not run-of-the-mill - be it the drug, a giant Lizardfolk or the NPCs. The attention to detail is also stunning, as several mood-setting little details have been included on both the map and in the descriptions.

Conclusion:
Editing is top notch, I didn't notice any typos. Formatting also rocks and layout adheres to the clean, printer-friendly Raging Swan standard. It should be noted, however, that this adventure marks the advent of Raging Swan's Dual Pdf-initiative, which means that you also get a 1.8 Mb small version of the adventure optimized for the use with iPads and similar e-readers. Better yet, the older Raging Swan releases will be updated, too, and get their own versions. While I'm old-school and prefer dead tree, I still think it's a great idea. There are some very minor downsides to report, though: One of the artworks (Lizardfolk Chieftain) is beautiful, granted, but I will always associate it with Ahnkar-Kosh (by RiP). Another artwork, Lizardfolk Champion, looked more like a Kobold to me. On the other hand, the artwork for the treant just ROCKS. The adventure itself is straightforward but cool and features roleplaying encounters to solve problems without fighting. While I don't consider this adventure to be genius, I do consider it to be a supreme example of an adventure you can just pick up and play with your group without having to prepare it in advance. Thus, due to all the comfort and the low price I'll settle for a 5-star final verdict for this little delve - well done!


A Solid Cavern Crawl

*****

Dark Oak is the latest adventure module from Raging Swan Press taking place (loosely) within The Lonely Coast setting and designed for Pathfinder characters of 5th Level. Dark Oak refers to a tribe of lizardfolk led by a now evil druid dwelling within a fairly massive cave lair (along with the other tribe members). The adventure is a fun little “dungeon delve” into a large cave network filled with lizardfolk of the Dark Oak tribe. While the adventure is written as a fairly standard adventure, it can also be used as a sourcebook for the Dark Oak lizardfolk tribe.

To add to the value of the adventure module, it also comes with pre-generated PCs, a beautiful map of the lair, and a couple of magic items. Overall, the adventure is well-detailed and written all for a great price!

OVERALL

Dark Oak is more than just an adventure module, it’s a deeper look into the Dark Oak tribe including a few creature characters and a number of creature stat blocks. The adventure is written very simply to allow GMs to use it in multiple ways. There are lots of little bonuses contained inside including scaling and a great-looking, hand-drawn map.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 10 out of 10
Raging Swan Press always produces high quality products. With a fantastic layout and presentation and plenty of great looking illustrations, Dark Oak does not stray from that standard. There is always a great amount of valuable content presented in a way that is easy to read and visually appealing.

Storyline: 8 out of 10
There is a definite storyline leading throughout the background of the adventure module and the adventure itself has a purpose, or at least a direction. However, there is very little storyline throughout the actual adventure and the ending is loosely defined. This method of development allows a GM to place the adventure within the midst of an ongoing campaign or as part of a longer adventure. The background defines why the creatures and creature characters are there and why the PCs would need to face them. The rest of the story including why the PCs are needed is left up to the GM. As a side note, the adventure doesn’t always need a storyline as it can be used simply as a one-night game session.

Desire to Play: 9 out of 10
I like the way the adventure module is written and it’s a great quest taking on all the different Dark Oak tribe members. It’s reminiscent of old-school dungeon crawls but with a bit more definition and purpose other than hack-and-slash and gather the treasure. The majority of the adventure is focused on combat and exploration of the caverns. This may not be ideal for all gaming groups but should appeal to those looking for this type of gaming experience.

Overall: 9 out of 10
Dark Oak is a great, short adventure module for Pathfinder. It can be easily used as a side quest, inserted in-line with a series of other adventures, or even an integral part of the storyline by using the given background and the Dark Oak tribe. It’s filled with options and lots of source material besides being written as just another adventure module. Unless you’re looking for a role-playing focused adventure or one with little combat, I recommend letting your PCs run through these caverns.





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