For decades, the tiny village of Ravenmoor has existed quietly on the upper reaches of the Lampblack River, far from the centers of civilization in Varisia. Linked to the outside world only by an overgrown, mostly forgotten trail, the villagers are comfortable with their isolation. Their ways are humble, quaint, and at times odd, and when travelers come, they find the town awkward and unmemorable. Certainly, the lack of a village inn, the oppressive humidity, and the bug-infested moors and swamps that surround the village do little to encourage visitors. When a clerk in the city of Magnimar discovers that, due to a clerical error, the village of Ravenmoor hasn’t paid taxes in years, a tax collector is sent to the distant community to settle accounts with its mayor. When the tax collector fails to return, however, a group of adventurers must travel to the town during its Founders’ Feast celebration to investigate his disappearance. Did he really make off with the taxes for himself, as the villagers suspect? Or did he never make it out of Ravenmoor at all?
Feast of Ravenmoor is an adventure for 3rd-level characters, written for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and compatible with the 3.5 edition of the world’s oldest RPG. It features a terrifying adventure set in a rural village in the frontier realm of Varisia, and a brand-new monster eager to torment and frighten unsuspecting adventurers.
Written by Brandon Hodge
Pathfinder Modules are 32-page, high-quality, full-color, adventures using the Open Game License to work with both the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and the standard 3.5 fantasy RPG rules set.
Ill make this review short and sweet as much as I can. The long and the short of it is that I felt this Mod has a fair amount of promise but it suffers from a couple of common flaws. The investigation part of the mod, as you search for the whereabouts of the missing tax collector, suffers from an unfortunate lack of information or clues.
The group learned more by randomly searching a suspicious building than by actively questioning the townspeople. This is potentially a problem, why should we bother making smart social characters when apparently just kicking in a door and sacking someones house will get the job done better? but it was nice to see that the evidence was actually there before the festival took place. Some very bad GMs wouldve made it impossible to find the shrine in the basement until after the story plot said you can... a sandbox approach to that is definitely preferred. My suggestion for this problem: Why not allow both approaches to be equally effective? Why not have one or two npcs come forward with information when asked so that the more social pcs feel like theres a point to their skills?
Now onto the main point of this review. We got to the end encounter and I felt a sense of dread as the boss started pulling out the cheese. But then something horrible occured, the party Magus walked up and crited with his scimitar and killed it outright... Is it just me or is the Magus class just a bit overpowered... and by a bit i mean its so dripping with cheese that im getting fat just looking at the ultimate magic book. You see i think the boss was powerful enough, no question, but Magus is too strong! Something needs to be done because if i know players they will be all over this one. Ive already seen a lot of Magus.
My suggestion for this problem, give the Magus class a bit of a nerf and stop putting all your badass in the one baddy! Ive noticed a couple mods suffer from the eggs in one basket (The Stag Lord anyone? The ninja at the end of Race for the Runecarved Key?) problem. Just sayin' its a concern.
Intriguing mysteries, yet none of them explained properly.
I have played this module as a DM with three players. I had some problems about difficulty of this scenario while playing though most of them were because of my own faults; I didn't let PCs to rest after the festival, I didn't reduce the power of the enemies as PCs were only four not three, blah blah... However, I guessed it would be hard even if my party were composed of four members. The overall difficulty is a bit high, especially since most of the encounters are in the last chapter of the scenario with no chance of rest on the way.
The major problem I am pointing is not about the scenario's difficulty, however. The first half of the scenario is consist of tourism in a mysterious, suspicious, and isolated village. Even though the villagers want to make the strangers in town believe there is nothing to see in the village, everything is somewhat wrong in some ways, and it is natural for PCs to guess that the tax collector did not escape the village and he is still at somewhere. My PCs were so excited to reveal the mysteries waiting for them.
Now the problem arises. The scenario encourages PCs to solve the mystery with Hack & Slash sword fight. After futile investigation PCs have made at day time, some cultists ambush the PCs at night and give them reason to get things rough. They even give the PCs a time limit. While PCs cannot see the response of 'innocent' villagers after questioning about the surprise attack at the last night, they just get into fight in an abandoned farm and a mystery circle in a crop yard. Moreover, every answer to their curiosity is there, so they don't need to struggle finding out what's going on. Since the friendly mayor is now mad cultist lord at night with absolute hostile attitude, PCs just have to kill him and solve every problem in the village. It is just wrong solution to such a mystery story.
The Feast of Ravenmoor is a great adventure for the party looking for an interlude to the dungeon crawl or as a go-between adventure in a larger campaign. As a gamemaster I had fun role-playing the NPCs as simple "swamp people" often using cajun accents for flavor.
The investigative flair of the module can be quite entertaining and was a good change up for my group. My players were both overly suspicious and perplexed until the final battle which was quite deadly. Gamemasters should prepare the final battle in separate waves or events to prevent a TPK. Otherwise a very solid module for a low-level party.
Ravenmoor does seem out of place in Varisia, so it worked for me to use it as an immigrant town of Andorans and Taldorans which helped to link continuity.
This adventure is a solid piece of work, with plenty to keep the party busy but nothing that will really wow the players. I recommend it if you are looking for a modest "creepy village" motif, but not for a major part of a campaign or a unique chapter in a saga.
The Good: This adventure has a fully-developed back-water village in which your PCs may muck about. It is a place with several dark secrets, unique locations, and a thriving culture. Reading this adventure you get a palpable feel for this village and its people. The story stems from this: There is no "must follow" storyline; rather you are given a setting and a time-line. How the PCs interact with it is up to them, and there are multiple paths that depend on their course of action. There is also clues to the deeper mystery, which the PCs may uncover as they see the weirdness about them. Overall, it is a solid sandbox adventure, with creepy locations and developed NPCs.
So Why Only Three Stars (or the Bad)? Much of this adventure simply fails to "wow" either the GM or the players. Most of the encounters are simple fights or straight out of the Bestiaries. There are no surprises. The "Grand Reveal" is rather cliche and the fight that follows is exceedingly difficult. My players did not find it to be that exciting. The village, while fully developed, is not terribly unique. There are a few minor details (such as the food they eat, or the manner of their worship) that are memorable. But this flavor does not really establish this setting from any other "creepy village." Many of the horror tropes end up being unfortunately cliche, and the mystery ends in the way that most people would expect it to.
If I may be permitted a bad analogy, this adventure attempts to be the original "Wicker Man" but ends up being a regular epsiode of the "X-Files." There is a lot that can be used here, but nothing that makes it a must-have or must-play.
My experience: I ran this for a five man, APL 3.2 group. Our spread was Fighter, Alchemist, Cavalier, Monk, and Witch. This was run for Pathfinder Society. It took us 10.5 hours over two sessions. It cuts nicely in two portions, not sure how I'd do it to break it into 4 hour slots. Probably Feast, House, Field.
Combat: The combats in this for the most part seemed right on the money. They challenged my party, pushed them to their limits, and made them get creative. There are a couple encounters that are rough on them. I would thoroughly encourage an APL of 3-4. Less than that and you risk wiping your table at times.
Roleplay: The roleplay is where this module truly shines. For a player to enjoy this they need to be willing to get “into” the scenario and be willing to explore new ideas and concepts. There are tons of RP opportunities in this module and that’s what made me love it. As a GM, you have to have a real strong attention to detail, because it’s the small things that make the RP spots what they are.
Overall: The module started out a little creepy, and kept getting creepier and creepier. My players were weirded out through and through by the end and were loving every minute of it. I heartily recommend this to anyone who likes a good story and a great adventure.