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A11: Wild Thing (PFRPG) PDF

****½ (based on 2 ratings)

List Price: $5.99

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A Pathfinder Roleplaying Game/3.5 Compatible Adventure for 4 PCs of levels 5-7

Adventureaweek.com PDFs are fully supported by Hero Lab files (included in download), minimum requirement: Pathfinder Roleplaying Game core system.

The PCs are hired by the Black Gold Consortium to track down passengers of the Wasp, a ship which has wrecked somewhere in the Vast Swamp. One passenger in particular interests the consortium more than any other: a woman named Sandalia. Sandalia is known by every citizen of Cherrian’s Rest as the most beautiful woman in the city, she was recently hired to train as a diplomat for the powerful Black Gold Consortium. Now Sandalia has gone missing and the consortium wants her back.

What starts out as a simple rescue mission suddenly takes a turn for the worst when a love struck wild thing leads the PCs on an all out chase through the swamp. The would-be rescuers travel through haunted bogs and fields of fire to a final confrontation which may just be the oddest conclusion anyone has ever experienced.

Also included in "Wild Thing":

  • Choice of 3 vessels with special swamp navigation rules
  • New swamp bugs and diseases
  • New monster: the Bog Troll
  • Environmental/Meteorlogical/Bestial Randomization chart for swamp travel
  • 2 new Magical Items
  • 7 new Traps
  • A new city: Cherrian's Rest and the powerful Black Gold Consortium which runs the region with financial influence
  • Multiple ways to complete the primary quest

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Product Reviews (2)

Average product rating:

****½ (based on 2 ratings)

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An RPG Resource Review

*****

This work opens with a detailed and convoluted background that sets the scene for what is to transpire during the course of the adventure... and which is all about things other than the actual task the characters are given, to seek out a vessel that has gone missing in transit, believed sunk, and particularly a young lady who was travelling aboard. Neat beginning for a tale that will grow in the telling.

Mission accepted, the first task is to hire a boat and visit the lost ship's point of departure to gather information. The characters will then be able to track its last voyage, and should have great fun exploring deserted islands and trackless swamps (with hostile wildlife and weather to contend with), and end with an interesting problem to solve... that could easily lead to a massive brawl.

The various individuals that the party will have to deal with are really brought to life, characters in their own right. Likewise there is comprehensive information about the locations they will visit, organisations and so on... including the perils of the swamp itself such as trench foot and a myrid of hostile critters that slither, swim and crawl through it. This information is placed in a comprehensive section before the adventure proper begins.

Whilst the adventure starts with the party being asked to look for a missing boat and its passengers, the assumption is made that they are already in the city of Cherrian's Rest, the home base of the company that owns the missing ship. This is clearly marked on the adventure map, which is amenable to being placed somewhere suitable on your campaign world if you don't intend to use the Adventureaweek one... but if you do, there is no indication as to where it might be located therein! (Well, if you have access to the website, you can see the Vast Swamp that appears in the adventure map on the master map of the campaign setting...) Anyway, once they have accepted, there are a few boats for them to choose from and information to gather before they set off through said swamp. There's a neat system of 'swamp points' to aid you in deciding just how much trouble they get into from the swamp itself (including weather, inhabitants and diseases) and from then on, it's very much up to them where they choose to go, with information provided on various notable locations within the swamp that you can use if they choose to go there.

Everything is presented clearly, with colour-coded notes for 'read aloud' text, specific die rolls that can be made and so on, as well as hyperlinks to additional information and stat blocks as required. The final scene is set in a large cavern, for which a map is provided. As well as providing the backdrop to the final showdown, it's quite a good - if that's the word - place to explore, with various traps to figure out and other events.

This adventure is quite a delight, with incidental events that add to the alternate reality - the swamp very much does NOT exist for the purpose of the adventure, it has lots of stuff going on that, whilst contributing to the overall story, have nothing to do with the party or their quest. That swamp exists, somewhere... The entire adventure, too, is delightfully free-form. Characters may explore as much of the swamp as they like, and the plot is open to pretty much any resolution they care to engineer. It's good not to have any 'right' outcome, the characters have real freedom of choice.


4.5 stars - Beauty & Beast and neat swamp exploration

****( )

This module is 62 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page advertisement, we are left with a total of 57 pages, so let's check this one out!

This pdf is the first of Adventureaweek.com's modules that does not take place in the wintry peninsula that contains the settlement of Rybalka and instead begins in the city of Cherrian's Rest, which is loyal to the Black Gold Consortium at the border of a vast swamp. Thus, we are first introduced to the city and its surrounding, swampy area as well as diseases, infestations, complex rules for bug bites and even a rather large table for environmental and meteorological circumstances, assigning random encounters to the respective conditions. And yes, black gold is essentially oil...

That out of the way, the following text contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion!

Still here? All right! The PCs are hired to find a missing boat called the "Wasp" and especially the beautiful maiden and chief negotiator Sandalia, who's been aboard. In order to navigate the swamp, the PCs will have to charter one of 3 vessels, all of which come with their own respective stats. It should be mentioned, though, that these vessels use a simplified abstract rule-set, not Paizo's naval combat rules. What's quite cool is the introduction of swamp points: Depending on the vessel and the captain's skill, the PCs may spend swamp points to avoid random encounters. While abstract, this simple mechanic adds a tad bit of tactic to the exploration and serves as a nice justification for the DM to spring some unpleasant encounters in the way of the PCs. After checking the ship's last known whereabouts, the PCs will have to track the missing ship, only to find a shipwreck and the gruesome reminders of the attack that cost the lives of most crew-men. After that, unfortunately for them, it's time for some exploration, sand-box style: The PCs may, via logical thinking, find an abandoned camp-site on one of the islands and there encounter an empty potion bottle that once contained a variation of a philtre of love - the plot thickens.

A more gruesome encounter with an undead family in an old cabin may also provide for rather disturbing encounter at the island of traveler's rest, but sooner or later, the PCs will have to brave the Fire Fields: Here, highly volatile, flammable gas erupts from the ground and being from the elemental plane of fire roam free. Finally, the Big Rock hearkens and after an exhausting climb, the PCs will find a cave. Unfortunately for them, the inhabitants have prepared themselves: the approach of them cavern is riddled with traps and especially the zigzagging way down the side of a cliff will provide for an interesting challenge against the bog troll Nimbit and the girl who loves him. The missing Sandalia, alchemically manipulated by drinking the potion of true love the PCs may or may have not found, are actually happy and have prepared this gauntlet to get rid of his brothers, who don't look kindly upon the budding, unlikely romance of the two. The finale thus may have the PCs not only fighting Nimbit's brothers, but also make an interesting decision: Whether to wed the strange couple or kill Nimbit and drag the screaming Sandalia back to civilization.

The pdf also comes with new magical items, full stats for the creatures featured in the module in 3.5 and PFRPG-stats and THANKFULLY again player-friendly maps, which omit traps! Hell yeah! Especially the map of the area surrounding Cherrian's Rest without any letters is awesome: Give it to the players and have them explore! This should be the standard for such wilderness sections.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are good, though not perfect: I did notice some minor glitches. Layout adheres to Adventureaweek.com's two-column standard and the pdf comes with an extra version sans backgrounds. The pdf is fully bookmarked and provides hero-lab files as well. The maps are of the high standard I've come to expect from AaW, while the cartoonish artworks left me cold - my PCs probably won't get to see them. This adventure is interesting to say the least: While a more detailed look/map of Cherrian's Rest would have been nice, that's only the starting point of the module and this one actually delivers something interesting: The mini-game with the swamp-ships/skiffs makes for a neat idea and adds a bit of depths to the exploration of the swamp.

The sandboxy formula makes adding encounters easy and journeying through the Fire Fields will definitely be a memorable experience. Seeing the hints spread throughout the module come together, we're in for an interesting take of the "Beauty and the Beast"-trope that has more than one resolution and thankfully does not dissolve into a simple good/evil-conflict, but a question of ethics, emotion and the subjectivity of free will. Or you could just kill everything. The zigzagging escape down a cliff makes for an at first somewhat hard to grasp, but interesting showdown. So, what's my final verdict, then? For the low price of $5.00, you get quite a bit bang for your buck and the module once again provides some interesting, uncommon situation and mechanics. In contrast to "Icecrag Monastery", we thankfully get original environmental factors, neat ideas like the bug-sting/bite-system etc. to drive home how unpleasant the swamp can truly be. Thus, I'll settle for a final verdict of 4.5 stars due to the minor glitches and none-too-great artwork and round down for the purpose of this platform - Wild Things was an enjoyable experience and can be considered to rank among the best of the AaW-modules so far.

Endzeitgeist out.



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