Founded by a famous dragonslayer, the small town of Belhaim has become a sleepy rural community just off the beaten path, a settlement where everyone knows everyone and strangers are the talk of the town. But when Belhaim’s peace and quiet is shattered by the sudden collapse of the last standing tower of its founder’s castle, things quickly bloom out of control. Why were there bodies of kobolds amid the rubble? What’s the sinister secret behind the strange sounds of flapping wings in the night? And what’s happened to local wizard Balthus Hunclay, who’s not answering knocks on his door? The collapsed tower had long been an eyesore to the cantankerous old man—could he have had something to do with its destruction? And what of the rumors of strange stirrings in nearby Dragonfen? Has Belhaim’s ancient draconic nemesis returned?
"The Dragon’s Demand" is a deluxe super-adventure for 1st-level characters, and includes 64 action-packed pages of adventure and new monsters, plus a beautiful double-sided, full-color poster map of the town of Belhaim and an important miniatures-scale battleground! Players can expect to reach 7th level by the time they complete this epic adventure—if they manage to survive the wrath of a dragon when his demands aren’t met!
Written by Mike Shel.
Cover Art by Lars Grant-West.
Pathfinder Modules are 64-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. This Pathfinder Module includes new monsters, treasure, a double-sided poster map, and a fully detailed bonus location that can be used as part of the adventure or in any other game!
While I liked the new format, this module is a cake-walk for larger player groups. My group of 5-7 players ran rough-shod through 95% of the encounters. The end encounter was over in less than 5 rounds.
I knew that the module was intended for 4 players, so I adjusted the encounters accordingly, but it still wasn't enough of a challenge.
I doubled and even tripled the number of 'mook' creatures, which helped somewhat.
Changing the Neh-Thalggu to a living version instead of a zombie was the most challenging fight the players had throughout the entire module.
If I ran this again, I would bump the dragon to the next age category to ensure the players face a dragon worthy of the name.
The module provides so much help in the way of NPCs and magic treasure as to almost be overwhelming. If you have a large group of players, you may want to have the potential NPC allies go their separate ways. My group didn't need the extra help.
I've generally avoided buying individual modules, preferring to either do it myself or go with something more comprehensive, like an Adventure Path. I tried this one out on a whim, and I'm really glad that I did.
I think the complaints about the module being too single-minded are way off base; the module includes a lot of information about the town itself, the history of its founder, the people who live there, and the political divisions that lurk behind the smiling (or frowning) faces. And it's not just background info for the GM - there are numerous sub-quests (with xp rewards!) to encourage the players to get invested in the town and get to know people. If you're looking for a good introductory module for a new group, and don't want to commit to an entire Adventure Path, this is a great place to start.
I'm deducting one star becomes the reversible map, while showing a wonderful guide to the town, has perhaps the dullest possible miniatures map on the back. The module contains a lot of really interesting maps (that are often a lot of work to draw), and they chose to illustrate the simplest map possible. I would have appreciated a map of the Kobold warren much more than the auction house.
I bought Dragon’s Demand last week and read through it by now. And I must say that my expectations were really not met. But why is that so? You get a full description of what happens and what will happen in every chapter, at the start of each chapter. As a GM you always know what’s going on and what to tell and not to tell the Players. The new format is truly at its best here. The story itself is above standard, but not by far. The Dungeons are well written and described very detailed. And the PCs will have enough to do to get to level 7 at the end of this module.
The real problem I have with this book is the description of the town of Belhaim. You get a very nice poster map and a listing of every little house that is shown there. So you totally know that there is the Chance Smithy and that there are 6 humans working for a guy named Marcus Chance who is a NE male Expert 1 / Warrior 3 and is an unfriendly brutish guy. But what does that help me as a GM? The only NPC that gets a proper description is the town’s baroness and the main supporting evildoers. And the rest is up to the GM. The whole description of Belhaim is only 4 pages long. Only 3 of its denizens have a portrait and more than a list entry as a description. For some GMs this might be enough. But for me, I can come up with names for places and NPCs anytime. But what I expect from a module is that it gives me interesting NPCs to work with and fascinating backstories for them. And that is lacking, even with the main NPCs be they friend or foe.
The second big problem I have is that the PCs will not get to know their enemy. The Dragon is a well written character. His lieutenants also have interesting backstories, but are each reduced to one simple encounter. There is so much potential for more here. I would imagine sending my PCs on errands for the dragon so that he does not destroy Belhaim. Think about it like “Simon Sais” in Die Hard. While doing the dragons bidding the PCs get to know his secrets and his fellow lieutenants and slowly work out a plan to destroy the fiend. While you can do something like this with this adventure, there is nothing of it in this book. It is just straight forward go in and kill the dragon. And that is why I think it falls short on the account of what it could have been.
The last problem is but a small one. Don’t buy this module if you don’t own the Bestiary, Bestiary 2 and Ultimate Equipment (maybe also Bestiary 3). Every second monster is only described with “Bestiary 2 page xy” with no further info whatsoever. It’s the same with magic items. The Pathfinder reference document surely helps, but if you don't use a PC at the gaming table you have to print out all the entries and still don't have pictures of the monsters.
Closing thoughts: I will recommend this book to any GM that “only” needs a set of interesting and not too combat heavy dungeons that are well written and easy to GM. If you have all the pathfinder rulebooks you won’t run into any problems here whatsoever. While there is only little info on the different lieutenants and the dragon itself, this might be ok for some GMs. If you need a little more handholding as a GM when it comes to NPCs, this might not be the module for you. You need the PCs to get to know Belhaim and run some errands there and the book really doesn’t help you with that in any way. So if that is a problem to you or you don’t have all the rulebooks, don’t buy this one.
I rate this module with 3.5 stars because it only falls short on the basis of my expectations. It’s definitely a good module and with some GM work it can be a very exciting adventure. If done properly you could run a whole campaign flashing out the denizens of Belhaim as you go and inventing your own Belhaim while doing so.
This is a difficult adventure to review. I just finished running this, over the course of around 8 sessions. I had a lot of fun, but mainly because the group I was running it for really meshed well together and because I had the leeway to, as a PFS GM, modify encounters. (We were running it in Campaign mode.)
I would say that we had fun despite the printed adventure, however. There are so many good ideas in here that are so woefully underdeveloped.
First, let's talk about the storyline itself. The storyline is your basic "Kill the Dragon" plot. There's not much new there. There IS an interesting RP session midway through the adventure, but due to the heavy gold costs involved, most characters will choose not to take part in it. There are 50-odd locations listed in the book that the PCs can visit, along with little blurbs about each. There are also quests which encourage the PCs to go to these locations and chat the villagers up.
The problem is that it's nearly impossible for even a moderately-experienced GM like myself to come up with that many unique personalities on the fly, especially when the PCs do not have a hook to initiate conversation. I tried to improvise where I could, but most of the time when the PCs would visit these locations, it would feel very stilted. Also, given the length of everything else here, it's just not feasible to spend that much time in town.
So, let's talk about the combat. There's a lot of it. A LOT of it. Six dungeons worth. These were largely thrown in, it seems, to make the accounting come out right to get the characters to 7th level before the showdown. The frustrating part is that most of the combats are not that interesting. The adventure reuses weak, low-level mobs that really don't challenge the party in the slightest. Conversely, though, there are extremely difficult fights at odd intervals throughout the adventure.
I guess that, in the end, even at 8 sessions of it, it still felt rushed. There was a lot more that felt like it deserved exploring, but there was no detail about it in the book. Therefore, while my experience was good, I just can't rate the adventure that highly. A fantastic effort, but please, don't try to squeeze that many levels into a single 64-page module ever again. I look forward to seeing how this format works with the upcoming adventure, which will only include 4 levels.
I'm pretty new to Pathfinder and have been reading up on a bunch of modules for the campaign I'm developing and this one by far is the best one I've read yet. I can easily deploy this one into my campaign with minimal or no tweaks at all. Can’t wait to run it! Great maps, encounters, story and art work. Good job Paizo!!!