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2/5

Impressions before running the adventure which may still take several months to get to. Consider it a WIP review

Background. There was a lot of inconsistencies trying to explain the factions and the characters. The Band of Blades faction was not mentioned in the campaign background and only dropped in Chapter 1 without context. It was a very frustrating experience to ctrl+f throughout the .pdf, going back and forth to piece together what the heck is going on.

Chapter 1. I like the idea of the investigation, but do not like the influence subsystem at all. It seems to grind gameplay to a halt, and I hate systems that feel like rolling dice for the sake of rolling dice and this was one of them. It makes little narrative sense to halt all progress and action for conversational dice rolls where you could potentially spend hours or days harassing three NPC's for information you need. I probably would go with a node-based design to obtain the three clues needed to solve the mystery.

Chapter 2. I love the idea of portal fantasies like Kingdom Hearts and Tsubasa Chronicles where you get sent to different worlds, it is peak adventure. However, in many of the Harrowing Realm adventures it feels like the players are participating in very minor parts to larger narratives. I hated reading "this is beyond the scope of this adventure", or some quests even invalidating the players' efforts like certain NPC's not needing the key that the players were sent to retrieve. I also disliked how the adventures do not reflect the deeper meaning of the Harrow cards, some being only superficially related to the card’s imagery. Too many things are hand-waved for my liking, especially with how willing some NPC’s part with the Harrow Cards that saved their lives.

I love the concept of the adventure path, but I feel like I may have to majorly rip this apart to get something more cohesive and have more narrative significance.

Chapter 3. There is a pretty significant NPC where their fate is left up to the GM and PCs without any suggestions on what role they could serve in assisting the PCs if they remain an ally. Despite being a pretty significant character, they're completely dropped never to be seen in the next two books. The final encounter feels strange, as the boss hasn't been very much directly involved nor do any of the other NPC's talk about him much. The build up seems to come almost exclusively in background note for the GM, with very little, if at all, present in the actual content the players will see.


5/5

This book is pure fluff and awesome for it. This really is pretty much a guide to life as NPC’s in a fantasy world and can potentially be setting agnostic. It’s great for any RPG fan in fantasy settings that gets you thinking of ways to flesh out your world building. Tells you what the common knowledge is concerning the world lore, recipes, gods, fashion, trade routes, leisure sports games, calendars, the layouts of homes. A very in depth guide to ground you more as you role play.


5/5

Both Thaumaturge and Psychic are really cool. The flavor text is awesome. Some of the adventures are hit or miss, but it’s cool that they provide short adventure ideas that can be i inserted into any campaign as a side plot.


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5/5

For $21 the FVTT is 1000% worth it. The module will last you about 10 months at a consistent pace, and you can really learn how to make your homebrew maps pretty by looking behind the scenes on how this premium module sets up their scenes and read through the coding to learn how they toy around with tile images, adding sound effects, and making things invisible.


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4/5

Abomination Vaults is great for what it is, a dungeon crawler that’s heavy on themes of undead and aberrations, that gets weirder and more interesting the further down you go. There’s a hub town to return to, and there isn’t as much pressure on the party.

The narrative is quite simple and can be sparse at time while you explore room to room. I felt such a lack of roleplay opportunities that I just converted some combat encounters into conversational NPC's. There are specific events that trigger in the town of Otari (a natural follow up to the Beginner Box adventure), but for the majority of the AP the town is relatively uninvolved which is unfortunate. I would've liked more townsfolk being tied into the narrative. Be aware that the entire AP from levels 1-10 stays in one location so the scope is very narrow to one town and a superficial slice of the Darklands.


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5/5

The maps are beautiful, all of the tokens, artwork, and placements are great. Definitely a good way to see how premium modules sets up their scenes so you can learn how to make cool maps yourself.


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5/5

The very first adventure any new GM should play. The adventure is written as if you’re brand new to any tabletop RPG so you can run this without having to read the Core Rulebook. It’s learn as you play. The adventure can be completed in two sessions and has its own little bestiary if you want to continue running a game with just the content in this box.

The only downside, however, is that it's not a very heroic adventure. You're pursuing a pretty simple job, there's not much of a narrative, and doesn't really show off what you can do role-play wise.


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5/5

Yup it was worth it. I figure all the rules are available everywhere online and in the FVTT so this is my way of paying the value of a hardcover that I wouldn’t otherwise get. It’s super cool being able to drop any tokens in my game and they all pop out from the token frame.