Gibbous Moon (PFRPG) PDF

4.60/5 (based on 5 ratings)

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A short Pathfinder Roleplaying Game compatible adventure for 3rd-level PCs by Ennie Award winning designer Creighton Broadhurst

Months ago, the necromancer Dunstan Wymer was gored by a wereboar and infected with lycanthropy. Almost driven insane by the realization of what he had become after awaking amid the gore and viscera of his companions’ eviscerated corpses, he has since shunned civilization instead seeking only solitude and the company of his undead servants. Terrified of the savage, bloody deeds he performs when the full moon shines down upon the world he now lurks within the remote hermitage at Clear Pool. In a desperate attempt to control his terrible, atavistic urges he has taken to stealing cattle from a nearby village to assuage his bestial lust for fresh, bloody flesh. The unknowing villagers, however, are angry at the continued theft of their livestock and the arrival of a passing band of adventurers gives them the perfect tools to bring the culprit to justice...

Gibbous Moon is a short, flavoursome adventure designed to be completed in a single 4-5 hour session that offers a blend of roleplaying and combat opportunities. The action essentially takes place in single self-contained dungeon complex and is very easy to plug into a home campaign.

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This product is a Dual Format PDF. The downloadable ZIP file contains two versions, one optimised for printing and use on a normal computer and one optimised for use on a mobile device such as an iPad.

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An RPG Resource Review


The author's foreword extols the merits and usefulness of short 'filler' adventures during a long-running campaign, hence this adventure which is designed to be played in a single session. We begin, however, with Raging Swan Press's usual detailed analysis of encounter structure and stat blocks, showing you how everything fits together.

Then it's on with the backstory to the adventure for the GM. Various suggestions are made for involving the party, from merely coming across the hermitage that is the focus of their explorations in their travels to being hired to go there for a completely different reason from the main thrust of the adventure (neat!) or being in a village where there's been a bit of trouble concerning missing livestock and starting from there. If you choose either of the reasons, then you can spread rumours and encourage the characters to ask around a bit before they set out... some of the information they can gather might even be useful! Everything has been set up so that it can fit easily into your own campaign world - just find some village in a reasonably remote, frontier-style region. To make life easier, a couple of the series of villages published by Raging Swan Press are mentioned as suitable, if you don't have any of your own to hand.

Anyway, however you get the party there, they need to travel about six miles from the village to find the remote hermitage. The immediate surroundings as well as the hermitage itself are described in comprehensive detail, enabling you to make it come to life for your players. You even get little mannerisms to aid in roleplaying the people the party will meet - one, for example, licks his lips when he is nervous. Have fun with that...

Whilst a basic delve at a quick glance, there's a lot more depth to this adventure with a 'villain' who is in some measure quite sympathetic, and both he and others encountered can be talked to as well as fought... if that's what the party choose to do. The outcome of the adventure is thus left open-ended, it very much depends on what the characters decide to do about what they find. That gives a feeling of satisfaction, that they have some control over events, that their actions matter: neat. There are also some suggestions for follow-on adventures including not only the suggestion that they might like to settle in the hermitage themselves but what might happen if they do!

Overall, a neat and thought-provoking interlude to drop into an established campaign, well worth having to hand for that occasion when, for whatever reason, you need an evening's adventure.

Carrion Crown Add-on


Lovely little mod - easily worth 5 stars and the price helps. What I wanted to add to the commentary was the usefulness of this mod as a side trek within the Carrion Crown AP. I'd place it somewhere on the PCs' journey from Ravengro to Lepidstadt. Maybe Esteri (p 9) is a friend of Kendra Lorrimor? Maybe Dunstan appears later in Caliphas? Hope no spoilers there but DMs of this and CC will understand.

Also it would act as a convenient preparation for later events.

It would also be useful were Raging Swan to adopt a subscription model for its adventure line.

Bark at the Moon


My players were in need of a little extra exp. to hit the next part of our ongoing game recently and I pulled this out to help fill that gap. Let me say the story is pretty sound for the size of the adventure and it fit neatly within the suggested 4 hour time frame. My group had a little bit of a struggle and I'm not 100% sure if it was them or if the adventure is just a tad too hard for 3rd level characters. (there has been discussion of trying again with different characters, so if my group wants to play it a second time something here must be pretty good.) The overall story can be fit into an existing campaign with only minimal work and the characters are pretty generic and truth be told I swapped them out for some faces my party already knew. Short adventures such as these are a live saver when the GM (usually me) has had life intrude and very little time to work on the game. I will be looking into more of these adventures to pad out my kit of one night stands as it were.

Worth Checking Out


So, its like a mini-adventure path? Okay, I can get into this.

When we talk about a product's crunch, we're talking about its game mechanics, and an adventure path certainly has game mechanics to look at; abet not much. The monsters are acceptable and the game's map is very passable, although I'm not fond of how the map is designed to allow the players to essentially skip right to the penultimate encounter right away. The one thing I really don't like about this adventure is that it doesn't really offer the players any monetary rewards; you can find a couple of small-fry treasures in the adventure, but it basically leaves the GM to come up with dribble like money. If this adventure has a strength, its that every encounter is designed to be scaled up one CR or down one CR, which is nice. You could easily service a much wider array of PCs with this adventure than the cover proclaims, or you could make it a much more difficult challenge. Crunch wise, the product is passable, even better than mediocre. 4 / 5 Stars.

When we walk about a product's flavor, we're talking about its story and its overall style. Basically, the Adventure Path is about a group of PCs getting hired by a village to investigate the theft of their livestock and stumbling onto much more than they bargained for. This product is small, but honestly I've seen people fit a surprising amount of style into smaller documents. This product lacks style. Even though it talks about keeping secrets from the players, I think most PCs (even without metagaming) are going to be able to figure out what is going on in the adventure fairly quickly, especially when they stumble into the dungeon. Few characters are in this story; the "village" that sends you to deal with the thefts isn't really detailed at all aside from an overall air of unrest over the thefts. It lives a lot open to the GM to decide, perhaps too much open. I would have loved to see a section like, "Incorporating this into your adventure," or the like. In addition, both of the characters who are mentioned in this story aren't particularly likable, and I think most of my characters would opt to flat-out kill them then rescue them. Size is certainly a constraint here, but I think most people will find that they would have gladly paid another dollar for another five pages of content and story-weaving or so. 3 / 5 Stars.

When we talk about a product's texture, we're talking about its layout, grammar, and overall presentation. Raging Swan as a publisher tends to take a very minimalist approach to its products. There isn't much art, there's no crazy page boarders, and the cover is black with white text. Can't get much more minimalist then that. But honestly, this works for the product line. Raging Swan designs their products the way they do so the common Joe and print them out on their printer without paying $30 in ink costs and because of its minimalist design, Gibbous Moon looks like it could have been plucked straight off of the desk of a master GM, which is pretty cool. The author / publisher is English, so sometimes I have to remind myself that things like 'civilisation' aren't spelled wrong on his side of the pond, but other then my brain getting boggled at cross-Atlantic spelling differences this product is basically error-free. The one thing I really don't like about this book's texture is the lack of transition from prelude to adventure. Seriously, you're reading the prelude and out of nowhere, Gibbous Moon's like BAM! ITS ADVENTURE TIME! I see this being very confusing for GMs and I pity the GM who ends up wandering through the same three pages several times looking for where his adventure starts before his players. 4 / 5 Starts.

Final Score & Thoughts
Crunch: 4 / 5
Flavor: 3 / 5
Texture: 4 / 5
Final Score: 3.5, rounded to 4 / 5 Stars

Let me be clear on this; this is not a bad product. I can see myself using this as a random addition to an encounter table. One-shot and then never mentioned again. Unless of course my players REALLY like the characters in the story, which I find incredibly doubtful. While I feel like the Adventure lacks content if only to keep itself short and sweet, perhaps my biggest problem with the Adventure is that the characters aren't memorable. They're not likable, they're not dastardly evil; they end up coming across as being somewhat obnoxious. You don't really feel sorry for them and you don't really care about what happens to them in the end, which is a shame. The story has the potential of being a tragedy, but in order for it to be tragic, we have to identify with the characters and care enough about them in order to feel sorry for them. I couldn't find that in this product, but considering its $3.00 for four encounters, plus the story threads to string it along (and possibly to future adventures) I would recommend this product to anyone looking for a fun little romp.

4.5 stars - nice sidetrek, especially if you want to introduce cohorts


The first in raging Swan's new series of short side-trek modules, Gibbous Moon clocks in at 19 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 2 pages editorial, 1 page ToC/foreword,1 page advice on how to use an adventure, 1 page of advice on reading statblocks, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with a total of 10 pages of content, so let's check this out!

After a title-card page,we are introduced to the adventure and since it is an adventure I'm reviewing here, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion.

All right, still here? The adventure kicks off with a background story and two hooks - to retrieve bones from an hermitage and the other, to find the source of cattle-thefts. Either way, the adventurers are led to the Clear Pool hermitage after unearthing some additional pieces of information via social skills etc.. Once at the hermitage, they can find not only the grisly remains of sheep, but also encounter a savage dire boar. The hermitage, located in cliffs near a waterfall, is presented as series of natural caves with RSP's trademark attention to detail being reflected in a table of carvings, carcasses to find etc. Speaking of grisly finds - in one of the caves, Viljo, lone survivor of his adventuring team, awaits - he was also sent to this place to recover the saintly bones, but his companions have been slaughtered by the resident of this place, a man named Dunstan who subsequently made zombies out of Viljo's former companions.
Dunstan, himself once an adventurer and necromancer, was infected with were-boar lycanthropy and is responsible for the cattle thefts - he stole the livestock to quench his lycanthropic hunger and prevent the beast inside from turning upon the local populace. The moral dilemmata in confronting Dunstan are evident. While the man has acted to keep innocents from harm, he has resorted to theft to do so. Moreover, he has slain Viljo's comrades, animated them and infected the poor man with lycanthropy as well. He's not evil (yet) though, and while he is a necromancer, he's not one of the insane kind - so what do the PCs do? Kill him? Try to negotiate a deal between him and the village? Try to cure him? What is the right thing to do? The openness of the module, especially for its briefness, is commendable and DCs to broker a non-violent solution, a cure for lycanthropy of his particular strain and multiple hooks for further adventuring are also included.

Editing and formatting are good, though not up to the almost blemish-less standard I've come to expect from raging Swan - on page 10 there's e.g. a line where "save" should read "saves". Layout adheres to RSP's concise and crisp standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked and in two versions - one optimized for screen use and one to be printed out. Both files are small enough to not be a burden on mobile devices. The b/w-artworks and cartography are nice and I'd advise any Gm wishing to run this sidetrek to check out Raging Swan's HP to download high-res jpegs of the dungeon as well as statblocks to use infected/uninfected version of the two NPCs as companions in future adventures - cool, though I don't get why they are not part of the zip-file in the first place.

My direct frame of reference to compare this to is 0onegames' extremely affordable series of short urban modules of the Sinking-series - at least in formal criteria. Content-wise, the focus of Raging Swan vs. 0onegames is so different in theme that comparing a weird urban fantasy setting with classic old-schoolish sidetreks just doesn't work. In contrast to the Sinking, the ideas herein are not too imaginative. The basic plotline has been done before and mechanically, you will find nothing too exciting herein - but that's also not at all what this is about: This module is about providing an affordable, easily inserted sidetrek and at this, its prime objective, it succeeds. This module makes for a nice insertion into your campaign and its web-enhancements ensure that a DM should be able to run this module on the fly, without any preparation. The variety of options on how to potentially resolve this sidetrek is what makes "Gibbous Moon" stand out and rise above what would be seen as rather mediocre. With all the options for future complications and resolutions, the adventure can actually be considered good - though when directly compared to the slightly longer and more expensive "Dark Waters Rising", it falls a bit short of excellence. Thus, I'll settle on a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.


Now available!

Sovereign Court Raging Swan Press

And don't forget that Raging Swan has free samples and web enhancements available at the adventure's webpage!

And reviewed here, on DTRPG and sent to GMS magazine. Cheers! (Also submitted all my RSP-adventure-reviews to Nerdtrek. Cheers!

Sovereign Court Raging Swan Press

Thanks Thilo!I'm glad you liked it! (Although, I'm mortified at the typo...)


Sovereign Court Raging Swan Press

I should have added: thanks also for submitting it to Nerdtrek!

Sovereign Court Publisher, Raging Swan Press

Thanks for the review, Golden-Esque. I appreciate the time it took and I'll be taking a close look at your feedback for future products.

Sovereign Court Publisher, Raging Swan Press

Thanks very much for the review, Fleanetha! I'm delighted you enjoyed Gibbous Moon!

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