Review: The Death Knight’s Squire (Solo Adventure!)
Today we have something very interesting to share with you folks. The review is a 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons solo adventure, called The Death Knight’s Squire, which went up back in September. Many of us at the time were quite curious about it and I talked with the RPG Kitchen about reviewing it. They are in the process of developing a website and resource for RPGs and I hope to see it added to the community soon. While their focus has been videos (I believe) they are working on a site that you can find here. Thanks to the RPG Kitchen I got a chance to look at and play the solo adventure and you’ll be able to find this review up on the site when it launches! So, without further preamble, let’s get to it!
Adventure For One
This adventure is unique for a reason that should be obvious by now: it was designed for one person to play through. No party. No DM. Just you, the adventure, and some dice. When I was growing up one of the things that, I realize now, probably helped get me into RPGs was the choose your own adventure style books. More specifically the Goosebumps stories because I loves that series and I loved the idea of being able to pick what happened as you went along. This adventure reminds me not just of that but a book I picked up at Buck-A-Book back in the day. It came with two six sided dice and you got to choose your own adventure, but you had to roll for outcomes in some things! It was so awesome and this adventure brought me right back to the enjoyment I got out of that book.
That being said let’s talk about how that works. In The Death Knight’s Squire you are asked to make a second level character following the normal rules for doing so. You then read an introduction that provides you with some reason for being where you are and doing what you’re about to do. It is just vague enough that taking up the adventure could be for many reasons: boredom, money, heroism. It doesn’t really matter, but all are valid explanations worked into the adventure’s intro. From there you get some very classic feeling D&D narration and options. Right away you are pulled into the story as your character and it is a lovely experience. Eventually you make it to the mapped area and are provided pages of maps to follow and use miniatures with if you like. The only thing I would say about these is that most of them have stealth options and trap searching options. Now, I understand providing them but there is at least one that tells you there are no traps. I would have made it an option that leads to a generic no trap narration instead because I always wondered what traps I was going to get smashed by because my character didn’t look for them when the option was there.
I am incredibly impressed with this product. First off, the introduction pages are very explanatory in what to expect and how the game will work. It has suggestions on what to do with the adventure for a pair of people playing and what to do if you want to run it for someone. It even has a little bit of suggestion for simply running it as a standard adventure. I love this. More than that I love how cleverly and carefully the entire thing was set up. beyond the introduction is the prelude to the adventure that leads you into it. Following that page after page of things that can happen. These are all codeworded and placed in alphabetical order. This way you are able to go from one unique option to the next without much clue as to what to expect. The codewords that do give a clue are the inevitable follow ups or the results of certain rolls. Following this section are the map tile sections. Each map tile through the woods has its own narration, options, rolls, and exits. There are narrative queues that prompt specific encounters and, on occasion, random encounters. Needless to say, the possibilities in the 118 page book are endless.
I usually don’t add this as an entire section, but I think this product needs more than a concluding few statements. The cost of this product is about $10 on the DMs Guild. Let’s start with the size of the product. Over 100 pages of material is certainly worth that money, but you must be asking how much you can get out of one adventure for one person. Beyond suggesting you go halvsies with someone, I just want to tell you it is worth it for yourself. If you get an itch to play and commute on a bus or other moments of down time, it will be so worth it. I rolled up a stone sorcerer aasimar because I wanted to. I figured it might be a decent mix and a fun class. I came within 1 HP of death at least three times, but somehow managed to survive. Personally I think it is because I got lucky finding things fast and ignoring some of my exploratory options. This wasn’t to save time, my character is just….selective…and I got lucky. Just seeing pictures and knowing I had other options makes me want to play through it again and find out what I missed. I skipped more than half the map tiles too! I want to make different characters that would take different methods of going about it and see what happens! Really the replay-ability just adds so much to the value of this product.
So, I have to say, this product is one of the best unique products I have come across in RPGs. Whether you have ever done a choose your own adventure or not, you should give this a go. Not only that, but there is a sequel out now to and I think I need to go buy it ASAP. This product is so much fun and the creators have earned every penny they get from it!