Review: Drakes On A Plain
Today I have the review I put off a couple weeks ago, but the timing is better than you might think. This 5th Edition adventure is a wonderful product that is scheduled to release tomorrow! You can check out Drakes On A Plain on The DM’s Guild starting tomorrow (I’ll link it when it is live). While you wait, though, how bout I finally share some of my thoughts about this short adventure and what it includes for additions to your campaign!
Just Enough And More
There is no better way for me to concisely describe this adventure than that. Let’s start with a little about the type of adventure you are getting here. This is a fairly classic style module that includes a plot that can easily be inserted into virtually any campaign world at almost any time. This isn’t a multi-week journey or dungeon delve, but something that can likely be done in just a couple days of in-game time. Higher level PCs might even get a fun challenge out of running the adventure over the course of the day, despite the legendary encounters involved. The scenario involves a mad wizard taking experiments too far and the monstrous drakes that he has created running amok.
Pretty simple and easy to hook the players into. The author offers a few options such as simply hiring the PCs or requiring it as a service after being arrested for the usual types of shenanigans that a group of adventurers (or their players) get into when they are drunk one night. The threat is an obvious one with a pretty simple solution. Over the course of the adventure the players will have to put down a pair of drakes with some interesting abilities in order to save the town from destruction at the hands of the wizard. They then will, of course, confront the wizard and put an end to his experiments. After succeeding in all this the players can retire to the local tavern to celebrate and….probably get drunk and earn another adventure’s worth of community service.
Now, you might think that this is a bit of an admonishment upon the adventure. It’s not. I love this thing! The tongue in cheek title and the nice layer of light-heartedness that coats the whole thing is wonderful. If you really want, there is no reason not to turn this into something much more serious. All that requires is some role-playing. But what I like about this is that it really hits you in the whole gut of playing D&D. You are playing to have fun. You are good guys that probably get drunk and cause trouble but also do a lot of good because that’s who you are. And there is probably coin in it too. While doing all this the adventure maintains the self-awareness of a challenging heroic fantasy paired with a fun time playing a game with friends. The dragons are cleverly built with equal parts frightening and amusing abilities. Squirrels on fire sounds funny as minions until a whole swarm has begun to overtake your character! More than that, the villain can easily be fought, negotiated with, or even challenged to a wizards duel as options for dealing with him!
Layout & Design
This is a wonderful product, especially given that this is the author’s first (if I remember correctly). It has a simple design with great formatting for D&D and what it needs to do. Anyone who recognizes how D&D adventures are formatted will be able to recognize how to use this product. The color is not overwhelming so this makes a good product to print even if you want to do so in color. Pictures are well placed and clearly commissioned specifically for this piece. The flow of the adventure is clear, laid out, and labeled with additional materials needed at the end. This includes collected stat blocks, spells, items, maps, and rules for wizards’ duels.
That being said there are a few tweaks that can always be made. Of course I only have a couple suggestions for a product like this. The first is that the legendary creatures’ legendary actions are not listed with action cost. Do they all cost 1 or do some cost 2 or 3??? Hopefully that can readily be edited if it hasn’t already for release. Second, I would like to see the legendary actions along with the stat blocks at the end. There looks like there is enough room, since the appendix does not include pictures and is designed to maintain stat block integrity and spacing. Other than including another hook or two, that is about all I’d like to see.
This is a wonderful little module of less than 25 pages crammed full of useful material. The adventure itself can probably be run in one night or stretched into a couple sessions, depending on how you worked it and if you wanted to add any filler. There are suggestions on how to make the journey through it a little more interesting and fun without requiring anything or looking to create rules or guides for you. It simply wants you to do what feels right and will be end up being fun. While providing a few hours to a few sessions of entertainment and adventure, it also comes with spells, items, a warlock patron, and wizards’ duels for you to utilize and get out of it. Honestly there is no way that this adventure isn’t worth buying and is at least a must buy for that folder of emergency adventures you probably have!