North Road 03: Messenger in the Woods


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The Woods has a Message for You: This is the third installment of the twelve part series, named The North Road, by the Quest Givers and sees the adventuring party continuing a journey to find a Loyalist camp. One fantastic aspect about this series is its system agnosticism: no matter what system you play, you can run this series. The Art: If you're looking for art along the lines of Larry Elmore, Wayne Reynolds, or Jon Hodgson, the Quest Givers don't quite have the budget for that yet. However, if you enjoyed a lot of the illustrations from the first edition of the world's most popular RPG, then the illustrations in this volume are right up your alley. The black and white sketches of the NPCs and Monsters are evocative and successfully icky when they need to be. The color photographs showcase the authors' contributions to the tabletop crafting community with wonderful clarity, and are quite inspiring in their own right. The sarlakarn is particularly intriguing and has been added to my long list of future builds. The Story (as spoiler free as possible): The characters begin the adventure already on the road in a wood. For those who haven't played the first two adventures in the series, this can be easily dropped into any campaign where the adventurers are currently, or likely, to travel a lot. Characters with any predilection for hunting or wilderness lore will be pivotal in finding the seed for the adventure, but the text also has an alternate route to take if the characters head back to the town they last left (or, with some rearranging, the town they're soon to enter). The overall atmosphere of the adventure is one of mystery and suspense. The party meets a messenger with a royal charge in a seemingly haunted forest and must contend with aggressive insects, plants, and more before coming to the overall resolution. While the adventure is fun and creative, with a many opportunities for adventure, some of the prose and grammatical structures could do with a little tightening up (but I'm a little particular as my day job is as a technical writer and editor). Fortunately, that has little impact on the premise and fun of the quest. It's full of heart pounding encounters and has clear directions from one instance to another. One wonderful mechanic the authors introduce is the "Sun Die." It acts as a way to trigger an event and track the passage of the day; it's absolutely wonderful. The lack of system mechanics means there is a little more work that needs to be done on the part of the GM so it fits into the system they're working with, but that's truly ancillary to the extraordinary tale Gareth Q. Barrett and Scotty McFarland are telling in The North Road. It's a truly exciting tale and I'm looking forward to picking up more when I can.

Rated by Niklas Skinner
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