Module Review: Scourge of the Nightingale, Part I: A Song of Love (Jeff C. Stevens)–5 Stars
Alas, the wedding was interrupted by a group of goblins, who kidnapped one of the grooms – Devon Artis – in the middle of the night before the wedding.
Scourge of the Nightingale: A Song of Love is the first adventure in Jeff C. Steven’s new trilogy featuring a scorned bard called “Nightingale”. While the narrative isn’t as unique as we’ve come to expect from previous works like The Madhouse of Tasha’s Kiss or Happy Jack’s Funhouse, it is strong enough to both stand on it’s own and flow into the second volume of the trilogy. True to form, Jeff C. Stevens delivers a product that is fun, engaging, and innovative to the core. While the narrative itself isn’t necessarily unique, everything else about this product is.
Flexibility and Encounters. Whether it’s the level adjustment, the various ways to overcome each encounter, or the choice of insults the goblins sling at the players, A Song of Love is full of flexibility. Jeff Stevens has made sure to introduce a variety of encounters that vary between roleplay, combat, and other challenges, and many that can be solved in multiple ways. Even more impressive than the flexibility of encounters, Jeff Stevens has managed to introduce some encounter types that are relatively innovative for a D&D campaign. At one point, the players (as their characters) can engage in the scene of a play that is actually written out and provided within the module. These layers of immersion are exceptional and if the players allow themselves to be immersed, this will likely be one of the most fun adventures you have every played or DM’d.
NPCs. There are a lot of different NPCs here, from village members, to goblins, to members of the wedding party. For the most part, they are well-crafted with depth and a sense of purpose and personality that makes for a rich world in which to interact and a lot of fun and variety. The DM will love running these NPCs, and the players should love interacting with them. The unfurling of the main antagonist is done with near perfect pacing over the course of the three adventures, the players will enjoy the novel-esque layering of the entire narrative.
Level Adjustments. Jeff Stevens has taken painstaking efforts to make this module playable for any level between one and ten. These level adjustments are more than just how to change the DC for certain skill encounters…for combats he has listed a different set of enemies for each level your party might be at. They are meticulous, balanced, and keep the core of every encounter while not being too hard or two easy for any given level. The sheer playability present through this effort makes this a highly marketable adventure!
Appendices. The appendices are among the most diverse and useful I’ve ever seen. While they include the typical elements like maps, monsters, and magic items, they also include a scene from the play the characters can run, an original song (musical notes included), and handouts for both the DM and Players. The variety and uniqueness of the appendices adds a lot of interesting value to the product!
Narrative. The narrative isn’t bad. It’s relatively engaging, has interesting plot points, and provides flexibility for the players and DM. But it’s not the unique, innovative storytelling that we’ve come to expect from Jeff Stevens. It’s not a major issue, it’s still like scoring 99% on a test, but the uniqueness of the narrative is not the same as Madhouse of Tasha’s Kiss or Happy Jack’s Funhouse. But maybe that’s ok.
Scourge of the Nightingale: A Song of Love is almost exactly what we’ve come to expect from Jeff Stevens–an expertly crafted, high quality product that introduces unique elements in the game for players and DMs. We are giving it 5 Stars and making it highly recommended for just about any table. You can pick it up by clicking the picture below!