Module Review: Blind Man’s Bluff (Sean Holman): 5 Stars
Nightmares, both living and dead, are said to haunt its halls, preying upon the unwary. But the promise of untold treasure by its owners, the twin matriarchs of an ancient, aristocratic family, has taken you here to unravel the mystery of Blind Man’s Bluff.
Blind Man’s Bluff is the premier adventure of author Sean Holman, and delivers a well-rounded, action-packed mix of mystery and ambient horror for tier one adventurers. With immersive characters and a “nautical adjacent” setting, the players will find themselves smelling sea air and spelunking through old smugglers caverns. Blind Man’s Bluff suffers from only minimal flaws, and is sure to be a well loved module for both players and DM.
Encounters. Blind Man’s Bluff offers a variety of encounters–roleplay interaction, puzzles, traps, and plenty of combat. While some of the combat encounters and traps risk killing characters, the module presents a wide variety of these encounters to make the players feel both powerful and at risk. The maritime theme is present throughout, though subtle, and flavors everything from the traps (watch out for drowning) to foreshadowing. Sean Holman has done an excellent job weaving these themes throughout a wide variety of immersive and engaging situations.
Characters. The NPCs scattered throughout the module all have unique personalities and backgrounds that bring them to life and make it easy to interact. Though there isn’t a large cast of characters, most of the ones presented are immersive and evoke a visceral response, which should make for some rich roleplay at the table. My favorites are the Vagen Twins–for while they speak with an almost cliche ability to finish the other’s sentences, the trope is delivered so well, and with such an engaging and developed dialogue and backstory, that you wouldn’t have them portrayed any other way.
Maps. The maps are simplistic isometric maps, but are high quality and expansive, allowing you to see all of a particular chapter in one page. The pencil-sketch style aids to the overall feeling and artwork of the rest of the module, but still provides adequate stylistic and narrative details. I know isometric maps are a thing, but I hardly ever see them. This module is particularly well-served by it because of the particularly vertical nature of the sea caves which you explore.
Narrative. Overall, I like the plot and mystery behind it. It moves a long a bit slowly (see below) due to the nature of this module being a “semi-dungeon-crawl”, but as the characters work to uncover clues about past deaths and current intrigue, they will enjoy the few twists and the progression that exists. The plot is necessarily linear, but not in a heavy-handed fashion.
Plot Density. While the plot overall is engaging, it seems as though you have to play a relatively large number of hours to get what is, in reality, a rather short plot. The “plot density” is rather thick, meaning at some points, you have to complete a lot of encounters to move the plot just a little. This is typical of adventures that are more encounter based, and is not necessarily a bad thing, but buyers should be aware that the pacing is on the slow end of the spectrum.
Foreshadowing. While the foreshadowing present in the module is mostly subtle and includes what any good writing should, there is one area in which the author could improve. Without revealing too many spoilers, the character “Ren” should have a more subtle influence throughout the town. As it is stands, there’s no hint to her presence, and perhaps something as subtle as the townspeople noticing people going missing, children acting funny, or other strange but vague rumors could hint at the greater plot point while not revealing it too much. I love the character, but would like to see her foreshadowed a bit better.
Blind Man’s Bluff is an excellently crafted, fun, and mysterious adventure perfect for tier one players who want to spend a few sessions on engaging encounters. We’re giving it 5 Stars and recommending it for… well just about anyone. It’s well rounded enough that most people should like it. If you want to support our reviews, and plan on buying the product, click through the picture below to do so.