Short Module Review: Cutter’s Last Voyage (Alex Clippinger): 4.5 Stars
… [A] man called Tarsik Bilgebreach is being hunted by cultists. They’re under the impression that Tarsik is the sole surviving member of Captain Cutter’s crew, and have questions about Cutter’s last voyage—a treasure hunt for a coveted relic of Umberlee. The hunt is on to reach the derelict vessel and secure the relic before Umberlee’s worshippers can terrorize the seas once more.
Alex Clippinger’s Cutter’s Last Voyage is a short, quick module that brings the pirate culture of the high seas to life in an exuberant and engaging way. While there’s nothing particularly unique or exciting about the adventure, it’s well executed plot, variable encounters, and quick pacing make it the perfect short module for any nautical campaign that wants to add a bit of mystery and heroic narrative to their sessions.
Plot. Clippinger’s plot is straightforward and relatively short, but expertly executed and with a fair share of mystery and intrigue. Keeping the majority of the action on the high seas, the narrative is interesting enough in and of itself to be a short story. Its element of mystery is probably foreshadowed enough for the astute player to figure out, but (from the perspective of a DM reading this) isn’t too easy. Altogether, it is a nice narrative addition to any campaign or a great quick one-shot. The adventure can fit rather seamlessly into any campaign.
Encounters. This adventure includes a nice balance of roleplaying and combat encounters. The roleplaying encounters use a wide variety of skills, including a potential skill challenge, and thus can be enjoyed by all party members no matter their role. The combat encounters are well balanced and involve additional features like storms to make it more than just “combat”.
Pacing. Alex Clippinger shows his masterful writing through the pacing of this adventure. It is short, but leaves nothing out. Nor is it bloated with unnecessary fluff. You have everything you need without having to waste your time. Preparation is easy, and this could even be ran “on the fly” for a DM that needs a last minute one-shot. Within the narrative, the story unfolds at the perfect rate, not revealing too much too early, or too little too late.
Simplicity. As much as I consider this a well-written, easy to run, and at points engaging module, I struggled to find anything “original” about it. I just couldn’t get “excited” about it, and I’m not sure why that is. And maybe that’s ok–adventures can be derivative and still provide a fun and engaging play experience.
We’re giving Cutter’s Last Voyage 4.5 stars, and recommending it for just about anyone who wants a well-crafted, easy to run, short module for saltmarsh, or any other nautically-adjacent campaign. This would especially work as a short-notice or new DM oneshot! If you’re buying the module, click through the picture below to help support us: