Guide Review: The Verdantium (David Hopkins, et. al): 5 Stars
“We may indeed be on the verge of war as Thay, Mulmaster, and the Enclave are pulled into a conflict. Who knows how many others they’ll drag in to it?” – Sandyse Thunderquill
When I first came across the Verdantium I had no idea what the “Red War” was. In full disclosure, I have almost no experience with Adventurer’s League material or culture and have begrudgingly avoided getting into a seemingly rules-heavy mode of play. With my exposure to the Verdantium, however, that may change. While this publication serves mostly as a narrative guide and history to these epic events, it served its purpose–to excite the reader about this AL subculture and story line. I now want to be a part of it!
What is It?
More than anything, the Verdantium guidelines are a story. It is a history of the conflict, the people who started it, the factions and leaders, and the Thayans they seek to overthrow. Primarily it is a narrative hook to get you excited. Secondarily it is a guide–factions, secret codes, custom backgrounds, and resources for further engaging in the story and AL. It is not a traditionally content driven supplement that offers easy incorporation of monster statblocks, class archetypes, or a set adventure module.
What I Liked.
Verdantium accomplishes what it sets out to do. For those who are interested in the Verdantium, it clearly lays out the history of the conflict and gives many good options on how to play it both within and apart from the AL system. It offers new backgrounds, faction details, and connections to other groups. While I don’t think it possible to comfortably incorporate a complex Verdantium story line from this single source, it is a high quality first step in using the conflict.
For those that have never heard of the Red War, the Verdantium offers a compelling account of the large-scale conflict that gamers dream of living out. Previously I’ve avoided Adventurer’s League stuff. Now, simply because I have some grandiose desire to be even a small part of this Red War, I may seek out a way to get involved.
The document is well edited and the style of writing is flowing and captivating. It’s a lot of reading, but it doesn’t seem like it. Though it is written by different voices, they flow together seamlessly, and the layout is distracting. The artwork is excellent and enjoyable, I just wish there were more of it.
What I Didn’t Like.
Anything I didn’t like about his guide is subjective, and because it’s Pay What You Want, will not detract from the score. I would love to see this guide expanded to give DM’s a better grasp of how to run the Red War outside of AL leadership. A statblock for the Big Bad Lich and various NPC’s for the Thayans would be a good start. While the guide gives numerous broad objectives for players based on rank and faction, a short one-shot module could give DM’s more guidance. Realistically, these are outside the scope of this single guide, however, and hopefully more supplements will be produced on this topic.
My final frustration is that most of the characters mentioned in this guide are actually PCs, and not able to to be used ethically as NPCs in a DM’s game. This is understandable, but makes it very difficult to play outside the Adventurer’s League, especially since the guide doesn’t make clear which characters are PCs and which are NPCs.
I give this guide 5 stars–it’s high quality and captivating content aren’t hindered by its narrow scope. I would recommend everyone at least check it out, since its Pay What You Want, you have nothing to lose, and will most likely find it inspiring and interesting. Get involved if you feel so inclined. One last thing–All profits from this product go towards the Extra Life Charity, so if you don’t hate the product, consider throwing a bit of money their way. It’s for the kids!
Pick it up by clicking the picture below: