Module Review: Moonshaes Aflame (R. A. Sadler): 5 Stars
Taken by slavers, a group of adventurers have to free themselves on their way to the island realms of Moonshae. How far will each member go in order to get back to the life they knew? Or will they instead be changed by their harsh fate and embrace the power that can grant them revenge. The fate of the Moonshae Isles rests in the decisions each adventurer makes as they struggle to turn their fate around.
What First Drew Me?
When I was looking for a product for my first review, the first thing on my mind was honestly just the price. At $1.95 (at the time of this writing) this product is extremely well priced in my opinion. Furthermore, after the reading hook, I was very intrigued by the premise, which ended up drawing elements from Elder Scrolls, Moana, and of course the Sword Coast Adventure Guide.
While I’m looking forward to playing this adventure, I have not yet actually been able to run it with players. This review is based solely on my read through of it and my knowledge of the game.
The opening scene is captivating (literally) as the players attempt to escape from a slaving ship. Throughout the adventure the players are given many options, but the majority of the adventure takes place is a quaint little fishing village, home to a few memorable and well written characters. While the use of goblins is perhaps over done in a 1st tier adventure (who doesn’t like smashing goblins though), the underlying plot of the adventure is very well constructed, and will definitely lead allow for future campaigns to spring from it. With twists, intrigue, and interesting characters, the plot of this adventure definitely gets an A rating.
What Went Well
From its random encounter/background tables, to its multiple options for ability checks to overcome an encounter, it is obvious the author excellently anticipated a wide variety of things the players may try. Add to this the options for scaling, a relatively “sandbox” mentality, and its ability to flow into other campaigns, and this module presents a highly flexible option for players and DMs.
For the most part, this adventure is beautifully written and well executed. The DM is given plenty of guidance about what to roll and when, advice about how to role play various characters, and suggestions about how to scale the adventure and give it even more flexibility. Furthermore, the character and setting descriptions show a talent not just for adventure writing, but storytelling. As before, there is a lot of action throughout the adventure: at one point players risk being swept overboard into a stormy ocean. The maps were simple, yet well done and usable.
What Would I Change
The biggest thing I would change is a bit tighter editing. I noticed several missing/added words throughout, as well as some formatting issues like a heading at the end of a column with no words underneath it. These things started to detract and distract from the adventure, and are the biggest factor in preventing this adventure from receiving a full 5 stars*.
*Edit: Almost immediately after reading this, the author corrected many of the grammar and format issues I mentioned. Not only does this show his willingness to quickly fix any mistakes and update his products, but it fixed the biggest issues distracting from the adventure. UPDATED to 5 STARS!
Most of my other suggestions are rather nitpicky:
- Suggest scaling options on an encounter by encounter basis, not as an overall suggestion at the beginning. Though this can get cumbersome to write and read and more experienced DMs shouldn’t need it. This is mostly personal opinion.
- While I understand the author’s intent in making the maps sparsely populated, I’d actually prefer the maps be more filled in. Though it may lend flexibility in theory, I personally think it actually puts onus on the DM to fill in awkwardly empty spaces.
- An estimate somewhere about how many hours/sessions of play time the adventure should take. I would guess about 4-5 four hour sessions.
- The character Fimbryl is mentioned at the end, but I had no idea who he was suppose to be. This appeared to be a rather distracting plot hole.
This adventure is definitely recommended, and I give it an overall
4 5 stars. More of the author’s work is coming soon, so look for it on the DMsguild in the coming months. Until then, pick up a copy of this module by clicking the picture below!