Short Module Review: One Hand Washes the Other (Eastman Dunn Press): 4.5 Stars
Luckily for you, a skilled steeplejack has his own problem that you are uniquely suited to resolve. While transporting her employer’s jewelry, the steeplejack’s wife was robbed. He knows where the thieves fenced the jewelry, and he’s willing to repair the chimneys at a considerable discount if you can recover the jewelry before it’s missed.
Eastman Dunn’s, Waterdeep: Leverage is a short Waterdhelvian heist module the players can use to help fix Trollskull Manner. While it’s heavily Waterdeep based, it’s probably possible to modify it for other settings. The heist element of the module is riveting, and the “complication point” mechanics the authors introduce are an amazing addition which I look forward to in more of their works. Overall, Leverage challenges players to adapt, plan ahead, and keep their heads low as they try to pull off a minor heist with potentially major consequences.
The Heist. There’s a lot of heist modules being produced since Dragon Heist, and I don’t know if this one is particularly unique. What I do know is this heist will be enjoyable. It is “for a good cause” allowing players to remain “non-evil”. There is the likelihood of payouts beyond loot, and consequences beyond merely getting caught. While intended for low levels for a relatively simple purpose (repairing Trollskull Manor), the consequences (both positive and negative) could reverberate for the rest of the character’s lives. Throughout the adventure, the authors attempt to predict the players’ actions, and in general, paint a picture of a daring heist limited only by the imaginations of players and DM.
The Complications. Eastman and Dunn introduce “complication point” mechanics which they’ve derived and adapted from systems like Dungeon World and 7th Age. The system is a flexible way for players to “succeed with a price” when they fail ability checks. The Dungeon Master secretly keeps track of such points to “cash them in” at a later time. These may result in things like being trapped in a burning building, encountering more guards than planned, being watched by the town guards, or be tempted from completing their mission. While not all of the complication mechanics are clear, contextually realistic, or even negative, they add the most unique and valuable element of the module. I cannot wait to see it expanded upon in Eastman Dunn’s future work.
Production. The production and layout was nearly perfect. With only a few minor, and non-distracting proofreading oversights, the quality enhances, rather than detracts, from the value of the work. With a map from Dyson Logos included, as well as appropriate artistic choices, Eastman and Dunn have produced a high quality product they should be proud of.
Needed More. Despite the quality and ingenuity of the module, my one complaint is I was left wanting more. It seemed almost incomplete or over too quickly. It’s hard to say what caused, this–perhaps a more detailed list of complications that could arise, or more instruction for the DM would help. At only 6 pages of actual content (not including maps and stat blocks) the reading goes by almost too quickly. I wish I could express more what would could help–but even so, it’s well worth the price.
Waterdeep: Leverage is a short but exciting heist module that utilizes (what I hope are) “up and coming” mechanics for 5e. I’m rating it 4.5 stars, and saying it’s Recommended for anyone playing Waterdeep and using Trollskull Manor. Pick it up in our shop, or by clicking the picture below: