Sandbox Review: The Beggar Prince (Christian Eichhorn): 4 Stars
A fiend with a thirst for power established an almshouse in Waterdeep’s underbelly. Will the characters strike down the cambion Dax or support him in his humanitarian mission? Descend into the aromatic sewers of Waterdeep, uncover the circumstances behind a mysterious coin shortage and approach the problem the old-fashioned way: hours of indecisive planning.Beggar Prince Introduction
Christian Eichhorn’s Beggar Prince aims to provide the reader with a skeletal framework for a Waterdeep Sandbox adventure. He largely succeeds–while leaving a lot of work to the DM, Eichhorn presents evocative and engaging NPC’s, a nuanced moral quandry, and the potential for some very complicated combats–though there is a very heavy Roleplay focus. For the right DM and players, Beggar Prince provides an amazing and flexible opportunity to interact with some of Waterdeep’s most overlooked denizens.
Flexibility. This module is meant to be a sandbox, so obviously it’s flexible. It’s set in Waterdeep, but could be easily converted to any other large city. There’s an abundant number of endings that are only limited by the creativity (or stupidity) of the players and DM. While a few quests, encounters, and endings are suggested as the most likely, this module puts very few actual restraints on the players. You can use it to enhance anything the party is currently doing in Waterdeep, and it doesn’t need to be played exclusively (as the only thing the players are doing).
Concept. Featuring a morally ambiguous Incubus who does something arguably bad to achieve something arguably good? It’s like the secret D&D bedroom fantasy of any DM who wants throw their players into the kind of Moral Quandaries that have kept philosophers fighting for millennia. Add to this mysterious people, a very relatable though uniquely fantastical economic crisis, and the very real possibility of making things worse, and you have an extremely engaging framework for some amazing roleplaying sessions.
NPCs. The personality of each NPC really makes this module something special. Each prominent NPC has a defined backstory, motivation, and flaw which will directly affect the story and how they interact with the players. While its possible for players to befriend each and every NPC, it’s also possible to make them an enemy. I would enjoy playing them as the DM, and would enjoy interacting with them as a player. This module is heavily roleplay focused, but the various personalities make that OK for me, even though I tend to prefer combat-centric sessions.
Production. The production is very high quality. Most of the art, especially the notice boards and maps are excellent and captivating. There are a few noticeable writing mistakes, but for the most part they are not distracting.
Some Stylistic Artwork. The “character” art wasn’t really to my liking. It looked like something out of a cheap flash game. My guess is it was a purposeful decision made for artistic reasons, but I just didn’t like it.
Lack of Direction. Writing a sandbox adventure is extremely difficult, and while Eichhorn provided a lot of framework, I would have liked a bit more direction. He provides a timeline which I feel he never really integrates well into the adventure. Again, I feel like this was probably a conscientious decision on the author’s part to leave it more up to the DM and players, but a bit more clarity would go a long way.
In Beggar Prince: A Waterdeep Adventure, Christian Eichhorn presents a high quality and evocative module for enhancing Waterdeep. I am very excited about what I’ve found in here, and am giving it 4 Stars and making it Recommended for parties who are looking for an enjoyable, overarching module to integrate into their other water deep activities.