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DDAL07-01 A City on the Edge (5e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Christopher M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/12/2018 14:42:19

This was (I feel) the weakest season introductory module printed to date. There were cool things in the module (The dinosaur race was suprisingly the best part of the whole thing) but for the most part, motivations and the ability to move characters quickly through this was hard.

I ran this for ~24 game hours at a convention a few weekends ago as a way to get new people/returning people to play AL content. In previous years, motivation was pretty easy ("There's dragons attacking, you should look into it!" , "The giants are doing things! Supposedly there's treasure nearby!") and super simple to get a group of level 1's hooked on. In this, there was almost ZERO motivation unless you were part of a Faction, and even then, that only gets you motivation for your faction's adventure.

Previously the intro adventures were faction-related, but mostly because you would meet a faction member part way through who would help out. As questgivers, I think only Poe and Screaming Wind had fleshed out motivations. Alastar seemed like a rich guy doing it because he missed his servant Derio unless you could read his mind, Wren seemed like a drunk that was just doing it because Nerissa was making him, and I'm still not sure what the Lord's Alliance contact was trying to accomplish. I think Nerissa getting weaved in to 3/5 of the adventures was new, but was not pulled off well. Unless you ran them in order, you didn't recognize her in 4, or party members already knew her before the race, in which case the Nerissa vs Poe conflict loses all tension.

Since most people didn't care where Chult was, I had to handwave pretty heavily that "there's adventure here, and a Death Curse that everybody wants dealt with" as the reason most of these people were here. Zindar (remember the gold half-dragon from the start of the module?) as a contact point to send you to each of the faction quest givers was weak, and was more of a local guide than 'important quest giver.' There was no reason to come back to him, so I had to railroad that between sessions as well.

Other things that I thought were weak:

Adventure 1: The map is VERY unclear where you should see the wavy lines puzzle on the wall the first time. It looks like it's in the lower West section of the map based on the description, but from what I could tell, it should be visible in the lower East section so that you can potentially bypass the tripwire trap. Also, a picture/example of the wavy lines would be cool. I know among 3 DMs we each described these VERY differently, even though they seemed important.

Adventure 2: The gladiator fight with Slicer seemed very small. I was regularly running 6-7 players at the table, and the map they gave you had VERY little space to move around in. After the surprising excitement of the dinosaur race, it was kind of a huge letdown.

Adventure 3: The idea of "help village against encroaching blight" is cool, but execution was flawed. The jungle was dark for what seemed to be no reason, and there really wasn't a good time for the party to be attacked by the swarm or the moving bushes (also did they walk around or just aggresively lean toward people?) before getting to the weird path. Then once they had the amulet at the end of the weird path, there was no way to immediately tell it was the cause of the blight. Most of the parties I ran through this section had to be explicitly told "yes this is it, go back"

Adventure 4: This adventure (beyond the motivation of Alastar Bol) was pretty solid. I liked how characters could call upon Pockmarked Poe for additional info if they knew him. The one part I HATED about it was how after they got a clue to the triangle puzzle (great!), the module just says that "the puzzle is easy, only Intelligence DC 12 to figure out" and doesn't actually give a solution/order to ANY of the other puzzles in the area. Just "DC 12 to figure out the order". Every party I brought through had different theories with the wall puzzles inside and the proper order, and I just went with whatever they said if the reasoning was good as opposed to having a concrete answer I could work with. The timed zombies at the end was excellent, but the room setup was weird. You could only really see the evil wizard from right in front of the ramps until you got all the way around to threaten him, and the only way in/out of the pit was those cluttered ramps. Still an excellent fight each time.

Adventure 5: I was only able to run this once, so I won't comment specifically on what I felt was weak here, beyond the general "lack of motivation" and also Nerissa being shoehorned into the party once again (hope you met her and were allies before!)

[2 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL07-01 A City on the Edge (5e)
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