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DDAL05-03 Uninvited Guests (5e)
by Sebastian L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/23/2018 22:17:41

As the first adventure I ever acted as DM with, it made things easy for me to pick up after the sudden absence of our usual DM. The interaction between the fairy prince and the players was very difficult to turn into something that would move the game forward, as I ran into the typical issue of "the writer did not and could not plan what my table would do". I found the end fight fun, varying from the typical beat-em-up as my players found creative ways to save the townspeople while fending off enemies. I just feel like the game implies the players would understand circumstances more than they ended up doing.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL05-03 Uninvited Guests (5e)
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DDAL07-10 Fire, Ash, and Ruin (5e)
by Jac Z. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/23/2018 19:20:36

TL;DR: has the potential to be a great adventure, all encounters need to be entirely re-designed.

Enough people has talked about how the combat was way undertuned for a T3 table, and that the encounters are too scattered and weak.

To play the Devil's Advocate, let me talk about some of the module's redeeming factors:

  • Exploring the heart of a volcano, which has become the lair of demons, is quite an exciting exploration for the players. Just don't give them a map.
  • Magical Darkness & Wild Magic Surge forces the players to be a little more creative with problem solving.
  • Defeating the Lieutenants one by one and knowing that you are being blessed by Wizard Spirits on the way gives a great sense of progression.

Here are some of the edits I made to the encounters to make it fitting for a T3 table:

  • Replace everything that happens in the upper level with an encounter against two full powered Stone Golems. Have the golems pound on the flame cultists (who accidentally activated the golems), and the noise of that drew the attention of the adventurers. This can be an optional fight if they choose not the intervene.
  • Only leave four combat encounters in the lower level, one with each lieutenant, one with the final boss. The small fights with minor demons pose no threat at all.
  • Change Yulethe to a Glabrezu, accompanied with 2 or more Barlguras. Have the Glabrezu use Power Word Stun on the obvious caster, and the Barlguras emmerge from invisibility to double down on him/her.
  • Change Goryx into a Nalfeshnee, using the +3 Pike as a toothpick as he recently finished eating the wyrmling.
  • Change Xalumbros into a Young Red Shadow Dragon, the same mama dragon the players have interacted with, but was "consumed by the shadow". Nothing brighter than a dim light can be emitted in that room.
  • Banishment against any of the demons won't work, because the volcano is a passageway to the Abyss. Instead, upon cast of Banishment, the spell slot is expended, and have the caster roll on Wild Magic Surge.
  • The Balor starts on maximum HP, Raxakon reduces it to the average value (instead of a laughable 147).
  • Remove the Umaja that disables the Balor's Magic Resistance trait entirely. Without Magic Resistance, the fight is laughably easy.
  • Djzark does not disable the entire Fire Aura trait, only the within 5 feet damage per turn. Melee attacks will still invoke the 10 (3d6) fire damage.
  • Alkana grant advantage on Death Throes, and then maybe Fire resistance, not immunity.
  • When the Balor succeed on his Whip attack, and the target failed the Strength save, the target is flung to the Abyss immediately, taking psychic damage and return at the end of the Balor's next turn. So bascially a modified Hurl through Hell from Fiend Warlocks.

Those might seem like heavy buffs to the Balor in the final fight, but I can assure you it's not. I ran the aforementioned encounter twice, and both times my table managed to defeat the Balor. One table even challenged the Balor directly without any wizard spirits aiding, and still won handily.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL07-10 Fire, Ash, and Ruin (5e)
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DDAL07-09 Unusual Opposition (5e)
by Jac Z. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/23/2018 18:57:50

TL;DR: Lazy writing & an uncohesive plot.

Pros:

  • The final fight was a challenging one, especially if you modify the spell list of the archmage. Psychich Scream + Hellfire Orb make for a great opener to the fight. Maze the Paladin or the strongest looking melee striker. Pre-cast Mage Armor, Mirror Image, Fire Shield and Crown of Stars for the archmage, and use your reactions to Counterspell the cleric instead of using Shield. This doesn't necessarily lead to a TPK if your table has a balanced party, it just adds an element of urgency to the fight. I prefer fast and crisp fights over a drawn out grind. You kill the archmage you win, vice versa.

Cons:

  • A very linear plot. Only variation comes in how you deal with the hags and the Ramshackle King. Neither has any significant impact to the plot.
  • The quest chain is very disjointed. Each part of the quest chain just "happens to" point you towards the right direction, to a point where it feels like the information is given just for plot convenience.
  • The roc fight feels very out of place. The voyage to Refuge Bay feels like filler content just to stuff it up to 4-hours.


Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL07-09 Unusual Opposition (5e)
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DDAL07-04 A Walk in the Park (5e)
by Ashley K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/23/2018 12:31:24

This adventure is easily in my Top 10 WORST Modules List. There is a joke that goes around the DDAL about how nothing is ever edited very well... I don't think this adventure saw an editor at all. The text is clunky and has numerous omissions of important information, the plot is paper-thin and barely exists, and there are a hundred redudancies that needed to be tightened up. Nothing makes sense, all of the encounters save for the final battle do anything to serve the story or advance the plot.

SPOILERS because I'm going to give you a complete breakdown of this trainwreck:

PART 1 Section A1 actually isn't that bad. It's the version you use if a majority of the table has played "A Day at the Races." However, there's little to no connection between this adventure and the previous one "A Day at the Races." There are numerous inconsistencies between the end of "A Day at the Races" and "A Walk in the Park." It almost feels like the two writers didn't share notes so that continuity between the two adventures could be established. I really don't like how Screaming Wind (Tabaxi NPC & Chult's Emerald Enclave contact) doesn't even mention Soggy Wren (Harper Contact in Chult) who is the person who had the Plot Framing DeviceTM - The Satchel & Poison - at the end of "A Day at the Races." There should at least be some sort of mention of a hand-off of the item to Screaming Wind or a reason why she has it instead of Soggy.

Also... why does Screaming Wind have a Tressym? A Sending Spell Scroll would have sufficed for the reason they need to send MowMow (yes, that is the name of a Tabaxi's Tressym I kid you not.) along with the players.... MowMow is not important and can kindly find their way out of the adventure. Thanks.

Section A2. This is the version you use if your players didn't participate in "A Day at the Races" and, honestly, where I started eyeballing my vodka bottle. YOU NEVER HAVE YOUR CONTACT RUN AWAY BEFORE GIVING IMPORTANING ADVENTURE-BEGINNING INFORMATION. NEVER. In the author's world it's okay for Screaming Wind, a leader in the Emerald Enclave and the point of contact to begin this entire adventure, to refuse to talk to non-EE player characters and effectively STOP THE INVESTIGATION FROM HAPPENING. Literally! There is written in the text a CHASE SCENE where Screaming Wind will actually RUN AWAY from the players if they can't make their Persuasion Check! Better make sure you have an Emerald Enclave player at your table! They then would have to chase her down and REPEAT THE PERSUASION CHECK. What... I...... Hold on kids, lemme get a drink....

Section B. If someone can explain a reason for the "Fisherlings" encounter other than just annoying the players and potentially triggering a SECOND Chase Sequence, I'd love to hear it. Otherwise, this encounter needs to be trashed or fleshed out to actually have a plot-related consequence. If it WAS more about keeping the players from investigating then I would be okay with it. Otherwise it feel more like NaNoWriMo wordcount padding. There is a mention that the Fisherlings will target the Plot Framing DeviceTM Satchel, which I think SHOULD have been the point - grab the satchel and run so that the drug smuggling ring stays hidden because "oops... there goes the evidence!" But no... nope. Nothing of the sort is mentioned in the text. Yes, there is an "Extra Encounter" included where if the Fisherlings get away then you might run into some thugs that'll extort you to get your property back, but no mention that it could turn into a "Destroy the Evidence" type of scenario which would have been muuuuch more interesting!

Then there is... THE SATCHEL SHOP. Apparantly, this is the MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THIS MODULE OMG. Hey kids, want a fun drinking game for this module? Drink every time you see the word Satchel. Guarateed Alcohol Poisoning or your money back! I feel like I know everything there is to know about Satchels after this aventure. Also... is Abwale Capaning part of the smuggling ring? It's never made clear, impled... but never made clear. It would be more interesting if he was and all of his dialogue (that DOESN'T deal with trying to sell you a Satchel!) seems to imply he knows more than he's letting on.... but there's nothing given to the DM. So... story-wise The Satchel Shop is a dead-end for the most part. No new information is learned because... guess what... THE SATCHEL ISN'T THE IMPORTANT PART! THE! POISION! IS! Which makes the other NPC you meet Wadumu the more important part of this scene and he's just sort of... dumped onto the players.

Also, this Module recieves the Ashley Shadowheart Award for Fastest Magic Item Awarding. Wadumu shows up and voluntells the players he'll be their guide into the jungle because he knows about the Plot Framing DeviceTM Poision (thankfully the Satchel leaves the story) and he also just throws this adventure's magic item at the players. Honestly, I feel like magic items should be presented as a special reward not just a random piece of candy to entice the players into going where they're supposed to go in the story.

Honestly? The best fix where would me to remove the Fisherlings and let the players get to The Satchel Shop, get all of The Satchel Shop BS over with, THEN have the Thugs show up (hired men by Abwale to rough the players up and steal the evidence) and use that as Wadumu's entry into the story where he helps the players fight the thugs off. Better flow and every encounter does something to serve the story.

PART 2 "In the Jungle, the Chultan Jungle the PCs Sleep Tooooniiiight." No, really, that's the extent of Part 2. Apparantly Wadumu's such a BAMF that he gets the players through the Jungle without issues... until a Rain Storm hits. There's some skill challenges here to avoid being swept away in a flash flood, but otherwise this part is all padding without substance. Wadumu escorts the adventurers to a safe place to sleep and tells them a bedtime story that's secretly the story of his Tragic PastTM. Then it just... ends and we go on to Part 3.

Seriously... I got nothing. This part was so pointless it doesn't need to exist. Get rid of it. Wrap Wadumu's Tragic PastTM story into his introduction and toss Part 2 out.

Part 3. We just... ENTER THE GUARDED VILLAGE WITHOUT ISSUE. No... no... make 'em sneak in! And if they can't sneak in, then they get taken directly to the Yuan-Ti Pureblood that's running the show. Then have the big final fight. Part 3 just reads like a muddied mess and makes no sense. Does Wadamu sell the adventueres as slaves to the Yuan-ti and that's how the get in? He does have a converstaion with some of the human guards of the village, but we're not told what he says or what his game is. All we learn is that he CLAIMS to have told the Humans the Adventurers were here to save them, but the adventurers will have to wait for nightfall... why? They're already inside the village... they're being given a tour by the guards... seriously Adventure! What does the Guard REALLY think they're there for? You don't tell us!

And once they do fight the Yuan-ti the adventure just... ends. Yes, you get a plot hook about a "lost city" where the Yuan-ti have set up their main base, thus setting up the third part of the Trilogy. But it just feels... meh. Especially since it is Wadumu who learns about this city through an argument with some fellow grung and then tells the players. It would be far better for them to have to interrogate the Yuan-ti or maybe be told about it from the human slaves in the village. This Adventure commits a Cardinal Sin by making an NPC more vital to the story than the actions of the players, one my top Unforgiveable Sins.

So... my final thought? I need more vodka to deal with this adventure.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL07-04 A Walk in the Park (5e)
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DDAL07-01 A City on the Edge (5e)
by Christopher S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/23/2018 07:40:49

This was a good introduction to the city. The TOA hardcover has a lot of information to digest and working with these first gives you a nice breakdown of areas around town as well as introduction to the faction agents that will show up during future adventurers. Be aware that these do run longer than the 1 hour expected run time.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL07-01 A City on the Edge (5e)
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DDAL05-06 Beneath the Fetid Chelimber (5e)
by Philip T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/23/2018 02:55:08

The story here mostly sets up the Mod that follows this series. The encounters are mostly just speed bumps to nudge the PC's a little on their quest. There is really little story reason why the antagonists should be involved at all.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL05-06 Beneath the Fetid Chelimber (5e)
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DDAL05-07 Chelimber's Descent (5e)
by Philip T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/23/2018 02:51:34

I really did not enjoy running this mod.

The puzzles/traps are really unclear. The solutions to the puzzles make no sense. The traps can largely be bypassed with trial and error. Once one person makes it through by trial and error, the rest of the party can safely cross.

This mod requires some heavy DM to address these issues. The puzzle can be more logical, and trial and error experimentation should be dissuaded.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL05-07 Chelimber's Descent (5e)
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DDAL05-12 Bad Business in Parnast (5e)
by Philip T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/23/2018 02:38:57

Investigation adventurers tend to be really fun to play. They allow a lot of NPC interaction, which encourages RP. The combat tends to be on the simplistic side, even though low level T2's may suffer.

The NPC's are richly desribed and fun for the DM to portray.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL05-12 Bad Business in Parnast (5e)
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DDAL05-11 Forgotten Traditions (5e)
by Philip T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/23/2018 02:26:02

I do enjoy this dungeon crawl mod.

The boss at the end is a fantastic design. Powerful and challenging for PC's, while not constructed of absurdly impenetrable defenses (AKA the Beast of Talos). The dungeon has character, and it is woefully difficult to predict when fights will occur.

Some of the traps are quite predictable, but the I think there are sufficient traps to keep the PC's on their toes.

Ultimately, while the story is simple, and straightforward, the real feature of this mod is the well designed boss, and the surprise upon which the boss is sprung on the PC's.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL05-11 Forgotten Traditions (5e)
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DDAL06-02 The Redemption of Kelvan (5e)
by Philip T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/23/2018 02:17:02

Some thoughts:

(1) Traps are a bad mechanic. They are boring for a DM, since they are so mechanical. Traps are fun in moderation. Building an entire mod based around traps is a bad idea.

(2) Puzzles are fun... in moderation. Again, puzzles drain RP potential out of a mod. Solving puzzles tends to be a meta activity.

(3) [slight spoiler alert] I like that there are re-occuring characters in this mod (i.e. characters that persist beyond the mod). Villains in AL rarely outlast the mod, so this is a refreshing change.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL06-02 The Redemption of Kelvan (5e)
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DDAL05-02 The Black Road (5e)
by Chris P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/22/2018 21:13:35

I have mixed feelings about this module. It is great for new players as it gets them familiar with things like combat, skill checks, and thinking critically, but there's very little substance to the adventure beyond the two combat encounters. In my experience running the module, the only section that allowed for significant role play was the optional encounter with the Zhentarim travelers, but that encounter didn't actually affect the rest of the adventure or give the players any useful information, so I'm inclined to just skip it.

The beginning of the adventure also sets up that the players need to buy desert clothing to avoid the harsh weather. When it came time for me to run the module for the first time, I realized that it never actually outlines the consequences of not buying desert clothing. I improvised and gave the players a DC10 CON check (with advantage for those with the clothing) after the sandstorm encounter or they would face a level of exhaustion, but that penalty didn't actually have an effect on the rest of the game. I'd love to hear ideas for alternatives.

Overall, I would only recommend this module to those who plan to play through all of Season 5 in order, as it serves as a nice prologue to the rest of the season and ties in especially well with DDAL05-3, which I really enjoy.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL05-02 The Black Road (5e)
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U1 The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh (1e)
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/22/2018 13:01:55

Easily adaptable to 5e. I added some Scooby Doo style materials to make house more "interesting" - footprints, ghostly noises. You likely have to reduce numbers / types of baddies in certain areas to avoid TPK. Watch out for the ship encounter, especially if your players do not approach stealthily.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
U1 The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh (1e)
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B1 In Search of the Unknown (Basic)
by Michael S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/22/2018 12:10:54

This re-print is of inferior quality. I would not recommend purchasing the print edition as it is hard to read because of the poor quality of the original scan. Better off finding an original copy on eBay.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
B1 In Search of the Unknown (Basic)
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DDAL07-08 Putting the Dead to Rest (5e)
by Aaron N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/21/2018 15:33:44

Putting the Dead to Rest – 5 stars. A lot of fun to run! The quest is the quest, and of the Tier 2 trilogy, Rotting Roots and Putting the Dead to rest go well together. This one ran a little long (maybe 2 hrs 30 min), but not bad. If I had done a faction mission it could have gone an extra 30 minutes. Nice story line, good tie in to the Chult missions as well as the hardcover. Let’s face it – everybody has an agenda. Why not play it out. Good balance, and fun to role play (but then I love to rp the bosses).



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL07-08 Putting the Dead to Rest (5e)
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DDAL07-07 Rotting Roots (5e)
by Aaron N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/21/2018 15:32:38

Rotting Roots – 5 stars. Honestly, I would give this adventure 5 stars based on the boss fight alone. I had a flipping blast running it, and my players nearly freaked out when I pulled out the “mini”. A fun module which dovetailed perfectly into Putting the Dead to Rest. Keep the party moving and don’t let them get bogged down in the journey.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL07-07 Rotting Roots (5e)
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