Thursday 31 August 2023

Dragons of Desolation

 

That's all, folks! 

Tracy Hickman and Michael Dobson put a lot of work into this one, and so did the rest of the creative team. Like Larry Elmore and Jeff Butler who did the art, and Keith Parkinson who made this cover that, contrary to what I always believed, does not depict a Flying Citadel, and Dave LaForce and Billy Clemons who worked on the cartography. 

Like this little bit here. 

The adventure starts with a dream. It's pretty nifty, I'd say, in how it's done. The first part of the dream is simple, the players are in control of their characters and they know that it's a dream. Then, when things are about to get wicked, you say "And you wake up". 

Huh? Just like that? Well, that's how dreams work - just when something is about to happen, you wake up and it all ends. 

Or maybe not. Because later you get to say "Oh, yes. Now you remember what happened in your dream after you opened the door". 

And this part, the players don't control, because this time it's a memory. You tell them what their characters did in the dream, and what they have forgotten until now. It's a fun trick where you can incorporate what you know about the characters and what motivates them and what the players like to do when they play. 

Another cool metagaming trick is the water. Several times in the adventure, strange things happen that might make the players think that the drinks are responsible. Since we had a kender in the party, both times the other characters yelled "No, wait, don't drink this!" and both times the kender won the dice roll, taking a good sip of the water before the others managed to stop her. 

And Tracy Hickman grins and winks. "Yeah, it's just water", he whispers, "but don't tell them that. Roll the dice and look relieved and tell them they made their save". 

At some points, it feels that the adventure was left unfinished. A dark-haired warrior woman accompanies Verminaard but we never get to know the details - is it Kitiara? What's she doing here? What's her agenda? Too bad, you'll never know. 

 Our little merry band of adventurers did their best to make things even more chaotic than they were supposed to be, using propaganda to confuse the poor minds of the derro.

The skeletal mammoth never got his chance to shine. Things were just too hectic. 

In the end, there was (barely) enough dragons to keep everyone happy, the kender bard transformed into a fearsome creature of the Abyss, and the First True Cleric of the dwarves received over a hundred invitations to date, meet the parents, inspect the mines, and have a dinner from the local dwarven residents of every gender. 

I cannot confidently say where did the Qualinesti wizard go, but Laurana seemingly got over their weird relationship. 

All in all, it was a good campaign. 

To the very last roll of the dice.


 

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