Adventure Reviews: The Gift of the Gnarled One and The Cry of a Daughter

Alea Publishing Group have released two multi-system adventures that are compatible with Dungeons & Dragons 5E. The Gift of the Gnarled One is one of those adventures and is available for free download from their website. It is designed by Joshua Raynack and is six pages long, including one page for the OGL.

The adventure contains no game statistics, but does include suggestions on what monsters to use and the levels of the characters that should tackle them. For 5E players, this is an adventure for levels 7-10.

Gift of the Gnarled One is a fairly basic adventure: a village under threat from warring armies sought the aid of the old gods. One of the villagers was transformed into a bear to defeat the soldiers, but after defeating them, becomes a threat to the village himself! The adventure gives a brief description of the village and the grove where the bear can be found. The adventure is made more interesting by the motivations of the NPCs involved: they don’t want to tell the player characters the truth, but neither do they want the bear harmed. In addition, they’re unaware of a couple of things that will make the adventure a bit more dangerous for the players.

Gift is nicely presented, and is likely to give a group an entertaining diversion for an hour or two. The map is very nice, but the artwork for the bear, while really well-executed, seems greatly at odds with the adventure’s description of how it appears.

The other free adventure APG presents is The Cry of a Daughter. It is also designed by Joshua Raynick, although it notes it is inspired by Roger Baker. This adventure is one page longer than Gift and, although it bills itself as being usable by any edition, is obviously designed more for 5E, with several game mechanics that are written with 5E in mind.

This adventure is very interesting. In summary, a mage uses two kidnapped and charmed young girls to lure travellers so that he can steal their belongings. The party get to encounter the girls, face the wizard and likely explore his home, a deserted dwarven outpost.

There’s a lot of potential role-playing and some interesting combat to be had here. Sidebars give additional rules information, as well as giving more of the background of the story.

The adventure is written either for a group of 8th-10th level characters or for a group of 5th-6th level characters depending on what you want the final foe of the adventure to be. The mage is deliberately not that much of a threat in 5E, where the real interest lies in whether or not the group can rescue the girls.

Both of the adventures are very well done. I really appreciate the attention given to the story and role-playing elements; they’re not just simple hack’n’slash adventures. You could do much worse than spend a few minutes downloading and perusing these free adventures.


  1. Pingback: The Great List of Dungeons & Dragons 5E adventures | Merric's Musings

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