The fourth season of the D&D Adventurers League adventures has been approached in a different manner to the first three. In previous seasons, each adventure (mostly) stood alone, with only light links to previous instalments. This season, set in the Ravenloft setting, will be different. The intention is to tell one story over fourteen adventures. Each adventure could be played as a stand-alone, but they work much better when played in order. The first in the series, Shawn Merwin’s Suits of the Mists, was released a few days ago on the Dungeon Masters Guild. You can either play it as an official League adventure or just use it in your home game.
I DMed the adventure in its playtest form, and I’ve read the final version. (I’ll run it for our local groups in a couple of weeks). As with the other introductory adventures in the Adventurers League, this one is written for a group of 3-7 characters of levels 1 or 2, and consists of five short 1-hour adventures that can be played separately or together. This one works much better when you play several of them all together.
The adventure is designed to get characters from the Forgotten Realms into Barovia, although you shouldn’t have too much problem in using it in other campaign worlds. The basic idea of the adventure is that a band of the nomads known as the Gur have learnt that the Mists of Ravenloft are about to engulf the area and drag everyone there into Barovia. The Gur, frantic to not be cursed in this manner, steal a number of items from an inn. They then try to use them to avoid their fate. The player characters, having arrived at the inn after the thefts, are asked to recover the items (and the Gur who stole them). Four of the adventures deal with this: the players track down one of the thieves and recover the item. The final adventure concerns the Mists finally dragging everyone into Barovia.
I like this adventure very much, and you could quite easily use it to introduce a group to the Curse of Strahd adventure rather than using one of the openings in Curse of Strahd.
Each of the missions is quite different. The first has wilderness threats and a small dungeon. The second requires the players to negotiate with merchants. The third requires the players to infiltrate an outpost of orcs. The fourth introduces the party to Jeny Greenteeth, a hag who will be important in later adventures and who has some unsettling requests to make of the players. The last involves a kidnapped child. Each is quite ingenious, and allow the players to do more than just roll dice: thinking and role-playing are useful!
Although the adventure suggests that each mission takes 1-2 hours, I found that they’re more in the realm of about 40 minutes each, although some run shorter or longer. Their exact length will depend a lot on your style of play; these sort of adventures tend to run a lot more quickly for me than other groups.
The biggest problem with the adventures comes in the third mission, where two orcs await the party… or are they goblins? The text says they’re goblins. So, two goblins await the party. And if the party is weak, you should remove two goblins to balance it properly. So, they’re fighting no goblins? And later the party must fight two orcs. Except the scaling text says to replace an orog with an orc for weak parties. Oops… this actually made a lot more sense in the playtest version, but it shows the problems that changing the adventure on playtest feedback can have: one change can have a cascading effect and you need to account for it. The second mission also lack stat-blocks for guards, but that’s relatively minor. I hope these errors can be corrected and a revised version posted.
Overall, it’s a strong and very enjoyable adventure, but the occasional lapses in editing are frustrating.