The Innocent is the seventh adventure in Misty Fortunes and Absent Hearts, the fourth season of adventures from the D&D Adventurers League. It’s properly the first adventure in the second part of the storyline, following on from the transitional adventure The Ghost. At the end of that last adventure, the hag Jeny Greenteeth gave the players a prophecy; the events of the Innocent are the first part of that prophecy playing out.
The adventure begins in medias res, with the party having just reached a dark shrine in the forest, where they’re quickly attacked by a pair of trolls. After the battle, they learn that one of the villagers has been taken into the wilderness by a dark stranger, and they must follow their trail in order to rescue them. Eventually, after overcoming some encounters, they catch up with the pair in an underground complex, where they must defeat one and rescue the other.
That’s a pretty bare summary of the adventure. It also leaves out everything that makes it good. This is a fascinating adventure, and one with a lot going on. One of the key things that becomes very apparent here is that it’s not just the characters that have been captured by the Mists of Ravenloft: it’s a large section of terrain and its inhabitants around the area of Phlan. While there had been hints of that before (with the elves of the Quivering Forest), it is quite apparent here. Thus, the players find themselves trudging through the Glumpen Swamp, rather than a bit of native Barovian terrain…
Running it well requires a lot from the DM. As with many adventures, informing the players as to what is actually going on is a weak point in the adventure. It’s not awful – the adventurers can piece together the clues – but it’s likely many players will come out of it having saved (or failed to save) the villager without having much of an appreciation of what really occurred. It doesn’t help that some of the biggest mysteries are still to be revealed; distinguishing between ongoing plot points and immediate plot points can be tricky.
There are two adventure hooks suggested that explain why the party are at the shrine. The weaker one is unfortunately the one that refers to Jeny’s prophecy; that’s because the prophecy (as related in The Ghost) is tremendously obscure. It’s a massive leap of faith to assume that the players have made the connection. It’s useable, but you have to think about it and properly tailor it so that it works correctly.
It’s worth noting that the party has been absent from Oraşnou for some time, as they’ve dealt with the events of the last two adventures, which explains why they’ve not interacted with the stranger in town.
The adventure is mostly linear, as is common amongst Organised Play adventures. I do not consider this a flaw. However, the ending to the adventure is somewhat problematic. Have the players actually achieved anything? I believe that they can alter some things, but the problem with a storyline like this is that certain things must happen; you may have an issue with how it plays in this adventure.
The individual encounters and the setting? They’re great!
I really enjoyed running The Innocent, although it is not a flawless adventure. There are things that don’t make sense (you can see someone through water that is described as opaque), and others that are obscure or unlikely. However, even with its numerous flaws, the actual encounters and flow of the adventure are tremendously entertaining. It’s just some of the logic behind it that can be unclear.