Dear Readers, I just finished reading the first two books (Astral Adventurer’s Guide and Boo’s Astral Menagerie), as well as the first two chapters of the included adventure, Light of Xsryxis. And let me tell you all something:
I am more than impressed, yet a little disappointed. Let me go over what I love first.
I’ll try not to give away any spoilers.
What I Love
First off, I am impressed by the artwork. It’s frankly stunning, with great visuals of monsters, ships, and other creatures. And the books are absolutely filled with them, but not to the point where it’s overwhelming.
Secondly, I am thoroughly impressed by all three books! The Adventurer’s Guide is chalk full of new playable races, feats, and even a couple of new backgrounds. Among the races, the Giff, the Plasmoids, the Hadozee, and the Autognomes are noteable. There are definitely other ones, like the thri-kreen, which were monstrous-only creatures, but are now playable races.
Next came the vast number of Spelljamming ships. There were such a vast variety of ships, each with their typical uses and racial (if any) origins. They tell you whether or not the ship can land on land and/or sea, if at all, as well as the number and types of weapons they carry. One of my favorites is the Shrike ship, as the vessel that I have been working on seems to be a variant of that!
Lastly, in the Adventurer’s Guide, is the treatise on the Rock of Bral. I love the general history as well as the descriptors of the location, not to mention how to incorporate it into your campaign world (to to speak).
It includes a poster map photo of the Rock of Bral, but since I got the digital version on dndbeyond.com, I obviously don’t have a physical copy of the poster map and will likely be printing it out for my players so that they have a reference to where things are. That’s my plan for Adventurers League in any case.
Lastly is the adventure itself. This is where I have mixed feelings…
First off, I absolutely love that each chapter ends on a cliffhanger. That is awesome. The adventure has some really good stuff, and the plot is very cool. The adventure hook is even better, getting the party into the action right from the get-go.
Lastly, I love how it comes into sections, broken out into three books. One is the player’s stuff with all of the new races and such. The next is the bestiary/monster manual for the setting. Lastly is the adventure that comes with it. Very handy breakout.
What I Don’t Like
This is where things get…complicated. As much as I absolutely love the plot line of the story, it doesn’t really seem to have much depth. It uses milestone leveling which is fine, but there isn’t much substance in between each level to justify (in my mind at least) a jump in level that frequently. According to the adventure, you level after each chapter!
To add insult to injury, it’s a relatively low-level adventure, ending at level 8. Level 8, Dear Readers.
That’s like…not even into the fun-zone of level 9.
Sure, there will likely be DMs Guild adventures to take the party beyond 8th level, but with what I am paying ($69.99 in the U.S.), I want a more robust adventure and more substance to the campaign setting itself.
Maybe it’s just me. I dunno.
Despite its flaws, I love the product. I am buying the alt-cover of the adventure/setting, mostly because it looks cool (in addition to having it electronically on dndbeyond.com). All in all, I’m fairly happy with this new setting.
Until next time, Dear Readers…