What Do I Know About Reviews? Fate’s Lingering Shadow (DMs Guild)
I wanted to take some time to look at a DMs Guild adventure that recently came out. I’m talking about Fate’s Lingering Shadow, an adventure by Alyssa Visscher. This is a D&D 5e adventure that doesn’t have a presupposed setting, but does have notes about including it in various settings.
I did not receive a review copy of this adventure, but I’ve talked to Alyssa a lot online, and she has written for Gnome Stew in the past. Despite knowing Alyssa from online conversations, I hope I can make some worthwhile observations on the product in question.
Fate’s Lingering Shadow
Designer: Alyssa Visscher
Editor: Dame Sabriel Mastin
Graphic Designer: Alyssa Visscher
Template: Simple Microsoft Word Template by Laura Hirsbrunner
Cover: Alyssa Visscher, using assets from LUM3N, amritagrace, and lextotan.
Interior Illustrators: Map of the valley by Hannah Rose, using K. M. Alexander’s Vischer and Ogilby brushes, and a parchment background from Deven Rue. All other maps by Dyson Logos. Dragonborn character art by Adela Quies. Dark forest art by Placidplace. Shadow dragon image by Prettysleepy, modified by Alyssa Visscher. All other artwork courtesy of Wizards of the Coast, used under the Community Content Agreement.
Inside the Adventure
This adventure is 22 pages long. This includes a credits page and a table of contents. This has a two column layout, with boxed text, headers, and sidebars that are clearly delineated and similar to official D&D norms. I especially like the stat block template used.
The adventure is broken up into the following sections:
- Adventure Primer
- Chapter One: Exploring the Twilight Valley
- Chapter Two: The Shadows Deepen
- Chapter Three: The Temple of Fate
How it Unfolds
The hook for this adventure is that a dragonborn archeologist has found references to an ancient temple to the Fates. The references hint that the temple was buried in the Twilight Valley, and wants the player characters to look for clues taking them to the site of the buried temple.
The initial clues lead the PCs to a pool that has been desecrated, and they eventually encounter awakened plants, an undead former resident, and an elemental guardian. What I really like about this section of the adventure is that there are objectives, but there are multiple ways to achieve those objectives, and those multiple vectors are detailed.
In addition, there are multiple places where guardians may be hostile, but their attitudes change based on what characters do at the site. One of these encounters subverts expectations for the monster type involved, but additionally, I appreciate the personality details and potential plight of the guardian at the Mound of the Dead.
After learning the clues available at this site, the PCs can pinpoint the Temple Mound, the only above ground clue to the location of the buried temple. Finding the journal of a long dead cleric, the PCs will learn about a ritual that opened the door to a location connected to the power of Shadow, hinting at why the temple was buried, but also that burning the temple may not have been enough to stop the threat.
Eventually, while exploring the buried temple, they will find out that the gate to Shadow has its own complication. A dragon attempting to transform into a Shadow Dragon opened the portal, but upon awakening, discovered that they are tethered to the portal. As long as the dragon is stuck to the portal, it can’t be closed, and as long as it’s open, the Shadow will start to infect the surrounding area.
As I mentioned above, several of the creatures that serve as guardians of different sites can be treated as normal combat obstacles, but have enough information to make them fun roleplaying encounters as well. I like that there are multiple places in the adventure where performing a ritual for reconsecrating an area is an important element. I also appreciate that the adventure proposes ways for different characters to shine when performing these actions, such as having stronger characters realign stones that have been knocked over.
A New Day
From talking with Alyssa online, I know she appreciates solid, traditionally structured adventures, well executed. I think this is a good example of that. As soon as I read through this, I had ideas of how to slot this into the campaign I’m currently running. While the concepts are straightforward, there is a lot of thought put into how PCs can proceed through the adventure.
A Few Clouds
I had to do a little digging to find the expected level range, and unless I missed it somewhere else in the adventure, the only place I found it was in the discussion about the dragon encounter, where it mentions a party of four 6th level characters. It’s a minor thing, but given the multiple ways to interact with some of the guardians through the adventure, I was somewhat expecting there to be a means to negotiate with the dragon to remove her Shadow Dragon abilities to unbind her from the portal, possible increasing the chance of failure, to make for an interesting decision point to resolve the adventure.
Recommended–If the product fits in your broad area of gaming interests, you are likely to be happy with this purchase.
This is a solidly executed adventure with lots of guidance for DMs using it in their games. I’ve read a lot of drop in adventures, and this holds its own with many of them. It’s a solid modular adventure that should provide a few solid nights of adventure, with enough variety to appeal to multiple playstyles.
I hope to see more of Alyssa’s adventure work in the future.