Courts of the Shadow Fey (PDF or Print)
Published by Open Design
Disclaimer: The copy used for this review was provided by the folks at Open Design.
I'm not an a guy who takes place in the 'Edition Wars,' I can easily say that something is a good system, yet add that I don't play it because I don't find it interesting. Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition, in and of its self, holds little appeal for me. Sure I've played it — in fact I'm in a play-by-post campaign that converted to it — and I've ran it before, since that's what the group wanted, but if I'm left to my druthers I just don't do much with it. I've never even tried to design for it.
But, as with anything in life, there is always an exception.
While I avoid most 4e stuff, there is one huge, gleaming exception to this personal preference and that is whenever you cross 4e and the folks from Open Design. Of course, I'm sure you could say that about a lot of things, as I tend to like the craftsmanship of kobolds, however 4e compatible stuff is proof that they can make me like something that I normally do not enjoy.
If I were to ever run a 4e campaign, it was going to use material from the Iron Gazetteer and Halls of the Mountain-King. Now I can add Courts of the Shadow Fey to that illustrious 'What If?' scenario of if, or when, I run a 4e game what would I use in it.
As a patron of Castle Shadowcrag, I'm familiar with the Shadow Fey, thus my enjoyment of Courts of the Shadow Fey. Not only is this it a well written and illustrated piece, but the layout is excellent and the bookmarks are quite useful. Broken into four acts, Courts of the Shadow Fey should take a party from 12th level to 15th level, give or take, and deal with the cunningly deceptive, as well as deadly Shadowy Fey.
Using the term 'bucketed', Wolfgang Baur offers up a series of sandboxes for folks to play in and through, with the bucket being how they must go one after another through the story's overall plot.
Tales of intrigue, mystery, the unknown, and much more are detail within this old world feeling adventure. As should be familiar with those who enjoy the work of the various offerings of Open Design, old folklore, myth, and legend is twisted in a more grim and inventive fashion to lead us down a hole that no rabbit would use, due to self-preservation.
Definitely an adventure worth buying, but also a hallmark of what folks who join a patronage project can get for the price of their membership. Not only is it a custom project, based upon the needs of the patrons, but it is also a course on effective game design and development.
So if a 101-page, four act adventure that follows the ebb and flow of the Shadow Fey, their courtly acts, and the machinations of those under a faerie ring — or fey ring, to stick more with the piece at hand — then you could do not much better than buying Courts of the Shadow Fey. Rumors, secrets, manipulations, courtly warfare, assassination, and the like drip from this adventure like an overflowing goblet of wine in a dowager queen's intoxicated hand.
Buy yours today for $14.00 (PDF) or $24.95 (Print) from the folks at Open Design.