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A02: Devil of Dark Wood $6.99 $3.99
Publisher: AAW Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/24/2012 12:34:31

If you go down to the woods today... the surprise will not be teddy bears eating al fresco! Whilst the introduction tells an intriguing and innovative backstory as to who really is there for the GM's eyes, the characters will first be approached by a worried village mayor who is concerned by the absence of a local hunter who was hired by a shepherd who feared that a bold wolf has been snacking on his sheep...

The village has had other problems, the sage's house was broken into and books and alchemical equipment stolen. It seems that something is afoot, and the characters, as passing adventurers, are asked to help. Assuming that they do, a trail will be found that leads into the Dark Wood and whatever it is that lies in wait for them there.

For those who like context to their adventures, this one is located in the Rybalkan Penninsula in's own campaign world, quite near to the first adventure in the series. Naturally, any suitable village near a wild wood in the chillier end of temperate will do fine if you want to set it elsewhere, but the way that this campaign world is filling out is impressive (and well-supported, if you choose to subscribe to the adventures and so gain access to their website!).

The adventure begins with the characters' arrival in the village, with some atmospheric 'read aloud' text and an excellent village map to help you set the scene. It's quite a rough place and filled with 'characters' of the sort that outsiders will call 'interesting' if they are being polite. If you play them to the hilt, your characters may find other terms for some of them by adventure's end! To allow for interaction, the village tavern is mapped out and many of the local bar-flies well-detailed - this provides a useful resource for whenever you need this kind of village, over and above being the starting point of this adventure.

Throughout this interaction phase, and indeed the entire adventure, appropriate skill checks that the characters might make complete with the results should they be successful are provided just where you'll need them. As the characters are led towards the woods, this level of support continues, and when combat becomes likely links to both the D20 and Pathfinder SRDs are provided (with notes at the back of this book if you are not running your adventure with access to the Internet). In the woods, there's a (again, well-detailed with a plan and colourful inhabitant) woodsman's cottage and a cave system to explore...

Rounding up with ideas for further events, lists of monetary and experience awards to be gained, a couple of new magical items and a spell, and full stat blocks under both Pathfinder and D20 rulesets, here's a neat caper in some snowy woods that should keep your group happy.

This is a tale that skalds will sing of, should the characters prove successful and return to tell of their exploits (or of course if they boast a party bard to immortalise their adventures). With a good mix of interaction, investigation and combat, most groups should enjoy this one!

[4 of 5 Stars!]