Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Tales of the Demon Lord

Product-Tales of the Demon Lord

System– Shadow of the Demon Lord

Producer– Schwalb Entertainment

Price– $ 10  here http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/163527/Tales-of-the-Demon-Lord?term=tales+of+the+demon&affiliate_id=658618

TL; DR-Lean, mean adventure! 90%

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Basics-Starting with a small series of death in the far flung town of Crossings, this adventures takes players from starting, zero-level character to master character who have to ultimately face down and prevent the arrival of the Demon Lord.  This adventure is a whole campaign in itself introducing a section of the world called Crossings to the players and the GM.  Will you be able to face the horrors of things touched by the Demon Lord’s shadow?

 

Mechanics or Crunch-Shadow of the Demon Lord is it’s own system through and through, and this self contained campaign has the math for the system clearly down.  What’s here works well.  However, the campaign doesn’t give too much away to the novice GM.  I like what’s here in terms of encounters, rewards, combats, and exploration, but I’d like a bit more behind the game’s curtain.  This is the first full campaign, so this adventure will serve as the game’s best guide.  However, I’d like a bit more to help me get all the expertise I and other GM’s need to better run this system.4.5/5

 

Theme or Fluff-  Schwalb writes an awesome story from the ground up.  The book starts by building its own town called Crossing and then builds out.  In terms of story, it’s a swift story that’s a great way to get players into the world.  Also, this book has a ton of variety from simple go here/kill people, small hex crawls, and even hardcore roleplaying.  Every player will get a bit of fun out of this adventure, and every GM will have a blast running this one.  5/5

 

Execution– Of all the good stuff in the book, the execution is the most lacking.  The execution is by no means bad, but I may be a bit to spoon fed by other publishers when it comes to published material.  There is almost no box text.  Have gamed with the master himself, I know he writes awesome descriptions, but this book will ask you to write most of your own.  Furthermore, Shadow of the Demon Lord adventures are short.  From the get go, SotDL adventures are designed for about a four hour experience after which players level.  That is not bad by any stretch, but the transition and the brevity of the writing is strong change for some GMs.  There are breaks in the text.  But, I’d like a bit more art, and I’d like the art that’s here to be a bit larger.  It’s hard to get those maps to the table and make them a size that looks nice.  The adventures do read quickly and easily, and the simple descriptions are enough to get you gaming quick.  But, keep in mind that the simplicity of the write ups are there to make the games run fast and with no down time and limited prep time. 4/5

 

Summary– Tales of the Demon Lord is a phenomenal adventure for SotDL.  It’s a full campaign unto itself that covers several different adventure types and play styles.  It’s well written, and simply executed.  However, this is not a hand-holding product.  Tales of the Demon Lord aims to be a campaign, not your paint by numbers GMing guide.  It’s several adventures that tell a story, but it doesn’t teach you how to write or design adventures if you’re only passively playing or running this adventure.  It’s fun, but don’t expect verbose, cookie-cutter explanations for you to read your players.  Expect a lean, mean adventure that you can run quickly and efficiently with minimal prep, memorization, or GM brain loading time.  If you get past a bit of shock of how spartan SotDL adventures are presented, then you will really enjoy what’s here. 90%

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