Product– Saga RPG Adventure Arc: Darkwood #3 – The Vile and the Voracious
Price– $15(PDF)-40(softcover and pdf) here https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/249671/01AA03–Saga-RPG-Adventure-Arc-Darkwood-3–The-Vile-and-the-Voracious-PFRPG-PDF–01AA03?affiliate_id=658618
TL; DR-Why does it have to be mutant trolls! 93%
Basics– That troll pillaging the town has an arm growing out of his head! Darkwood 3-The Vile and the Voracious is the third part of an ongoing series where the players adventure through Darkwood, a community on the fringe where different power players attempt to gain sway while horrors in the woods attack unrelentingly. In this one the town is attacked by trolls, but not just any trolls, horrible mutant trolls! All the different groups are united against them, and the players are sent to exterminate the threat. In the dark caves where the trolls call home, long, best forgotten fey things are found as well. The book also features a new mechanics for mutant monsters, crafting rules, items, magic, templates, locations and even gods of the Darkwood setting.
Mechanics or Crunch-Here is honestly where the book shines. This book provides some really fantastic new crunch to Pathfinder with items, guns, templates and a large section devoted to making mutant monsters of old favorites. These are liberally applied to all the things the players experience through the adventure, so it’s fun to see the new crunch dropped on the players mid battle! The new camping expedition rules are a welcome addition as well as “Ok, you set watch” *rolls one die per payer on watch* “Ok, get back your spells and hp.” *rolls encounter table and nothing happens* REPEAT TILL DESTINATION is honestly boring. It’s fun to make your players’ characters people and give them things to do while living. This book adds some solid mechanics to the Pathfinder RPG 5/5
Theme or Fluff– Here is the low point for the book. It’s not bad, not even close to bad, but this is not a very diverse adventure. This is an unrepentant dungeon crawl and everything about this one is getting you to the place, so the killing can happen. There are fun elements to the place like great descriptions of each room and new monsters to right in each room, but do not expect levels upone levels of intrigue i this one. It’s just a fun romp killing trolls with some extra splash put in to keep the bard from being bored in the back. That’s not a bad thing, but not a diverse adventure. A decent hack and slash dungeon crawl in a lost fey cavern. 4.3/5
Execution– The book is put together pretty decently, but has a few things I’d like changed. It reads pretty quickly and is set up so I, the laziest DM ever, can simply skim enough at the time to get the game running in under three minutes while I say take a bio brake on the phone with clear outlines of plot and locations as well as area descriptions with monster personalities. That’s exactly what I want from every adventure! I HATE having to read and reread a section to find how one of five brothers interacts in a combat when I’m trying to give life to 10 different monsters, and this book makes my life easy! What I don’t like is even on my tablet at the table, I have to do some considerable zooming to read the text. The background looks nice, but the weathered parchment look makes it hard for me to read because I’m getting old! Others things I think are interesting design choices are to put the camping section in the middle. It kind of interrupts the flow, so I don’t think it goes there while other mechanical things are at the back of the book. But, I honestly can forgive that pretty easily because this book HYPERLINKS THE DAMN PDF! I am boggled by how this isn’t industry standard, but these people do it and it makes my day. The art is nice and adds enough, and even better the PDF had maps WITHOUT labels on them that I can easily grab and throw into my online games or print for my table, so that is another fantastic plus to this adventure. Minor issues with the book, but otherwise its a solidly put together PDF. I have a few minor issues, but this is a well put together PDF 4.6/5
Summary-Sometimes you want a fancy 20 course meal with multiple courses. Sometimes you just want to curbstomp a troll in a cave. This adventure might not redefine the fantasy world for its story, but simple doesn’t mean bad. If you are in this deep to the Darkwood Adventure Arc, you are gonna have a blast in this book. If you are looking for your next book of long intrigue in the high courts of nobles, then this isn’t your book. But, if you just want a fun Pathfinder adventure you can spring on your players to have them fight some mutant trolls then honestly for 15 bucks it’s hard to beat, even if your players don’t care about darkwood at all and they just want some good old fashion hack and slash. The other things in here that really stand out well like the expedition camp rules, the mutant templates, and multiple other things are slick pathfinder additions. The Vile and the Voracious is a simple adventure done well and put together smoothly. 93%