Tier 1 Monster Hunts
by Vall Syrene and Ayla Finnegan
This was such a fun and quick read. I had a really hard time choosing two hunts to talk about because all of them were AMAZING, between the new monsters and the story hooks, I was genuinely disappointed when I realized I had gotten through them all. I wanted more.
How to Use this Book
Okay so this part of the book talks about the hunt layout and harvesting monster parts. The harvesting monster parts is pretty straight forward with the added bonus of including what can be made from the things you've harvested, tools needed, and how much of said harvest you need.
Something I really liked specifically is the layout of the hunts. The whole thing is very streamlined, short and to the point. I can have trouble concentrating on long pieces of texts and I really appreciate a format that makes it easier for me to get through something.
Deep devourers are sharks infected by a deadly disease which plagues the creature with
necrosis, a ravenous hunger and an infectious bite. In order to maintain their grasp on life, deep devourers regularly feed on fresh flesh to prevent the disease from eating away at its body. Many of these creatures appear as skeletal, emaciated husks of their former selves. Despite their appearance, deep devourers are fast, strong and capable hunters.
So I am the of the opinion, and I could be wrong, that beast-like creatures don't get a lot of love when it comes to adventures with them so the shark themes inherent with the Deep Devourer really spoke to me because it's not something I see often.
There are a number of different items able to be crafted from a Deep Devourer, all of them making narrative sense. My favorite would have to be Predator Charm: this simple iron charm is inlaid with a glass sphere containing the eye of a deep devourer. The eye glows a bright blue when a beast of equivalent or greater strength to the bearer is nearby.
As soon as I read the description all I could think about was creating some type of martial character that is attuned to nature and likes to test their mettle against the beasts of the world because they see that as a true test of power.
Liver me Timbers
The fishing town of Sandcrest has been plagued by an upsurge in deep devourer attacks. The Royal Guard and WAMP (Wizard’s Against Marine Pathogens) are offering rewards for any fresh liver samples in the hopes that they can develop a cure for the local shark population.
The thing that I really liked about this adventure is the world building around WAMP. The adventure itself is good, nothing super wild but good nonetheless, but the potential around WAMP is what elevates this adventure over some of the others for me. I see a lot of talk about staying true to the time period in which d&d was set, aka medieval Europe. But it's a fantasy setting you can do whatever you want and putting in organizations people would more likely associate with the modern world vs medieval Europe is an excellent example of expanding creative restrictions.
The grief of losing its master is often too much for a familiar to bear, with many creatures falling into a fit of sorrow, rage and confusion. Most familiars lack the intelligence to understand where their master has gone and can't easily comprehend that their servitude
has now ended. Formerly peaceful familiars turn rabid and aggressive towards creatures around it, lashing out and attacking those that come too close.
It isn't often that I am stopped in my tracks after reading something, at least not in the way of like "wow this changes so much." Usually when I am reading something new and I find something that I can add to my games it's less of a "damn why didn't I think about the implications of this" and more of a "this will be a nice addition to what I've already got going on."
I had to double check the spell Find Familiar and it doesn't say anything about what happens to a familiar if its owner dies but it doesn't. From what I've seen from other people's games the settings are almost exclusively high fantasy with all manner of spellcasters doing dangerous things whether its adventuring or magical experiments it stands to reason there's a lot of lost familiars, the way there are a lot of animals out on the street in our world. Just sitting here thinking about is making me want to go rework somethings in my own world.
A Broken Hearted Ferret
The archmage Forsythe Portlespire has passed away, leaving behind his familiar in the care of his grandson. However, the familiar has become inconsolable and turned nasty since its masters death and is violently guarding the study. Griff Portlespire is beseeching anyone that might be able to help.
I was NOT expecting this to hit as hard as it did. All of the other adventures it was pretty clear that yeah these monsters need to be destroyed - and I think most parties would agree. This adventure though had me genuinely sad about what was going on. Regardless if you kill the ferret or somehow manage to calm it down there is a lot of emotion tied up in either choice which you don't see done or done well all the time. This was expertly done.
While I only talked about my favorite two hunts out of the five, all of them are great, easy to run, and will add lore to whatever game you're running. I can't recommend this enough, especially for DMs that find themselves burnt out and just need a break from the all the planning our role entails.