Villains and Lairs IV
I love Undead creatures. If every campaign I run could have an undead threat as the central conflict it would, but my players would get bored of that very quickly. But these new and imaginative takes on the Undead are sure to revitalize how the standard Undead you would find in the Monster Manual etc.
Design and Layout
First off a quick shout out to the amazing artwork in this supplement. Obviously WOTC has some great artwork but every single piece of art I saw that wasn’t WOTC was amazing. There was perfect synergy between the text and the art. Some of the more grotesque art was among my personal favorites (Bezuul by Claudio Casini, Cindle “Rot Monster” Marello by Gary Dupuis and Mourning Maggie by Bartek Blaszczec).
Two parts of the layout: the NPCs and the maps. The layout for the maps were in my opinion your standard layouts – not to say that’s bad or anything. It’s clear. It’s concise. It works. But I really enjoyed the NPC layouts. I am a sucker for a good excerpt that gives me a brief look into the individual.
The current motives with suggestions on how the NPC can be used was really exciting for me. I have a lot of ideas when it comes to campaigns but sometimes I need a little help and these suggestions got my gears spinning, expanding the suggestions and even having new one’s pop up.
The Villains and Lairs
There was not a single NPC/Lair that I didn’t like but there were definitely some that I liked more than others:
Bondhunters: Ever since the Unbreakable Vow debuted in Harry Potter, besides it bringing up some serious questions about the backstory of the series I really liked the idea of vows meaning something tangible in magical settings. I’ve DMed for a few years and have implemented some things that make vows more serious, like the Pact Drake from Kobold Press Creature Codex but the Bondhunter is just something special when it comes to creatures that oversee pacts/vows/bonds and punishes those that break them. Also I love lawful neutral undead.
Brynhilda & Tomb of the Stolen: Oh man I don’t know what it is but first the story of Brynhilda and how her children were stolen from her just did something for me. I think I love tales of love and loss and vengeance and much like many NPCs in this supplement Brynhilda’s story is all of that wrapped into one. I also loved the use of a variety of monsters in the Tomb of the Stolen. Really portrays Brynhilda as an intelligent undead 6+
Cindle “Rot Monster” Marella: Ilmater is one of my favorite deities from the Forgotten Realm and the magic item, Gloves of Illmater, featured with Cindle are amazing.
DeadMoon Rise: I love Atropus the World Born Dead. Anything that has to do with that them automatically gets me excited. Also the dungeon attached to this is mad dangerous. Like tier 4 characters probably wouldn’t survive this.
The Doctor: I am a huge fan of mixing sci-fi with fantasy. The Doctor is an excellent mixture between the two.
Hann Duig, the Ogre Lich: I specifically love unconventional pairings when it comes to monsters. I feel like liches are most often associated with extremely intelligence races but I love when there’s a lich using the body of a race most of d&d has marked as dumb.
While I was more partial to the villains than the lairs, the lairs really encapsulated the villains’ motives, personalities and villainous nature. I didn’t think there was anything out of place when the two were paired. Overall this is an amazing module and I cannot recommend it enough as an enthusiast of the Undead and Fiendish.