5E Adventure Review: Tales of Good and Evil

Tales of Good and Evil begins the second series of level 1-4 adventures produced by Baldman Games set in the city of Melvaunt for convention play. Written by James Introcaso, this is a role-playing investigative scenario, where the adventurers are sent by an officer of the law to investigate a number of people who have drawn the attention of the authorities in the unsettled conditions after a failed invasion of the city by a nearby orc lord.

The adventure consists of five short scenarios covering each investigation. There is a recommended order of scenarios, guided by links in each, but they can be played in any order. The adventure, as the first in a trilogy, primarily foreshadows future threats, although each scenario has a situation that the adventurers must defuse. Despite the structure being somewhat similar to Shawn Merwin’s introductory scenarios to the main D&D Adventurers League seasons, these are not written for brand-new adventurers. The baseline is for a party of level 3 characters. Balance is generally good, although one battle against eight thugs is, in my experience, too difficult for many groups, especially when the goal of the encounter is to capture them rather than kill them; without access to the area effect damage spells, the thug’s pack tactics and high hit points can quickly overcome the adventurers.

The joy of the adventure comes from the interesting situations the characters find themselves in. All of the scenarios have secrets that the adventurers can uncover; the secrets aren’t that hard to find, but discovering all the details helps the players get a sense of accomplishment. There’s not much exploration, but there’s the opportunity for a lot of role-playing and a number of combats. The NPCs are well-described, and provide excellent opportunities for varied role-playing; I particularly like the one-armed mage. The scenarios also don’t have “one true way” of being completed; there’s enough manoeuvrability so that each group can conclude them in a different manner.

The adventure tends to run long, and if you have a group of players who really enjoy role-playing, could take significantly longer than the four hours suggested. If you’re running it under a time limit, you’ll need to pay attention to the passage of time and adjust encounters so they finish in a timely manner.

Although the editing is mostly good, there are a number of errors within the text of grammar and spelling. One other note: Tiger comes after Thug when sorting monsters… this caused me a couple of problems when looking up monster stats in the appendix.

Overall, this is an excellent start to the second series of Melvaunt adventures. Highly recommended.

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