Review: CCC-ST2-1 Red War: Embassy of Evil
The Red War is\was one of the few Epic adventures designed to be played over multiple tables. I participated in it when Calgary hosted a 2 day event where it was run twice at Ogres Den, and once at The Sentry Box.
Recently I joined a group who ran this adventure. Initially, there were a few things that bothered me but I realized upon reading the adventure there were misunderstandings and miscommunications from the DM running the adventure.
So my initial thoughts that the adventure should start with Malkyn and have the characters meet MuLen Xiph’s forces on the way to the Embassy, but after reviewing the material it could go either way, depending on the DM’s need.
Part 2. D. Chapel of the Dead.
This was I think the best part of the adventure. There was role play opportunity with a combat potential as well as a good puzzle. The only thing that I detest is the No Win situation of not being able to save an NPC. It specifically says “Cannot be saved in this Encounter, regardless of the characters actions.” This nullifies any potential inventive things the PC’s could come up with. And having a useless NPC with 5 levels of exhaustion be saved by the PC’s wouldn’t upset anything in my mind. I don’t know if there’s some backstory for this specific NPC that necessitates his death but still, I believe in Kirk’s rejection of no-win scenarios.
Also upon reading this section, it says 120 Lesser Undead, but then it lists a Behold Zombie, Wights, Ogre Zombies… aka NOT lesser undead.
Part 2. E. Holding Cells
There are some very high skill check DC’s followed by some more no way around scenarios. It again nullifies some players skills, abilities and ideas. The characters are going to activate the alarms within the building if they try and save the people trapped here.
The DC’s should reflect the tier as there were all kinds of DC’s setup within DDEP00-01 The Red War. A DC 15 (moderate) or even 17 (Moderate-Hard) would be more on par IMOA.
Ability Checks (PHB p.174) System Reference Document (SRD)
Difficulty Class (DMG p.238)
There were also some great uses and combinations of skills, that allowed users to role for information if they had X or Y skill – but to just know the information if they had X&Y skill. I think this is great as it makes those skill swiss-army knife characters truly shine. It just makes sense, especially if the knowledge is flavour and\or a role-playing opportunity.
I also loved that NPC stats and role-playing information where included in the sections they’re encountered in. I also loved that all the NPCs were named with a small amount of information (Name, Alignment, sex race, age) which is enough to give people a mental image of a character a lot of the time. Even if the names aren’t used and its just a combat encounter, it creates a more fleshed out world. It kind of calls back to AD&D in text stat blocks for…every creature really.
A DM running this should just ignore the “No Win” situations that appear in this adventure and know that it will likely take 5 hours to run the entire thing and its full of an excellent mix of potential social, combat and puzzles for any group.