Monday, April 11, 2016

Dragons are Above My Pay Grade!

5/5 - N. Jolly
"Definitely worth checking out ... I seriously enjoyed it"

A non-linear search for hidden artifacts that culminates in an attack on a huge red dragon, Dragons are Above My Pay Grade provides heroes with an electrifying start to their careers.  Who doesn’t want to fight a dragon, even if it is above your pay grade?

Dragons are Above My Pay Grade is an adventure for 3 – 6 first level PCs. It is 23 pages long, fully illustrated and in color, and only $3.99.

Sunstone Island seemed like the perfect opportunity.  Idyllic weather, pleasant beaches, docile animals, and, most importantly, a mine absolutely bursting with gold.  Peter Grimples, owner of the Grimples Mining Corporation, was so enthusiastic to exploit these virgin resources that he personally headed the mining colony on this remote island.

The volcano?  Looks pretty quiet.  The tribe of kobolds?  Nothing a group of wide-eyed heroes can’t handle.

That is, until the kobolds resurrect the red dragon Varaug onto the island.  With reinforcements weeks away, suddenly the cheapest heroes money can buy don’t seem quite up to the task.
To combat this sudden and unexpected threat, the heroes must follow in the footsteps of the legendary native A’uapa who slew Varaug many centuries ago.  Following the instructions of a turncoat kobold who would like nothing more than the death of the merciless dragon, the heroes collect the dragon-slaying tools of A’uapa hidden across Sunstone Island.  These poisons, blessings, spells, and weapons are heavily guarded, sequestered in dungeons or protected by kobolds.  As the heroes traverse the island, following clues, unlocking riddles, and completing challenges, their already formidable adversary grows stronger and the colony town that they call home grows weaker.

Can the heroes collect enough dragon-slaying weapons to defeat Varaug before he destroys the mining colony along with any chance of future employment?  How could the party’s first contract go so wrong?

Dragons Are above My Pay Grade features a mining town, a fleshed out island with wild beasts and tropical hazards, a range of mini-dungeons and challenges,  and a host of original enemies, spells, poisons, items, and traps.  And, of course, the opportunity for level 1 character to face a red wyrm!


Praise for Dragons are Above My Pay Grade!

"Dragons are above my pay grade feels like it could be the great beginning of a dragon slaying campaign, giving the players a very nice taste of taking on one of the biggest and baddest beasties in the bestiary. It'd be a great way to jump into things and ask your party 'Hey, you wanna kill a dragon today?'" - N. Jolly

"I found the premise fun, the characters likeable, the new monsters fun and interesting, the names of the kobolds and dragon just unpronounceable enough ("Rowg? Like Smaug? Or is it more like 'rock,' or 'cog?'"), and the humor measured and's a great adventure, the characters are fun and inspired, the concept is great and well-executed" - Simon Barr

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  1. To have a party take on a dragon at first level is often suicide, and generally a good way to tell that the GM is sick of their players. But Jeff Gomez manages to make an adventure that lets you do just that without the first round of combat being "You're breath weapon'd and lose, now are you going to stop playing Chaotic Neutral?"

    What I liked

    -The descriptions of NPCs was very well done, and all of them are fleshed out well enough where a GM can pretty easily include them in the module beyond just a sentence. Each one feels very complete, and lack the 'samey' feel you'll get from a lot of NPCs. I'd honestly suggest keeping a few of them in your back pocket in case you want to use this as the starting point for a new adventure.

    -The pacing of the adventure was something I enjoyed, the modular nature of it giving the PCs more control in how they approach the situation. Sure, there's a slight issue of one decision deciding several here in which location they visit, but aside from that, it has a lot of freedom as to how it's put together.

    -The random encounters, didn't think I'd be saying that. The tables set up for time/location/monster/weather helped make each one different and unique, giving the entire module more of a 'living location' feel to it. It really helps everything come together, feeling more vibrant than a normal random encounter lineup.

    -The locations were also fun, and I think one of the things I liked most about it was the slow progression of power where you feel like each of the locations is set up to help you fight a dragon. The layout for those that have maps is also nice and simple while still giving some decent challenges.

    -The dragon itself was well done, even if I figured it wouldn't be at full power. Obviously you're not going to be fighting a CR 20 behemoth, and there was going to have to be a bit of fiat to keep this thing from straight up wrecking the party, but that doesn't stop the thrill of fighting a huge sized scale beast like this.

    What I didn't like

    -I'd have liked more maps. The maps that were in here were great, but really, this is just me liking maps, and I feel like 1 or 2 more could have helped fleshed things out more, like one for the mining camp.

    -Some of the earlier encounters pre dragon feel a tad too easy. Small gripe here, but there's no 'mid boss' style encounter before taking on big red, which could have been fun.

    Final Thoughts
    Dragons are above my pay grade feels like it could be the great beginning of a dragon slaying campaign, giving the players a very nice taste of taking on one of the biggest and baddest beasties in the bestiary. It'd be a great way to jump into things and ask your party "Hey, you wanna kill a dragon today?"