That is going to be a dual-purpose put up, trying on the final journey of the Pirates of the Aetherial Expanse, Legends of the Seas, in addition to a overview of the general Fables marketing campaign. We’ll have a look at the journey, the way it unfolds, the way it wraps up the marketing campaign, and the entire parts that went into this setting.
I’ve my very own subscription to the Fables line and haven’t acquired a overview copy of the adventures. I’ve not had the chance to run this journey, however I’m aware of D&D 5e, each as a participant and as a Dungeon Grasp.
Episode 6: Legends of the Seas
Written by: Anthony Joyce-Rivera
Head of Fables: James J. Haeck, Joe Raso
Story Design: James J. Haeck
Artwork Administrators: Marius Bota, Zoë Robinson
Pirates of the Aetherial Expanse Writers: H.H Carlan, Anne Gregersen, James J. Haeck, Gabe Hicks, Alison Huang, Anthony Joyce, Kat Kruger, Sadie Lowry, Sarah Madsen, Sam Mannell, Joe Raso, Jess Ross, Jen Vaughn
Managing Editor: James J. Haeck
Editors: Michele Carter, Matt Click on, Ashley Lawson, Joe Raso
Graphic Design: Martin Hughes, Scott Fraser
Cowl Design: Christine Fozler
Finish Web page Design: Abby Zweifel
Inside Illustrators: Kristian Agerkvist, Ridell Apellanes, Carol Azevedo, Luke Beaber, George Bennett, Bethany Berg, Allie Briggs, Josiah Cameron, Stephanie Price, Kent Davis, Nikki Dawes, Alex Drummond, Christine Foltzer, Tony Foti, Quintin Gleim, Doruk Golcu, Ashley Hankins, Matt Hubel, Andrei Iacob, Maggie Ivy, Josh Ketchen, Diana Khomutina, Kate Laird, Tatii Lange, Carson Lowmiller, Damien Mammoliti Jake Murray, Brian Patterson, Karina Pavlova, Pixoloid Studios, Mihai Radu, Caio Santos, Elisa Serio, Janna Sophia, Katariina Sofia, Kai Stevens, Kelly Toki, Philipp Urlich, Brian Valenzuela, Jacob Walker, Sam White, Abby Zweifel
Cartographers: Luke Beaber, Damien Mammoliti, Brian Patterson
VTT Asset Design: Joshua Orchard
This month’s installment of Fables is 94 pages lengthy, together with endpapers, a title web page, a credit web page, a desk of contents, seven pages of stat blocks, most of that are new to this quantity, three pages of latest ships, a web page of latest magic objects, a three-page growth of 1 encounter, 5 pages of handouts and maps, a four-page pronunciation information, and a full web page OGL assertion.
As with the earlier volumes, the art work and maps are very aesthetically pleasing. Of the six-page introduction, 5 are the usual language for the introductory part of Fables for this marketing campaign.
The Ultimate Voyages
The journey begins off with the Isle of Drakes, the haven of pirates within the setting, attacked by privateers employed by the Karelagne Empire. This is likely one of the two colonial powers that after dominated the area, and it alerts the endgame of the marketing campaign, the place the Karelagne are pushing to retake management of the Aetherial Expanse. The PCs can both kill, defeat, or convert this privateer.
At this level, the PCs encounter a number of the druidic pirates they’ve met beforehand within the marketing campaign, and these pirates assist join them to a dreaming Deva, who reveals them facets of the previous, current and future, in a manner that connects a number of the marketing campaign backstory parts and strikes them from DM going through to participant going through.
This dream serves to warn the PCs of the hidden superweapon being sought by the Karelagne Empire, in addition to the connection between the Cosmic Turtles and the Astral Titans who created the superweapon, although to not be a superweapon.
The PCs encounter two ships close to the location of the misplaced island that homes the Singularity, a tool that may harvest magical materials that runs all through the Aetherial Expanse however has the secondary impact of sinking islands which have been harvested. These are privateers working for the Karelagne Empire, and so they have units to assist discover the sunken ruins. Within the sunken metropolis, the PCs can discover stellar materials that can be utilized in a magical forge to create magic objects, encounter a Kraken, an Astral Titan, and an Astral Turtle that every one have their very own agendas. After a battle with Aethersubs created by Karelagne, your complete misplaced metropolis collapses into the deep seabed, placing the Singularity out of attain.
Constructed into the journey is a two-month time leap, the place the PCs can pursue their very own pursuits, and reside within the Expanse goes on. After the tip of this era, tensions between Karelagne and Ayris, the opposite former colonial energy within the area, have ramped up. Each Karelagene and Ayris are providing pardons and Letters of Marque to bolster their aspect.
If the PCs try to hitch with the Karelagne, the provide was a lure, because the Karelagne are declaring warfare on the pirates of the Expanse. The PCs would want to battle their manner out of the lure in the event that they went this route.
In the event that they try to hitch up with the Kingdom of Ayriss, they’re despatched on a mission to undermine an island managed by Karelagne, which they don’t want to assault straight resulting from the truth that the Karelagne haven’t official declared warfare on Ayriss at this level.
The PCs may take out just a few ships of the Karelagne, and their general route from this level is both getting all of the pirates to band collectively in opposition to the Karelagne, ought to they assault, or to facilitate a bigger accord between the pirates of the Isle of Drakes and Ayriss in opposition to the Karelagne. A part of the negotiations entails throwing a banquet the place the varied captains can meet with each other, with completely different advantages relying on what the PCs is perhaps keen to spend.
Prosecuting the Battle
The “warfare” is one huge battle for the Isle of Drakes, which features a main improvement through the last confrontation. The PCs can deploy ships to completely different factors on a map as a part of their planning, which can find yourself altering the quantity and high quality of ships they should confront straight. With out Ayriss, there are fewer ships to deploy to those choke factors.
All the things is pushing in direction of a confrontation with the Thunderchild, an unlimited Karelagne warship that has recovered the Singularity within the intervening two months. The Singularity damages the PCs house island, and issues shift again from being a naval battle into extra of a character-driven decision. A cosmic turtle beneath the island awakens and enlarges all of the PCs, asking them to feed him the Singularity to eliminate it. The enormous PCs then should survive cannon fireplace lengthy sufficient to tear open the Thunderchild, pull out the Singularity, and feed it to the turtle.
From if the PCs, for no matter purpose, resolve to not feed the Singularity to the turtle, then it throws down with them in a last bid to place the artifact to relaxation.
After having a storm large captain cursed to deliver a couple of cyclical apocalypse by a large sorceress, I believed bringing the story again to the battle with Karelagne can be anti-climactic. I believe this journey does a superb job of reframing the stakes of the journey, and tying in a bit bit extra of the cosmic story of the Expanse, and I’ve to confess, I used to be flawed about not feeling just like the marketing campaign ought to have ended with the earlier journey.
There’s additionally an attention-grabbing approach to personalize the villain, the place the captain of the Thunderchild sends an phantasm to the deck of their ship that lets him taunt them as the ultimate confrontation unfolds.
Whereas the journey does a superb job of building the scope of the story, in addition to tying up unfastened ends within the marketing campaign, there are just a few locations within the narrative that really feel a bit rushed or heavy-handed. There isn’t any manner for the PCs to get better the Singularity within the first chapter, it simply disappears, and is routinely recovered later by the Karelagne. This may really feel a bit irritating for the PCs after having the artifact taken from them by way of textual content.
I like the ultimate battle, but it surely feels just like the steps main as much as it really feel a bit rushed as properly. The Thunderchild reveals up, it fires on the island, the turtle wakes up, it telepathically talks to the PCs “out of flip,” then enlarges them and tells them precisely what they should do.
The Seafaring Guidelines
I’ve been commenting in every journey if the seafaring guidelines which might be proprietary to this marketing campaign are integral to working the adventures. Whereas there are just a few ship battles on this battle, I believe the primary ship that wouldn’t be simple to mannequin with current ship stats can be the Thunderchild itself, though the Thunderchild shifts from being an opposing ship to one thing the giant-sized PCs are tearing aside fairly rapidly.
I wasn’t a fan of the foundations, as a complete, however I additionally assume that if ship fight would have been the one new guidelines, this last journey may justify that addition. That stated, popularity and provisioning don’t appear so as to add so much to the marketing campaign when nearly all of adventures on this marketing campaign contain crusing a ship to a spot after which adventuring at that place.
If you happen to actually favored the bookkeeping facet of the brand new guidelines and having the ability to discover locations to make use of popularity, you may positively add just a few extra encounters into the marketing campaign to make all of it worthwhile, however as offered, I’m undecided it wanted the diploma of granularity and specialization that have been offered within the preliminary journey of this marketing campaign.
General, I believe this marketing campaign is a robust nautical marketing campaign. There have been just a few locations the place issues “should” occur, for many of those adventures, the PCs can resolve how and in what order they strategy the duties earlier than them. There’s a good upward curve from “surviving a shipwreck” to “feeding an historical artifact to a cosmic being,” which nonetheless manages to really feel like a narrative that may be advised by pirates attempting to impress an viewers within the native tavern.
Purple Sky at Morning
For a concentrated marketing campaign with a stable story, I’m undecided that the added parts of popularity, ship fight, and provisioning are definitely worth the effort. At greatest, I believe two of encounters within the marketing campaign are in all probability higher served utilizing the ship chase/fight guidelines, and the remainder actually don’t make the brand new guidelines really feel mandatory. There are just a few cases the place the later adventures need the DM to attempt to add encounters to allow them to seed legends early on, and make it really feel just like the legends have been circulating all through the marketing campaign. I do know it could be tough to do that, however I want these parts had been launched earlier within the marketing campaign, within the earlier adventures, in order that they actually did weave themselves into story over time.
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Whereas I wasn’t enamored of the extra guidelines modules launched, in case you are a fan of nautical adventures for D&D, this can be a fairly stable marketing campaign. Whereas there are nonetheless just a few areas the place I want later developments had been launched earlier, this journey feels much more cohesive than the primary Fables marketing campaign, the place the primary a number of adventures appeared to maintain repeating the identical tropes.