Eberron Oracle of War: The Night Land

The first adventure in the Oracle of War Adventurer’s League campaign is DDAL-EB-01 The Night Land by Shawn Merwin. It’s a solid introduction to the setting, and the three adventures it contains introduce the weird nature of the Mournland, the church of the Silver Flame and Daelkyr abominations, and the Emerald Claw quite effectively. The only major flaw is that the player characters never actually act as salvagers, all the missions are in fact more conventional mercenary work that any adventurer could be caught up in. There are light spoilers in this review, so if you’re a player, keep out.

The players start in a tavern (where else) waiting to meet a mutual contact who’s brought them to the small settlment of Salvation to start a new life scavenging from the Mournland, a deadly wasteland filled with monsters caused by an unknown magical event. There is a default character provided (Kalli Arran) but players can choose to make this part of the adventure their own by designing a custom NPC. This is a nice idea, although my players didn’t bite at the opportunity. There’s also a table that allows you to randomly generate a tie to Kalli, but it can easily throw up odd results, such as having a warforged be related to her. I used the table for inspiration, but let players choose their own connection to her (or lack of connection.)

Kalli (or the NPC the players create) then tells them about the town salvage board, and quickly leaves again to get ready to go on a salvage run. In the adventure, she says her crew is full, but I would run this differently if you have the Salvage Missions supplement. Since the players will later have to rescue her team, now could be a perfect time to introduce them and run a short salvage mission with the NPCs. Of course, they’re not described in this module, but it is a linear series of modules so if you’re planning to run them all, incorporating this information is fine. You can also have an actual salvage mission or two be on the board of missions the players can tackle in any order they want.

The three missions the module gives are a search for a missing goblin salvager, the recovery of a stolen religious relic, and investigating suspicious activities near a salvaged warforged colossus. Again, these are all seek and recover/destroy missions so that’s a bit of a missed opportunity, but they have a decent mix of exploration, social interaction and combat for a first level party. The best thing about all the missions is it’s possible to fail, but still get some reward. My players almost didn’t save the goblin, if one player hadn’t rushed in after a few rounds of group indecisiveness, she would have been dead and they would have gotten half the cash. The party can also be given the runaround (ironically by one of the few Good characters in the town) in the search for the religious relic, meaning they arrive too late to save anyone and have a much harder fight on their hands, also getting a lesser reward.

The idea of having legacy events that can carry on from table to table is pretty wild for Adventurer’s League, but it fails to live up to that much in later adventures in my opinion.