My best friend, Tim, used to dress up as a pirate in high school. It all started when he received a tricorne hat in the mail from his father. Over time, Tim collected a poofy shirt and authentic leather boots to match his ensemble. He later added a sash with belts, and a feather for his pirate hat. He’d tell me when his pirate days would be so that I could come to school as a cowboy. We were (and still are) gigantic dorks. Interestingly enough, he’s now in the Navy, and I moved to Texas.
Anyway, I have a special place in my heart for pirate-themed things. I also love Halloween and all things spooky. So today, I’m delighted to take a quick look at Vall Syrene’s high-seas horror adventure, The Curious Case of the Calm Delilah.
As always, this isn’t a review. I don’t think you can really evaluate an adventure fully unless you’ve played through it. I think what Vall’s done here is great, and you should check it out. If you’re not convinced, take a peek what’s in store for you on this ghostly ship.
Music. The adventure opens up with a section on recommended music for each chapter. As someone who favors more immersive DMing, I think this is a really nice touch.
Content. There’s a lot of content packed into this book. There’s some great crew members of the Persistent Imperial in Chapter 1 that I could see becoming lifelong friends of many adventuring parties.
Honestly, I’m surprised by just how much content is in this adventure. For starters, you get…
– Custom monsters
– Random loot tables
– A constellation-themed puzzle
– Multiple locations fantastic for a seafaring adventure, such as ancient ruins and
– Island diseases and madness
– Plenty of undead encounters
Handouts. The handouts are what made me decide to take a look at this adventure. The book is very thematic. It feels like something out of Uncharted. The Captain’s Log is a great touch. I like alternative ways for the DM to convey information than just telling the players what happened.
Artwork. The original artwork included in the adventure never feels out of place, and stock art is used sparingly. I especially like the piece of Lavina Wisp, the aquatic, undead captain of the Dread Crew. I’d hate to be in the water with her, as it looks like her green skin might slough off as she swims through the sunken areas of the Lucky’s Stride. The art of various sea vessels is also attractive and helps to set the tone, as nearly every ship is battered, stranded, or haunted.
Maps. The maps in the adventure are eye-catching and interesting. I’m not sure what format Vall used to make some of them, but they appear realistic and are different from typical adventure cartography.
I’m a sucker for ship maps, though, and they do not disappoint. Vall did a fantastic job on the included ships. You can even print them out to scale! That’s much-appreciated; there have been many sessions where a cartographer’s details were lost on my representation of a map scrawled on the Chessex mat. In fact, Vall has provided all the encounter maps with 1″ printable grids. In the future, a black and white option would probably help, as some of these photo-realistic maps are likely to use a lot of ink.
Layout. The adventure contains a great border reminiscent of a waterlogged frame. Several paper notes located throughout the adventure are a clever way to frame boxed text. I think this is very attractive, but in future products I’d like to see more spacing between lines or larger text. Sometimes, the pages can be a bit overwhelming due to the majority of images being at the top or bottom of the page, preventing them from breaking up walls of text.
I appreciate that the stat blocks are in both the section they occur and the Appendix. It makes using them in session easier, and you can print them for later use.
I wish I had more time to actually play through The Curious Case of the Calm Delilah, but we’re about to start Waterdeep: Dragon Heist in our home game. If I wasn’t writing so much on the side, I might run second game. However, even a cursory look at this adventure reveals just how much thought and care went into it. I wouldn’t be surprised if that attention to detail permeates the actual narrative.
You can purchase The Curious Case of the Calm Delilah using my affiliate link below (because moneyz).
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