Given the time of year, the idea of “good little children” might evoke thoughts of Santa making a list of which are naughty and which are nice. But rather than an adventure of holiday cheer, this adventure is designed with along the lines of the chills and ghostly happenings one might find in Dicken’s A Christmas Carole.
Released around this past Halloween by Sneak Attack Press, Good Little Children Never Grow Up is an adventure with some dark themes and eerie settings, in which only a band of stalwart adventurers can hope to save the day – assuming the heroes can survive long enough to meet the challenge!
Good Little Children Never Grow Up
Author: Matthew J. Hanson
Illustrators: Anonymous, W.H. Drake, Liotard Jean-Etienne, William Miller
Publisher: Sneak Attack Press
Media: PDF (24 pages)
Good Little Children Never Grow Up is a D&D 4E short adventure for characters of 3rd Level through 5th Level, and can be used in almost any medieval fantasy setting. This adventure consists of three Combat Encounters and two Skill Challenges which Characters must face in order to complete their quest. The adventure presents six new Monsters, a new Trap/Hazard, and two new Magic Items – a new type of enchanted weapon and a new boon.
Production Quality The production quality of Good Little Children Never Grow Up is a mixed bag, fair in some parts and exceptional in others, for an overall rating of good. The writing of the adventure is exceptional, with a very creepy plotline, and some excellent use of drama to engage the players. The presentation of the material, however, is with a no frills black-and-white format, that while quite printer-friendly, makes reading a bit plain. The text of the content is overall very good, although there were a couple typos – most notably was the front cover, which suggests the adventure was designed for Characters Level 6-8, when it is actually a Level 3-5 quest.
The monsters, traps, and hazards in the encounters are done in block format easily recognized by 4E Dungeon Masters, with the monster stat blocks using the newer format introduced in Monster Manual 3. The author of Good Little Children Never Grow Up made some good re-designs and upgrades of existing monsters, and all monsters needed for running the adventure are presented in the text, so there is no need to go hunting through the Monster Manual to complete an encounter.
Much of the artwork in Good Little Children Never Grow Up is public domain stock art, but it is used well and enhances the reading of the product overall. The maps are simple black-and-white line art with simple graphics, and although simple, provide sufficient information to set-up and run the encounters. DMs using dungeon tiles should have no trouble in re-creating maps for use during their game, and for those using simpler method, the style of the maps makes it easily rendered if drawn on a battle-mat.
One feature I really loved in Good Little Children Never Grow Up was the eight pages of Character hand-outs provided by the author to facilitate role-playing. This adventure is all about an eerie haunted house, and as anyone who has seen movies like The Shining, The House on Haunted Hill, and other movies of that ilk know, the victims of a haunting rarely share the same perception. The hand-outs are designed to allow players to role-play out their individual haunting experiences, seeing and feeling things that the rest of their fellow adventurers might not perceive. Adding these hand-outs to the adventure was an excellent feature, and really will help DMs create a surreal atmosphere for their Player-Characters to experience.
[Spoiler Warning: Reading the next two sections will reveal spoilers which might affect the enjoyment of playing through Good Little Children Never Grow Up. You have been warned!]
The Adventure As mentioned previously, this adventure is about a haunted house, specifically a haunted orphanage which has been recently tenanted after a long abandonment. The heroes are asked to investigate the old place to find three local youths that have gone missing after visiting the site, and to find out if the new occupants, the Perseville family, has any knowledge of their whereabouts.
The adventure unfolds in a fairly straightforward plotline, but has all manner of possible outcomes due to the nature of the horrors haunting the mansion. The addition of the aforementioned character hand-outs by the author allow the players themselves to become ensnared in the plotline very quickly, and with a good bunch of role-players, can add a new dimension to the mystery. And for Dungeon Masters wanting to break their heroes out of a hack-and-slash mentality, Good Little Children Never Grow Up presents some very solid options for offering a deeper role-play experience.
The Encounters The three encounters presented in Good Little Children Never Grow Up are fairly well-balanced for a 4th Level adventuring party, and present heroes with some difficult dilemmas which cannot always be solved by chopping and blasting their way through them. In two of the encounters, the author of Good Little Children Never Grow Up present a skill challenge to accompany the combat action which can be used to defuse part of the encounter, and make it easier for the adventurers to not only vanquish the evil foes, but do something fairly heroic at the same time – save victims from a terrible fate!
As it turns out, there are several combatants in the encounters which are actually victims, and can be saved by using the skill challenges, and not just leaping into the fray swords and spells at the ready. Heroic characters who have been sharing in the strange visions and eerie haunting will have an edge at recognizing the situation, and should be able to mount a rescue amidst the melee, which will certainly heighten the drama of each encounter.
The monsters in Good Little Children Never Grow Up are fairly formidable, and there are also some well-designed monster powers possessed by the evil nasties here. Several of the powers evoke an opportunity to role-play out the effects, particularly those of the “boss” of the adventure, and I really like the overall way the author reinforced the “haunting” theme with his creations.
Interestingly, one of the main “encounters” also involves a magic weapon, which although useful, is also possessed! Dealing with the weapon’s issues can be another interesting plotline within the story, and if it can be exorcised, will greatly assist the heroes in the final encounter – and in future encounters beyond the adventure as well.
Overall Grade: A-
Conclusions Good Little Children Never Grow Up is a definite treat for almost any D&D group to play, and has some really great writing and a gripping plot that will pull players into the story. While the formatting of the adventure is a bit basic, the additional materials such as player hand-outs, solid story-line, and inventive new monsters, traps, and magic-items gives the DM an opportunity to present a very enjoyable experience to their gaming group. And given the modest pricing of the adventure, this Sneak Attack Press module is well worth adding to any Dungeon Master’s virtual bookshelf.
So until next Review… I wish you Happy Gaming! Grade Card