Review Spoken on the Song Wind Summary, Review, and Modifications

!DWolf

Adventurer
I figured I would summarize and review the next part in SoT. I am not going to compare it to Strixhaven this time because the adventures diverge in structure and I don’t think there’s any useful info to be gleaned. What I am going to do is suggest my changes and fixes to this adventure (in a later post because I’m still writing them). Now on to the summary:

Part 1
  • The adventure picks up two weeks after the first one ends. Teacher Janatimo has arrived and he questions the characters in a unique way about the Anadi and the Griffons: asking the to produce plausible and outlandish theories. And then assigns them to investigating.
  • The characters find and talk to the Anadi. They have been drawn to a warehouse but something weird is going on inside and they are afraid to go in and have complained to the administration but nothing has been done (I hate this “Authorities/Adults are useless” trope by the way).
  • The characters and the Anadi fight a guardian statue that suddenly comes to life. Then they get to fight through a six room dungeon with a wood golem (important later), traps, etc. Inside they find serpent-folk infiltrators pretending to be students. When interrogated they say their leader is hiding in town but don’t know where.
  • The characters then head to town use investigation skills to find Oba’s Wondrous Creatures. Oba doesn’t like the Magaambyans (she feels they look down on everyone). She is secretly in trouble with the crimelord Froglegs. And coincidentally the crimelord has sent another message: all the dangerous animal cages have been opened and they are running lose. The characters need to get them back into their cages (or otherwise deal with them). They can also find a feather worth 75 GP!!! Which is a crazy amount for a feather. NOTE: There are themes of animal abuse here.
  • Once the animals are captured, Oba spills the beans on the griffons (there are some inconsistencies with the previous adventure) and gives the characters some magic items depending on how well they did. She won’t talk about Froglegs but the PCs can find a gripply lockpick as a clue.
  • The characters report back to Janatimo and are informed that they will become Conversants.
Part 2
  • The characters go to the ceremony, and Chiziri makes snide remarks about how the previous ceremonies have been interrupted and the precautions they are taking this time. Nothing interrupts the ceremony and the PCs are briefed on their new roles as Conversants. The gist is that they will have mission to do for the people. There are 10 tasks, rated from straightforward to taxing, and the book recommends doing two tasks each semester (they don’t have to be done in order).
  • The first task is determining why some of the Magaambya’s supplies have been lower quality than usual. This leads to an alchemical merchant, which leads to a fence who books it leading to a chase, which leads to an interrogation and the PCs setting up witness protection if any information is gained. This is a very Law & Order style task.
  • The second task is helping a flooded workshop. Due to sabotage to a canal a local pottery shop is collapsing. This is a skill based challenged and pretty interesting.
  • The third task is hunting down robbers targeting the street buskers because the chime-ringers (the city watch) are stretched thin with a crime wave. The characters investigate to find clues and when they have enough they are directed to the a five room dungeon where they take on the criminals unless they took too long investigating in which case the crime lord has already killed one of the criminals.
  • The fourth task is simply a Tall-Tale contest at a tavern.
  • The next task has the characters investigating a haunted house, finding out what the ghost wants, heading to a paranoid merchants house, getting past the guards and getting his side of the story and talking some sense into him. Characters also get some clues about the new crime lord in town.
  • The characters get a task at the Carnivorous gardens, where they must save the plants from experimental oozes. This is mostly a combat encounter with lurking oozes.
  • Mysterious fires are breaking out across the campus. The heroes get to investigate which leads them to an alchemist that feels that the Magaambya cheated him (he was actually swindled by impostors).The characters head to his home, a five room dungeon filled with fire themed monsters, and either talk or beat some sense into him (or both). The interesting thing here is the variety of resolutions to the situation offered and that they each have tradeoffs.
  • The next task involves relocating some dangerous Jungle Drakes outside of town that are prey on livestock.
  • Then it’s time to take on the crime boss. They head to a five room dungeon to face her. Many of the thieves flee, turn on the others, or convince the characters that they are good guys infiltrating the gang. Froglegs herself, once captured, immediately tries to get a lighter sentence by revealing the location of serpent-folk infiltrators. The characters, if they learned enough about her, can also set her on the road to redemption.
  • The characters go to a local carvers home to pick up a commemorative carving. Examining the carvings they can trace it back to the wood golem. Then they are attacked by a wood elf on a giant eagle who is an assassin working for the mayor (and who tells them that when interrogated).
Part 3
  • The characters enter a flooded mansion, an 11 room dungeon, take on the serpent folk (who is having an identity crisis) and rescue the actual mayor. They also find notes about the artifact of doom on campus.
  • The teachers then report to Janatimo and then confront Koride about the artifact of doom and she begins researching methods to destroy it.
  • Finally, the characters graduate and become teachers.
My Review While I like this adventure, it’s not the masterpiece the first adventure was. Aside from minor inconsistencies which understandably happen in AP’s like this), and tropes that I hate (characters are special and solve all the problems, adults are useless, etc.), I don’t think it is structured well. Part 1 clearly intends to set up a dual track slow-burn investigation and I don’t think that it succeeds in it. Additionally, the passage of time is not really emphasized as much as it should be and there is no looming crisis or rising action that sets up the climax of the module. However, the bones of an excellent, if unconventional, module are there. Since it will require some work on the GMs part to make this module fantastic, I will give this module a 7/10.

Additional Notes: People with the (absolutely fantastic) Mwangi Expanse book will get a lot out of it when running this module. Additionally, I am intrigued about the possibility of tying this AP in with some of the Serpent Skull adventure or even the second part of the Age of Ashes.
In the next couple of posts/days, I am going to go over my ‘fixes’ to the adventure.
 

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!DWolf

Adventurer
So my fixes to the adventure revolve mostly about adding three new mechanical structures (shocking I know) in order to emphasize academic advancement, the passage of time, and the adventure paths theme of community.

The first structure will be a new advancement system based on community service and branch level. A draft version of it is attached.

The second structure will be a seasonal calendar that contains the module events (along with select events from later modules) in a decompressed form with seasonal events to provide opportunities for community service. Additionally, because of the academic advancement system not guaranteeing the players are Conversants, I’m adding in promotions for NPC classmates. The classmates can ask their friends, the PCs and other NPCs, for aid and thus serve as hooks into the adventurers in a manner similar to (and hopefully better executed than) strixhaven (or if the PCs aren’t interested in a quest to have them solve the problems and show that the world is a bigger place than just the PCs). I have attached a draft of the first three seasons I have written (I’m not to sure about the formatting) to give an idea of what I’m talking about (major spoilers).

Third (and most time consuming from the sheer volume of ideas I have), I am adapting Nantambu to use the urban exploration system similar to the one I used for Kalabuto. It will have different tables depending on the season and will provide random encounters. The encounters will be either entirely flavor (based on the Mwangi Expanse book) or hooks to the tasks in the adventure (for example when heading to the city they might encounter some buskers bring robbed, hear about the tall tail contest, or see a rare Alijae elf and wonder what their story is).

Finally, I am going to slightly alter all the events (when played) to make things a little more fair to the NPCs (remove idiot ball moments) and maybe add a bit more interactivity: when the PCs arrive at Oba’s she is aware the creatures are loose and trying to convince a pair of chime-ringers to help round them up and the chime-ringers can be understandably reluctant to do so and the PCs can interact with them for a variety of outcomes; the Minotaurs at the shops could deliberately use non lethal attacks because they don’t want to be arrested for murder, etc. Just little things like that.
 

Attachments

  • Community Tasks.pdf
    52.4 KB · Views: 45
  • Academic Calendar Draft A.pdf
    65.8 KB · Views: 46

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