Book Review: Adventures In Middle Earth: Wilderland Adventures

Adventures In Middle Eearth:  Wilderland Adventures, by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan, Francesco Nepitello, Jon Hodgson, and Steve Emmott

I happen to greatly enjoy books like this for a few reasons.  For one, I am an avid, if not very frequent, tabletop role playing gamer who enjoys seeing various games and various campaigns as a way of helping my own playing and organizing.  For another, I like the way that various campaigns can work together as is the case here.  Sometimes players can forget that their various adventures which they undertake for loot and experience can be part of a larger story that helps tie in to the larger lore of a story, and that is certainly something that can be well-understood here.  As the Wilderland is the area around Dale and Laketown, and these are areas that are designed in the Adventures In Middle Earth 5e game to be the basis of adventuring in the period between the events of the Hobbit and those of Lord of the Rings, these stories provide aspects that are of interest in the aftermath of the Hobbit and that look to help the player see the unfinished business that resulted from the victories over Smaug and the Necromancer.

The seven connected campaigns take about 150 pages and cover a wide area between Gladden fields and Zirakinbar, and cover interactions as diverse as helping protect caravans and dealing with wraiths and a dragon.  The first campaign, “Don’t Leave The Path” is designed for beginning adventurers to explore the paths of Mirkwood and meet Elves and a crazed hermit.  “Of Leaves & Stewed Hobbit” allows the readers to have a sanctuary at the Easterly Inn and to help out some hobbits who are dealing with the dangers of the wild in the land of the Beornings.  “Kinstrife And Dark Tidings” shows the characters engaged on a bounty hunting mission for Beorn where a kinslaying is not all that it seems.  “Those Who Tarry No Longer” provides the characters with an escorting mission of a melancholy elfin noblewoman that leads the characters into a dramatic struggle with an evil spirit.  “A Darkness In The Marshes” shows the adventurers exploring a fortress where great evil is afoot where one of the Necromancer’s servants is seeking to build a power base.  After this “The Crossings Of Celdiuin” provide an example of treachery that seeks to weaken The Dale and where the characters are forced to defend a ford against an attack by an orcish army.  Finally, “The Watch On the Heath” provides the adventurers, budding heroes by this point, with the chance to team up with a dragon to oppose the ambitions of the evil Gibbet King.

What these adventures do is tie together a variety of evils that are connected through the ambitions of the Gibbet King.  Whether dealing with a bandit chief who wishes to carve out his own kingdom in the wild, or dealing with traitors who seek to poison the brave warriors who would defend Dale from enemies, these stories deal with dark shadowy forces that are far beyond the ability of the young heroes to deal with through their own force alone.  Additionally, the adventures allow the characters to develop their diplomacy and build together a variety of sanctuaries that will allow for greater aid in future visits, and that even present the possibility of the characters becoming landowning gentry on their own in addition to warriors of considerable excellence or scholars of great knowledge.  The ability to gain favor with patrons as diverse as Elrond, Beorn, Radagast, and the king of Dale will allow characters to take these adventures and gain some great skills and experience in the process of fighting against the shadow.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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