Friday, March 17, 2017

Mystery Box Review

Hey Folks, we’re putting together a first for our mystery box series.  Today we’re looking at a DM’s Guild adventure created by a community member.  This adventure, written by Jeff C. Stevens, features citizens in distress, a tavern bigger than it seems, and a pile of monsters.  Let’s dive into Dragon’s Breath Tavern, and see what sort of mischief we can find.


The Adventure is written for characters between level 3-5, and is expected to take about four hours (give or take).  The premise is simple enough, the adventurers have been traipsing around the wilderness and have just found their way back to civilization.  The town they’ve found themselves in has one tavern, and everyone in town directs them that way.  It’s a nice tavern and has all the comforts of home (and a few discomforts). There are several other folks at the tavern the night they arrive, and everything seems fine.  However, the Tavern has a secret, and it could turn out fatal to a party of adventurers.

The Adventure

Once the action kicks off, the adventurers are in for a rough night.  There are a host of potential monsters to manage and the adventure feels like a race.  The party will have to manage their needs to find the monsters, save any citizens in harm’s way, and find any loose treasure.  There are some interesting encounter areas to deal with, and the adventure feels very comfortable with the elements that have been added.  There are some heavy encounter areas to deal with, and if you’re looking to run this adventure for your friends, i strongly encourage you to use the provided combat trackers to keep everything moving.

The Aftermath

There are a couple of different ways that this adventure can end, and if the adventurers can succeed at managing the monsters, they can do a good service to this town.  The other things that this adventure offers are ideas and hooks to expand out if you want to use this adventure as a springboard for other ideas. The author has given you a lot of directions and ideas of turning this adventure into the start of a campaign, or as a touchstone for recurring villains and plots.  

What I like about this adventure

The author has done an excellent job of pacing this adventure and creating situations that should make adventurers want to chase down leads and follow the adventure’s clues.  It’s a dense adventure area with four distinct “levels” and encounter areas.  The adventure has a premise that is both simple enough to run with and open enough that you can drop the adventure in just about anywhere.  The tavern itself could easily fit into any little town anywhere, and you can use this adventure to turn a new area your characters are exploring into the start of a campaign.

There are enough other dangling plot hooks and story elements that you could easily stretch this into a more in depth story arc or campaign than you might have originally thought.  This adventure does a wonderful job of pulling some horrific story points into the adventure and i’m certain that at least one of these elements will catch your players off guard.

Issues with the adventure

I had trouble coming up with a name for this section, as these aren’t necessarily problems or major defects, but they are minor quirks that i found less appealing than the other elements.I think the author has spent a decent chunk of time detailing the appearances of NPCs that don’t necessarily figure into the main story.  The initial tavern patrons are described in heavy detail, and i personally don’t think that’s as critical to the plot of the adventure as other elements.  

I will applaud the author for creating his own dice game, (and it’s a neat one that looks like a fun way to pass the time) but i think it’s immersive value to the story is less useful than other things that might get the characters hopping along into the plot.  


I really enjoy this adventure and it’s had a lot of thought and preparation put into it.  The maps are gorgeous, and they fit the adventure’s idea and don’t leave dangling areas that can’t be explored.  (A personal pet peeve of mine is adventure maps that have rooms depicted that aren’t referenced in the adventure beyond “This area is inaccessible”).  This is a wonderful adventure to drop into an existing campaign or to springboard as the second adventure for a new party.  Remember, it only takes 900 experience points worth of trouble to get a brand new party to level 3, one of the suggested starting points for this adventure.

I give this adventure 5 stars, and i enjoy Mr. Stevens work.  I want to see more of these.  (I do appreciate the reference for one of his other adventures in this work, and that’s an interesting level of world building detail that ties these together into a cohesive story.)

That’s our review of the Dragon’s Breath Tavern, from Jeff C. Stevens.  You can find it on the DM’s Guild at
I am an affiliate with the DM’s Guild, and if you’d like me to take a look at your products/add ons/ideas, drop me a line at my e-mail address or find me on twitter at @ZardozIndustry

Game On, Game Fans

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