The Master’s Decree

The Master’s Decree

From: 3AM Games

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

The Master’s Decree is a new d20 Fantasy Adventure Supplement from 3AM Games.

From the website:

“Theron Hawksfar, Westbrook’s town master, isn’t convinced that all is well in his town.”

Some months ago, I had the privilege to review Westbrook by 3 AM Games. It was a good starter non-epic adventure series for beginning D&D players or casual D&D players. The sequel, The Master’s Decree, follows up where the previous book left off and takes a party of level 3 to 5 adventurers further into the plots that surround the town of Westbrook.

Content: Contained within the pages of this book are basically six adventures that primarily deal with a threat from the dark woods to the south of the town. There are three full adventures that deal directly with the threat and 3 short stand-alone adventures or lairs that allow the characters some diversion from the main plot.

The plot basically starts out with several reports from farmers of creatures of some kind being seen around their land, causing trouble. Then bodies of several murdered hunters turn up within the South Forest, as well as two children turn up missing. Meanwhile, the town master Theron Hawksfar, feeling the political pressure of Jurithian Tradesmen who intend to establish a foothold in Westbrook, wants the wood tamed. Thus starts the adventures into the South Forest of Westbrook.

The book starts out with 3 chapters of background and plot development information, as well a random encounters and rumors tables. What I like about the boys at 3 AM games is they develop a good but simple story and do not have to “go all-epic” on you. It gives you the meat of Westbrook in short concise paragraphs, pulling you into the politics and secrets of the town without throwing you into a world-jeopardizing plotline. I also like the thoroughness and at-a-glance way they write up the tables and stats. It reduces page turning.

Along with the random encounter tables, Chapter 3 – In the Forest contains the short lair adventures: Gruk’s Cave, The Pixies’ Glade, and The Spiders’ Grove. Two are inevitably hostile and the other is more roleplay oriented.

From the back cover:

“Foul denizens of the South Forest have been encroaching on the town.”

Chapters 4, 5 and 6 contain the heart of the adventure series. All three chapters are adventures taking the characters along the main plotline: The Lair of the Itilk Igix, The Lair of the Axt Tekti, and Githil Adlan. By the end of each, the players should level. The adventures basically take the characters through the lairs of the “threat” mentioned above and brings the whole series to a close at an ancient ruin. They all gradually build in difficulty and present the players with imaginative challenges that are both very typical of D&D but have a slightly unique quality to them.

The appendices include plenty of player handouts, detailed maps of all regions where the players are likely to have combat including all the lairs and caves, a map of South Forest, NPC stats, and stats for a few magic items, creatures and weapons. The inside covers have quick references to Westbrook as well as stat block formatting.

Rules: The author does add a few things to the d20 system for your fun and enjoyment. Particularly, he adds a new creature template called Fell. Fell creatures are creatures of this world who have been corrupted by some deep and sinister evil. He also presents a new concept for books and tombs called illuminating manuscripts. These are specially written books that if properly read and studied convey a number of ranks in a specific skill to the reader. I wish some computer programming books were written like that. Also in the appendix is a new creature called a stonethrasher, a particularly nasty and bizarre CR 5 creature.

Layout: Like its predecessor, this book is well laid out with a gamer in mind. The formatting is done in a way to make things easier to look up for ease of play. It is not just thrown together without thought to the reader. A lot of thought and design work was put into the layout. Stats are easy to read and spot. Maps are clear and well done. And the art is, although black and white, very appropriate for the material and eye-catching.

In conclusion, I was impressed with the first book and remain so with the second. The guys at 3AM Games know their gamers and know how to write a good adventure. I look forward to seeing more of their fine work in the future.

For more details on 3AM Games and their new d20 Fantasy Adventure Supplement “The Master’s Decree” check them out at their website and at all of your local game stores.

The Master’s Decree

From: 3AM Games

Type of Game: d20 Fantasy Adventure Supplement

Written by: Don Bessinger

Contributing Authors: Stan Reed

Cover Art by: Alex McVey

Additional Art by: Jesse W. Campbell

Number of Pages: 110

Game Components Included: One softback book

Game Components Not Included: d20 Core rulebooks

Retail Price: $ 19.95 (US)

Item Number: 3AM 11300

ISBN: 1-59516-001-9


Reviewed by: Ron McClung