Dusk: A Penny Arcade 4E Mini-Adventure
Those of you who have read my spotlight post on Penny Arcade’s Mike Krahulik know that I religiously follow his exploits in DMing – to the point that I’ve created a massive index of all his D&D related posts. Over the past few months, Mike has begun to recognize the level of interest that has grown around his D&D games and last week, he introduced a D&D corner that holds a similar index.
He also uploaded an adventure of his own creation, entitled “Dusk,” which is premised on the idea that the adventurers have been requested to find a missing daughter and has a few playful jabs at Twilight. Yes, THAT Twilight. I don’t know nearly anything about Twilight except the copious amounts of hate thrown upon it by peers from all corners of my life and I thought it was an engaging adventure with a more than passing resemblance to a Scooby Doo-style whodunit.
Like me, you probably don’t need to have any knowledge of Twilight lore to enjoy it. I’m not spoiling anything by saying that it plays on a lot of accessible points of humor: squee-ing teenage fangirls, shrill prima donnas, self-serious method types and burnt out has-beens. The design of the whole thing isn’t very ambitious or terribly clever, but it possesses enough redeeming qualities to be worth running for a light-hearted night of fun.
The strongest aspect of the adventure is the NPC interaction. Krahulik’s writeups are minimal, but the characterization is rendered in humorous broad strokes that make it easy for a DM to pick up on the basic personality and have fun with it. This, to me, is in stark contrast with the dozens of NPCs you usually see in published adventures who seem to be rather faceless and void of personality or even a legitimate reason to care about them.
Also, the occasional typo notwithstanding, the adventure is written very clearly. I’m a relatively inexperienced DM, and I felt like I have more confidence running this than the introductory adventures in the Dungeon Masters Guide, Eberron Campaign Guide or Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. In the entire 12 pages, Mike lays down an adventure that may not be a challenge to the gray matter of its players, but entertaining and easy for the DM to run.
I fully intend to run this adventure. It could even serve as an introductory session for people who might be reluctant to play a role-playing game as it never takes itself seriously and allows newbies to get eased into the game through its light hearted tone and pop culture-based premise.
If you enjoyed reading about my thoughts on the design of this adventure, then consider supporting this blog by purchasing any number of D&D related products at our Amazon store such as the Dungeon Master’s Guide 2 which provides information for how DMs can inject a little more storytelling flavor into their campaigns.