Review: The Adventures of Frank Frazetta’s Death Dealer: Shadows of Mirahan from Goodman Games (4E D&D)
The Adventures of Frank Frazetta’s Death Dealer: Shadows of Mirahan arrived today and I decided to give it a review. Whether they know it or not, almost every geek is familiar with the artistry of Frank Frazetta. In addition to his fantasy and science fiction paintings, his work has graced the covers of novels, comic books, posters, and even several 70’s rock band albums.
In 2007, Image Comics put the story of the Death Dealer into a graphic novel, and it became their #1 hit that year. Being a fan of Frazetta, and being a fan of gothic/horror fantasy, this was a must read for me. And it was great! The dialogue was a little campy at times, but the story was classic and the artwork was AMAZING! It earned its place as one of my favorite graphic novels.
Along comes Goodman Games, and their adaptation of that wonderful graphic novel into a 4E D&D adventure.
Let me just say, that this is one of the hardest reviews I have ever had to write. There is SO MUCH cool stuff in this book that I want to tell you about, yet I know I can’t because I don’t want to spoil the fun for you! This book is pure genius. It is one of the best adventure publications that I have seen for 4th Edition.
Story: This is the highlight of this adventure. Going into it, I was trying to figure out how they would adapt the story of the Death Dealer for a group of people (the PCs). The story line shoots off in several directions and locales, which would be hard when you need a mostly linear plot for an adventure. What the author ended up doing, is placing the PCs into the story as their own sub-plot. All of the plots in the original Death Dealer story are happening around what the PCs are doing. This is great, because it still creates a new adventure for those familiar with the Death Dealer story. You get to play in the story instead of play the story.
Artwork: I don’t need to even cover this. Frazetta’s work is amazing. Jay Fotos and Nat Jones’ work in the Graphic novel is amazing. And this module pulls most of its artwork straight from those sources. The layout of the adventure is straight forward and easy to follow and the text is easy to read, even with a darker page background.
Challenge Level: Folks, you need to bring your A game and a bit of strategy and smarts to this adventure. If your table is a bunch of mooks, you’re going to have your heads decapitated by the Shadow Horde. The combat in this adventure is deadly serious, as appropriate to the world of the Death Dealer. The author has made some advanced rules that you can adopt into 4E. They cover an expanded and alternate use to action points, increased critical ranges, and my favorite, critical effects charts to make those critical hits more deadly. The adventures supports characters of level 7 to 9.
World Info: In addition to the appendix of advanced rules, there is another that talks about the world of Iparsia. This adventure could easily be adapted to any campaign setting. However, if you wanted to run it in the true world of the Death Dealer, this adventure gives you the tools. It talks about the different lands, giving you racial traits for each. There are also a few new feats that melee characters will lust for.
There is also an appendix that has all new monsters. This book is worth its weight, just to bring 4E life to the horrific and evil creatures of the Shadow Horde. I so desperately want to tell you about Dazaka! Those familiar with the graphic novel know what I am talking about. But I can’t. I don’t want to spoil your fun. Good luck against that one. :)
Another appendix gives you pre-generated characters. And these characters are straight from the graphic novel. You have Adelia, Lambau, Owen, Rian, and Lorthos.
The Death Dealer: It is recommended that the players should not play as, or fight the death dealer in this adventure. As the adventures states, “The Death Dealer is an engine of destruction that is nigh unstoppable by anything short of divine intervention.” In keeping with cannon of the story, there is no way for the Death Dealer to be on a level playing field as the PCs. However, he has stats at the end of the book for the GM to do with as they please. I don’t think it would be spoiler advice to tell any potential PCs who run into the Death Dealer to NOT piss this guy off.
The bottom line: This is a must-have 4E product. If you can’t find someone to run this adventure for you, you need to run this for someone. And any DM, even if they don’t want to run it, can use it for its resources. In addition to the great monsters and advanced rules, I suggest implementing Chapter 1 into whatever adventure you are running. It is great fun.
At $9.99, it is not going to break your bank. and at 96 pages, it will keep you entertained for hours. And if you buy the book, Goodman Games gives you a code inside to download the PDF for free.
I personally hope that this product is successful and that it spawns more adventures in the world of Iparsia.
Side Note: Amazon.com has the hardcover Frank Frazetta’s Death Dealer by Image Comics on sale as of this writing. The graphic novel enhances the game experience with this adventure and is worth a read..
Reviewer Disclosure: I received the PDF version of this product gratis from Goodman Games (though I would have bought it anyway).