Adventure Review: BP2: The Manor of Deceit (PFRPG) from Jeff Gupton and Blackbyrne Publishing

A couple of days ago I took a look at the adventure BP1: The Hidden Current from Jeff Gupton and Blackbyrne Publishing and noted a few issues with page layout and art choices. Today, I’m happy to say that the second adventure in the series for the “Dark Veil” campaign – BP2: The Manor of Deceit corrects those problems beautifully and not only reads well, but looks good now too.

So what’s this chapter about? At the end of BP1, the adventurers are on their way to the city of Gull’s Port to deliver a book to the sage Dalacore Smythe. Of course it’s never that simple… Roadblocks ahead folks!

It’s tough to tread the line and describe elements of the scenario without giving too much away, but I think Jeff did a great job of building from a small encounter with some lizard men in the beginning to a solid ending a partnership of evil and a foul plot at a zombie takeover of Gull’s Port and the rest of the world… Yes, there’s a James Bond-ish villain bent on world domination. But unlike Ernst Stavro Blofeld (From Russia with Love), the villain in this piece can’t pet his undead ogre.

Included are encounter maps, NPC stats and descriptions, and stats for all the combatants that you’ll find in the adventure. The stats are all wrapped up in a nice set of four pages so you have them all in one place along. It saves you having to hunt around for them when you need them in-game.

One thing I forgot to mention in the last review, but holds true again in BP2, is that Jeff manages to insert a few “acting notes” for each NPC and builds in some roleplaying opportunities throughout so it’s not just combat. Sure, you can go through and kill anything that moves, but there are alternatives provided to encourage other avenues of exploration. That’s not to say that there aren’t enough combat opportunities, just that there’s a good mix of both combat and non-combat encounters.

(Another thing that I thought about after the fact with the series so far is the lack of any kind of a town map in BP1 and a city map in BP2. Perhaps these are available as other products and I’ve just somehow missed them?)

My problems with the first module in the series involved organization, white space, and artwork. BP2 took care of all three issues beautifully, using art from James Denton as well as stock art from LPJ Design, Mongoose, and Kimagu. When you couple that with the extra whitespace, this becomes a much more readable book!

Ultimately, as I said in the last review, I think this is a great series and BP2: The Manor of Deceit continues the trend. Check it out at RPGNow along with the other great products from Blackbyrne Publishing!
And be sure to drop by the Blackbyrne Publishing website while you’re browsing!

Next up – BP3: The Prophecy Revealed!

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