Beastmaster’s Daughter is an adventure for a party of 4 to 6 adventurers of level 3, by Dave B. Stevens.
The Aldritch Research Centre and Zoo is a place where you don’t find your usual zoo specimens. The creatures found there are exotic and dangerous beasts. The zoo is ran by a powerful wizard and his daughter.
A recent lightning storm caused a malfunction in the barrier system, which let the creatures free inside the facility. The wizard is currently away and his daughter is unable to access his sanctum, where an artifact that re-initiates the barriers is located. She has to rely on brave adventurers to go into the facility and acquire said artifact and gain control of the barriers once more.
The adventure could be divided into two parts. The first part is where the adventurers have to prove their worth. They have to go and capture a specimen, a Gibbering Mouther, in the nearby swamp. The idea is that they must prove they won’t slaughter every creature inside the facility, which can happen and will lead to consequences, some which are a reduced payment.
The second part of the adventure is also the main part, both time and story wise. The characters will go inside the facility and try to locate the wizard’s sanctum and the artifact kept inside.
The first part of the adventure contains a bit of exploration and combat. Technically, if your session time is limited, this part can be optional but it’s a nice warm up and a good way to let your players know that they should try to not kill everything inside the facility. The time it will take the characters to find the Gibbering Mouther depends on their tracking skills, and on how long you want them to stay there.
The second part is a dungeon delve. It is longer and more complex. The complexity is mostly due to some of the puzzle like encounters.
There is combat but the goal isn’t to exterminate everything, and the encounters portray that. For example, there is a room that will provide an infinite amount of undead. Staying there hoping to fight everything won’t do you any good.
Another interesting puzzle encounter is chess based. I’m saying puzzle encounter and not just puzzle because it is a puzzle but also contains combat as part of its mechanics. Again, the purpose is not to kill everything but to overcome the puzzle and move forward.
Interacting with the beasts is kinda the same. Your purpose isn’t to kill them, but to recapture them. It can be tricky, however, because they are a bit dangerous. My only complaint is that there weren’t as many beasts to interact with as I’d like to, but for story reasons some aren’t “available”.
Surprisingly, the adventure includes only photographs. That’s different compared to the majority of adventures I’ve come by. This doesn’t mean, however, that it’s a bad thing. The majority of the pictures show locations, while there are portraits of the major NPCs.
Cartography wise, there is an overland map displaying the locations of the facility, the marsh, and the nearby town. There is also a map of the facility, which is important since it’s pretty much a dungeon. There isn’t a map of the marsh but I’m pretty sure it’s unnecessary.
A Couple of Notes
What I really liked was the “Time Elapsed” notes. These are notes mentioning how much time it took a testing group to reach a point of the adventure. Of course, it will be different for each group but it’s a nice thing to have a general idea on how much time each part my take you. For example, it’s mentioned that the time needed is about 6 hours but it can be reduced to 5 if you don’t use the first part of the adventure. At least for me, this makes a difference because I know whether or not I can use the adventure as a one shot.
Another note is that this adventure requires going through it at least once. Some of the mechanics used require the DM understand how they work before the session, so they can easily explain them to the players.
Finally, this adventure is linked with a novel and a campaign. Neither of them are necessary in order to run the adventure and have fun with it. However, there are a few lore points mentioned in it but nothing that will confuse you.
Oh, did I mention the adventure is free?
Overall, Beastmaster’s Daughter is an interesting adventure. It may not be for everyone, since its goal isn’t to exterminate anything in sight, but that’s also its charm. If your players enjoy considering their approach to the situations they face, this can be a fun adventure for them.