DMs Guild Review: Blacktide Cove

Blacktide Cove is a one-shot adventure by R. P. Davis for a party of 6th to 8th level set in the kingdom of Impiltur in the Forgotten Realms.

The adventure is designed for a well-balanced party of 6, which probably makes it harder for the average party, so you might need to make adjustments on the combat encounters. On the other hand, there is something special for everyone to do, so no matter the composition people will get their chance to shine. I should note though that there’s a lot of combat, so be prepared accordingly – I called it a one-shot, but it might take more than one session.

In terms of story, there’s quite a bit of background. Essentially, a pirate ship ran aground after being chased by the Impiltur Navy, with the survivors scattering. Eventually, six of them returned and hid their treasure in a chapel, but for several reasons never got to enjoy it – instead, they were captured by an aboleth and its cult of kuo-toa, enslaved in life – and death, having turned into wights. The players have several ways of finding out about the treasure, but they will inevitably head toward Blacktide Cove.

The first part of the adventure is the travel there, which should take four days. There are random encounter tables, as well as some predetermined encounters for each day – some of them quite difficult, others less so. The players might even collect some additional help if they play their cards right. However, several of these encounters can also lead to future problems – not included in this adventure, but they can be turned into their own little one-shots if you find them interesting enough.

The second part takes place in the cove, starting from the ruined tower of Dayvar’s Light, standing on a cliff next to the water. Descending the tower, the party finds themselves in the lair of the fish-men. Making their way through caverns and fighting the kuo-toa cultists, dodging traps (or falling for them), and looting merrily all the while, they eventually face their elder god: the aboleth. This is going to be a very difficult fight, and most likely one the party might not survive. I will note here that there are no alternatives mentioned, such as how the party could retreat or escape and how the enemies would react to that; there are however lots of information on how to handle the fight, including how the aboleth would rather try and tempt or enslave the players rather than kill them outright.

After the players slay their enemies and carry off their spoils, there is another chapter detailing possible ends to the adventure, including the daily encounters from before. After that, we get a couple of new magic items and maps to hand out to the party and use yourself. I will note that the battle maps are from Dyson Logos, and they are of course great. As an aside, I had some issues with the editing – the boxed text gets cut off sometimes so some words aren’t visible, but it might just be my copy of the pdf.

Overall, Blacktide Cove is promising to be an intense and engaging adventure, but quite a challenging one as well. Your players should be prepared going in, and I think they will have a lot of fun with all the encounters they’ll, well, encounter, and it has a lot of fun ideas for various other interconnected one-shots.

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