Dates with Dungeons – Children of the NightFebruary 1, 2019
Welcome back, adventurer! Last week we talked about streaming your session and I gave you some encouragement and product information for streaming TTRPGs on a budget. This week, we’re once again kicking off a month of product reviews called Dates with Dungeons. The supplements we review this month are all dungeons, encounters, and monster that you can spring upon your party for less than five dollars! We’ll start off with “Children of the Night” by David “Jester” Gibson and the Fraternity of Shadows.
Let’s light some candles and strike up the string section:
“Children of the Night” claims to be a compilation of choice creatures found in Dungeons & Dragons’ Ravenloft setting, curated and updated for the latest edition. Many of these creatures were created 30 years ago and are sorely in need of a refreshing new look and statistics. Others got a 5E update in “Curse of Strahd”, but were lacking in some way—perhaps there was a variant available in 2nd or 3rd edition that could enrich the creatures or location-specific monsters that didn’t fit the narrative.
According to the Introduction, the monsters were found in the “Ravenloft Monstrous Compendiums” 1-3, with newly completed stat blocks (without extraneous information on habitat, personalities, and tactics that can be discovered through purchasing the original supplements).
I love a supplement that presents itself with a professional, polished appearance, even if it is something as simple as an Introduction and Monsters Challenge Tables. The cover is a bit too busy for me, but the stat block layouts, accompanied by sketchy illustrations on torn parchment, are clean and precise. Monsters are presented in alphabetical order with links to the original source of the creatures and while of the descriptions could have benefited from one final editorial pass to ensure the voice was consistent, the stat blocks (the true stars of the supplement) are tuned and balanced practically to perfection.
There isn’t much to say beyond that: This supplement is exactly what it claims to be on the cover. In the final pages, the monsters are arranged by both type and Challenge Rating (which, in the case of those monsters with fractions for CR, were rounded down). There is an incredibly useful section near the end that details the implementation of of various monsters’ allergens, such as garlic, perfume, and True Names. These entries are short and sweet, but certain to get the gears in any DM’s mind turning for creative solutions to encounters with undead and other beasts lurking in the shadows of the Demiplane of Dread.
This supplement was the result of a labor of love, a sorely needed update for incredibly fascinating monsters that, truthfully, did not have a space made for them in the brooding epic Curse of Strahd. Without porcelain-skinned vampires to challenge them for attention, creatures like the delightfully grotesque Backwards Man and the malicious Furies are free to reign terror in your home, when you bring Ravenloft to the table. While I could see some frustration in needing to purchase additional books to discover the monsters’ backgrounds and personal details, this was clearly written as a service to Dungeon Masters who prefer to grab a monster and go. Anyone looking for much more information would be better served following the provided links.
That’s all for this week, adventurers! Join us next Friday for another Dates with Dungeons, why don’t you?