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Friday’s 4E Freebie: Dusk by Mike “Gabe” Krahulik

Please don’t take offense, but we’d appreciate it if you’d refrain from hunting in this immediate area. We have to stay inconspicuous, you understand.”  ~ Carlisle Cullen (Twilight, 2005)

Look, let me set the record straight right from the start – I am not a Twilight fan.  I also don’t judge folks who are fans of the mega-grossing movie and book franchise, but “sparkling vampires” and over-dramatic teen romance just is not my thing.  I fully admit, with a certain callous disregard, that I really don’t care whether good vampires, bad vampires, or werewolves win in the new movie – which, incidentally, from the trailer I saw during Ironman 2, could be summed up as “pretty people killing each other”.   And any references to Twilight in this blog I had to look up on the web, in various wiki and fan-sites, as I am completely unschooled in Twilightian Lore.

That being said, this past week dusk cover artMike Krahulik AKA “Gabe” started a new page on the Penny Arcade website called Gabe’s D&D Corner, where he has begun indexing his D&D Posts to make them more accessible to the Readers.  All told, he has nine links on the page now, dealing with everything from D&D via Email, to Sandbox D&D, to Freefall Combat.

[Editor’s Note:  If you have not had a chance to peruse these posts before, I can definitely recommend them as a “good read”.]

However, it was Mr. Krahulik’s most recent offering that caught the attention of my “reviewer’s eye”, as a potential candidate for my Friday’s 4E Freebie column.  It is a short D&D Adventure called Dusk – and is to blame for ruining my near perfect record for knowing absolutely nothing about Twilight!

Dusk
  • Author & Illustrator:  Mike Krahulik
  • Publisher: Penny Arcade
  • Year: 2010
  • Media: PDF (12 pages)
  • Price: FREE

Dusk is a FREE D&D 4E short adventure for 5th Level Characters, written by Penny Arcade Artist and D&D aficionado, Mike Krahulik.  While set in the WotC generic setting of Fallcrest from the Dungeon Master’s Guide, the adventure was written so that it could be used in almost any campaign setting.  The adventure consists of an investigation by Characters using a variety of skills and role-playing, and three combat encounters.

The Production Quality of Dusk is fairly good, with the adventure text presented in a simple “no-frills” layout, with important information, such as names and flavor text, displayed in bold or in red font for easy reading.  There were a few typos and grammatical errors, but not enough to mar a DM’s ability to read and use the adventure module.  While the encounters and monster stat blocks are in formats recognizable to 4E Dungeon Masters, there are no maps for the first two combat encounters, and the map for the third encounter is fairly generic by design, due to the nature (spoilers!) of the final encounter.  There is a nifty piece of original artwork by the Author which graces the front cover (see above), and will most likely illicit at least a grin from both Twilight fans, and anti-fans, alike.

As you may have surmised, Dusk is an adventure which is loosely based upon – and shamelessly spoofs – the novel (or maybe the movie?) of Twilight.  The adventure consists of an investigation into the disappearance of a young girl, a fan of a successful traveling play called “Dusk”:

Adventure Background

The Dwell family are a troupe of traveling actors. They travel from town to town, putting on various plays.  Recently they have found great success with their show “Dusk”.   It is the story of forbidden love between a young girl and a vampire.  Teenage girls go wild for the play and the Dwell family ends up playing to huge crowds in every town they visit.  The play happens to be showing in Fallcrest now and the PC’s have been contacted by a mother worried about her missing daughter.  The adventure begins with the PC’s talking with the mother in her home.

Without creating a bunch of spoilers and giving too much of the plot away, the Characters are charged with locating the missing girl, and this leads them into a series of investigations, which inevitably end up with the Dwell Family’s performing company.  Questioning the actors portraying the “Dusk” characters of Edward Cunning, Swella Bawn, and Carlice and Emmet Cunning offers some great role-playing opportunities, and the Author has added a variety of flavor text and responses from these pampered celebrities, which is certain to both frustrate Characters while amusing Players.

[Editor’s Note: If you are like me, and have no idea who these people are, I can only recommend visiting the Twilight wiki entry and hopefully you can get in on a few of the jokes.]

The combat encounters are solidly designed for a 5th Level party, and although the first two encounters are fairly generic, the final encounter offers some exciting mechanics which should make for a very memorable experience.  The monsters are fairly stock from the D&D Compendium, but with minor modifications to level or power set to give a few surprises to the Players  – and allow the stat blocks to be printed as part of the PDF under GSL rules, of course.

The fate of the young missing girl is both whimsical and chuckle-worthy, with the denouement and its consequences entirely in the hands of Dungeon Masters, and based upon the final decisions of the Player-Characters.

Dusk is definitely a worthwhile download, and should provide a solid night’s entertainment for many an adventuring band.  While the format is “no-frills”, the writing is clever and witty, and well worth the disc space in a Dungeon Master’s virtual library.  With Dusk being such a straightforward and fun-filled first offering, I certainly hope that Mr. Krahulik shares more of his adventures with his fellow D&D 4E gamers!

So until next blog… I wish you Happy Gaming!


About The Author

Editor-in-Chief
Michael is an Adept of a Secret Order of Dungeon Masters, and dwells in a hidden realm with his two evil cat-familiars, deep within the Vale of Wolverines, called by some "Michigan". He has been esoterically conjuring D&D Campaigns for nearly a Third of a Century, and has been known to cast ritual blogs concerning Dungeons & Dragons every few days with some regularity. Michael has freelanced for Wizards of the Coast, and writes reviews of D&D and other Role-Playing Game products on EN World News.

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