Warning: as with any adventure path review, the following text could contain spoilers. Total Party Kill Games’ The Bleak Harvest (written by Jason LeMaitre) is a horror-themed adventure built for 4 to 6 player characters. This adventure scenario, designed to be compatible with Dungeons & Dragons 5E and Pathfinder systems, is a self-described “adventure of insanity horror.” And, that description is certainly accurate. In fact, similar to Starfinder’s Signal of Screams Adventure Path saga, this TPK adventure guide immediately warns GMs that it is a module that is recommended for mature audiences. This warning is directly derived from the content. Deranged acts of evil, mental illness, violence, and sexual situations all take up residence in The Bleak Harvest.
Total Party Kill Games explains that this “adventure is intentionally setting-neutral, and can be dropped into any pre-existing campaign where a hilly, temperate region is located with minimum changes required. ” That is entirely accurate. What is so great about this 64-page adventure module is that player characters (generally, levels 8 to 10) can simply walk right up and step directly into this world of madness. This highly-adaptable adventure even offers GMs several suggestions as to how to incorporate this storyline into any campaign setting.
As the players set forth to aid a ruling noble with locating a lost family member, they find themselves immersed in a world of madness. As the players seek to find answers, they risk being overwhelmed and consumed by the madness that plagues the estate. This adventure module is complete with full-color maps to guide players through this mad, mad world. As the players venture on, they will meet dark and mysterious NPCs and enemies – many accompanied with colorful page art.
Enemies like Toussaine Wren (CR 10), the succubus and serial killer. Wren is a female elf bard and assassin who wields her erotic beauty with malicious intent. Toussaine pretends not to hear her visitors knock while she plays her pan flute. She feigns surprise when the door opens, but does nothing to cover her naked body. Or, the strange Mi-Go (CR 6). Medium plants, masters of deception, and present only for pure scientific curiosity. These creatures have learned to mimic the voices and sounds of other creatures with perfection and are sure to lead any adventure party into a curious confrontation.
This adventure module, which retails for $22.99 for print (AND .PDF) – competitive in price with any Pazio Adventure Path of similar composition – contains new creatures to add to your bestiary, magic items, spells, NPCs, villains, and more. The book itself is laid out with care and organized in a way that is easy for any GM to follow on the fly. It contains descriptive language to provide players as you lead them through twisted scenescapes, stats for anything, friend, foe, or inanimate that players might encounter (in dual-block format, black for Pathfinder and red for D&D5E), advice for world-building, and rich lore and background information to really sell the setting.
Having been a fan of the dark, space-horror thematics of Starfinder’s Signal of Screams (Adventure Paths #10-#12), I found this adventure module to be thrilling. Although, a completely different setting from The Signal of Screams (not space fantasy), I was immediately intrigued by the mysterious shadows lurking behind each page. I never questioned the stylization of this corrupted setting and found myself curious about each plot twist and encounter. This adventure module can easily be blended into any fantasy, horror, or occult RPG (like Vampire: The Masquerade) with little effort and is a great, unique option for any GM looking for a moment of different.