Over the last few years, I’ve been enjoying getting back into Dungeons and Dragons, and a large reason for that is because my children and their cousins have discovered the hobby for themselves. Taking them through a narrative tale as they problem solve and battle evil critters has been a real treat, and we often look forward to the next time we get to sit down to adventure in the fantastical worlds that D&D has to offer. Recently, they have been taking a motley crew of heroes through a homebrew adventure, helping the mysterious ‘Lady in Grey’ bring an end to the schemes of an ancient force of evil.
But between working for a living, writing for the site, and my own hobby pursuits, it can be tricky to fine time to plan out an interesting and engaging adventures for our next game night. So, when I learned about Steamforged Games’ Epic Encounters, advertised as a game night in a box that had everything you would need to run a party through a memorable adventure in a single sitting, you can bet I was intrigued. So, a few months ago, I went ahead and pick up the first of these sets, with the idea of playing it through and giving my thoughts on this novel concept.
Let’s start things off with a bit of an overview of the Epic Encounters line of products. Produced by Steamforged Games (a company well known for their excellent range of miniatures and games) these boxsets are designed to provide DM’s with a complete gaming session to challenge their players with. Split between ‘Warband’ boxes and ‘Boss’ boxes, these sets give you a complete adventure booklet, battle map, and most importantly of all the miniatures you need to represent all the enemies you will be pitting against your players.
Shrine of the Kobold Queen was the first of these sets released and falls under the ‘warband’ category of boxes. Inside the box you get 20 detailed Kobold miniatures (including 9 unique sculpts) a detailed double-sided battle map (one side displaying a Kobold encampment and the other with a lava ridden cave network) as well as a booklet featuring a two-part encounter and stats for all the monster miniatures.
These miniatures are nicely detailed and made of a sturdy plastic, set into appropriately sized bases for grid-based combat. These minis have a slightly ‘chibi’ quality to them (at least the Kobolds do) which might not be to everyone’s taste. But they don’t come off as too cutesy or distracting, and it gives them a nice and unique look on the tabletop. Standouts in the range include the Ember Rage Fire Snakes, the Magma Belcher Basilisk and of course the leader of this merry warband, Mother Krangor herself.
All fear Mother Krangor.
All these minis are given rules in the included booklet, which includes the above-mentioned two-part adventure. This is built to be either played as a stand-alone adventure, or as a drop in plot that can be played as part of a longer established campaign (which is how I used it for my children’s play group). It is primarily designed for level 1-4 characters, but it can also be scaled for higher levels of play through upscaling the damage effects and DC of certain environment effects. Although if you are playing at a higher tier, just be aware you will have a much easier time of it.
Without spoiling too much, the adventure itself has many interesting interactions, but is on the whole a gauntlet style of module with enemies a plenty to battle through. Savvy players (or Dex heavy parties) will have an easier time with the earlier sections of this adventure, but any balanced party should be able to handle themselves just fine. As a DM you get a decent amount of details such as plot hooks and environmental hazards to throw at the party, but I would recommend reading the adventure carefully as the booklet doesn’t highlight the creatures that populate the map, and as a result can be missed if not read carefully.
Our play through was a real blast.
The map itself is well made very detailed, with the different area’s easily defined and easy to distinguish. It’s also fairly generic, and so can easily be reused to represent any encampment or volcanic environment you my come across in your travels. All these goodies will set you back around £39.98 ($49.95) which in all honesty is not bad going as far as unpainted miniatures go, especially considering you get a nice selection of differently posed minis. And if you really enjoy yourselves and want to continue on the plot, then you can continue this tale with the sets corresponding “boss” set (which I be covering very soon) which offers you a cinematic final encounter to round out the story.
Overall, I’m rather impressed with this boxset. Steamforged Games has put a lot of care into providing you with an interesting adventure in a box, with a number of unique creatures to add to your future homebrew campaigns. There are also a number of different ‘warbands’ available at present (including Orcs, Goblins and Serpent-folk) so you should be able to find the enemies to best suit your play session. Steamforged Games also have a new set up for pre order, featuring some lovely looking Undead miniatures. So, if that is more up your street (or you are in the Halloween mood) why not check it out for yourselves.
Final verdict? Worth picking up and trying out if you are homebrewing as a DM for the new monster stats, and definitely worth buying for the lovely miniatures. Solid recommend. Go ahead and check out the range for yourself here.
I hope you have enjoyed this look into some of the open license D&D products available. If you have and would like me to cover more of the Steamforged Games Epic Encounters product line, then let me know either down in the comments below, or over on Twitter @TenguPlaysGames and I’ll do some more of these reviews in the future.
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