Arcadia Issue 30 Breakdown
All art belongs to MCDM
And so, after 30 whole issues of Arcadia, we finally reached the end. It was a pleasure to have you readers with me along the whole journey. I may have skipped one or two for one or other reason, but almost all Arcadia issues have been reviewed, and I can’t begin to comprehend how it is that they maintained such level of quality. Big props to all the people that work at MCDM and those who wrote articles for them. Arcadia will definitely be one of those things we will come back to in the future in the same way we may get to come back see products from 2e.
Erin Roberts wrote about an organization you can add to your game. These articles about groups of people, factions, or organizations you can incorporate to your campaigns are something I always enjoy seeing from Arcadia. This time, the organization is known as The Thread (love the name). It’s an organization that has existed since so long ago no one really knows how it was created. There are different theories that change from place to place, but no precise answer to the question. The Thread is all about folk magic, aka the magic of everyday life. These people arrive to help society when in need and make sure to teach their practices to make everyone’s lives easier in the long run.
The Thread is led by The Diviner, The Healer, and The Traveler. These are titles that are given to people, meaning that once the healer retires, a new one shall side to that position. There are three NPCs described, one for each of the roles, that are full of personality and seem really fun to roleplay. If I were to add this organization to my setting, I might actually make one of the NPCs I have already created and replace one of these three people to easily merge it with my world. The three leaders play a vital role in making the organization successfully accomplish what they propose.
In addition to the organization and leadership, the article includes encounters to meet with The Thread, which serve as fun short adventures, and Folk Magic Practices. The latter brings a new amount of depth, as those who decide to be part of the organization can learn Craft Magic, Fortune Telling, or Heartwork. Each of these have their own unique mechanics. With Craft Magic you can create items akin to magic items, and the book to learn it allows you to be proficient at all the things. Fortune Telling allows you to grant a random boon to someone else, as if you have read their future. Then, there’s Heartwork, which allows you to learn specific rituals that cause different effects, similar to spells. I can easily see each party member learning one of these three folk magic and using these boons to get fun new things to their games. Folk magic, however, can make PCs more powerful than they should for their level, so that’s something to take into consideration.
Just like the article before, the crossroads works as some kind of organization, except it’s more like a black market. An extraplanar one! As I continued reading about the Crossroads I fell more in love with this idea of an extraplanar black market. I have done something like this for one of my games, but this one is definitely much better, and one I plan on stealing. This market is led by a powerful criminal family, but one that has no problem in working for you if you have the money. These are the Parriarchs, and while not much info is given about them, we know of their prices and their success rate (I really like that you are gambling if they are going to be successful in their task).
The Crossroads is filled with a plethora of NPCs and interesting characters. We have people carrying out assassinations with different prices in case this person is important, has bodyguards, or you want to leave a message. An imp fence, and even a brass dragon that can forge anything are among the many things you can find here. However, my favorite is definitely a human that was transformed into ooze by an aboleth and now is connected to all their knowledge, which you can get for a price, or one of their ridiculous favors. As if this was not enough, there is an actual pit fiend that got tricked by the Parriarchs to work for them indefinitely, granting access to other franchises of the crossroads among the many planes. I can easily imagine players wanting to come here constantly to see what is now in store.
The last Arcadia article… Let’s finish it with a bang! Or in this case, a chorus sung by heavenly figures. This adventure for 7 lvl characters takes you to traverse the cathedral being attacked by celestials and fiends, in order to put a stop to the rage of a celestial entity. Many different characters play a role in this short adventure, each containing one of the seven notes missing to fully accomplish your task. That’s right! You have to play music to calm the celestial. I feel that if you have at least one player who really likes music they are going to love collecting the notes, and trying to order them to make some coherent music to play by the end.
While the rest of the adventure itself plays very safe, and doesn’t add many new other things to the table, the whole theme of music definitely stands out. I really like how Sadie tied everything to sounds, having all encounters while dungeon-delving have some music theme to it. Enemies can steal sound from spellcasters, not allowing them to cast spells, NPCs need to be saved by singing because enemies will attack the NPC if they stop producing music, and more. The way in which the PCs encounter the notes the NPCs have for them are really original as well, with some of the NPCs dying while writing the note with their blood, or recording the notes in plants that can mimic sound.
All in all, I found this adventure really original, and the combination of the music you are making (which is in an MP3 file you can download) combined with the extremely epic battle against a celestial is definitely going to create extremely cinematic finales in your players’ minds. Bravo for that!
So this is the end… for now. Arcadia may be over, but MCDM has already said they are going to keep producing content, except it might not be for D&D5e. I’m super excited to see what the team will come up with, and don’t worry because I will keep on giving my personal opinion about the things they release!
What’s been your favorite Arcadia issue? Is there an article from the bunch that has changed your games since you tried it out? Let us know in the comments below!