Hunted! is an adventure for a party of 4-6 characters of level 5 to 7, by Tony Petrecca.
There’s a mystery in the town of Northwood’s Rest, in the form of livestock getting killed. Some villagers blame the Orc clan that lives nearby but, thankfully for the players, the truth is much deadlier. Actually, a crazy druid has created a tree which is really really hungry. Usually, that would be fine but, in this case, the tree wants to eat the villagers and the Orcs. And that’s what the characters will have to find out and then try to stop.
The adventure promises investigation, exploration, challenging combat, and it delivers. Actually, investigation, exploration, and social encounters play a big role on how the adventure progresses and also how difficult the final combat encounter will be.
There’s freedom on how both the DM and the players can handle some situations in the adventure. This time, going in guns blazing isn’t the best decision to make. There are a couple situations where cool heads will bring much better results. But this doesn’t mean that turning everything into ash won’t solve the problem. It probably will but then there’s a chance the players miss a few interesting things.
As for the combat encounters, they’re balanced but I think they’re a bit more challenging than the average, which I think is a good thing. And as I mentioned, the “boss battle” can be a real pain if the players make some bad decisions.
The cover art is beautiful. Apart from that, there are quite a few art pieces in the adventure. Most of them are colored but there are also some very beautiful black and white sketches. As for maps, there are a few colored ones included. They are well made and cover all the areas mentioned in the adventure, except for the place the Orc clan is located.
I have said it before and I’ll keep saying it: I like when I see adventures that mess with how monsters work. Even more when it’s not their combat tactics, but their behavior. Orcs are bloodthirsty savages that like pillaging. They usually form tribes which are mostly patriarchal.
In this adventure, however, the clan’s leader is a smart female Orc. Also, they have decided that living peacefully with their human neighbors is a much better choice than just raiding the place. This decision has a reasoning behind it and it’s not just a random change in how the Orcs of the adventure behave. The leader puts the survival of the clan first and their bloodlust second, which is a wise thing to do.
How can you use it?
There’s a direct reference to the Tomb of Horrors, and Acererak, in this adventure. This means you could use it as a side quest between adventures in the Tales from the Yawning Portal. My only issue is that if you want to use it this way, you’ll have to use it between lower level adventures than Tomb of Horrors. I don’t recommend taking characters of that level there, unless you run this adventure on a higher level, which can be done with a bit of tweaking.
Overall, Hunted! is a beautiful adventure. Tony makes good use of all three pillars of adventure so all types of players can enjoy it greatly. Moreover, it can teach both the players and the DM a few things, which increases its value. I highly recommend checking this adventure out.