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Dungeons & Dragons 3.5: Legend of the Ripper

Legend of the Ripper

This is a low-level adventure that provides a good opportunity for a party new to the adventuring game to make a name for themselves. It's based on the story of Jack the Ripper, of course, but with some neat fantasy twists that make it credible within the alternate reality of your campaign world and means that even the most enthusiastic student of the real Ripper will still need to work at this challenge.

It all starts in a city. Pick one from your campaign world, it may be where the party started off their adventuring career - or they might be country bumpkins, drawn like moths to the candleflame that is the lights of the big city. Even the investigation is left open. What is known is that the ghost of the last victim of this city's Ripper, who cut a murderous swathe through the city over an hundred years ago, has started walking the streets where she met her doom and there's been an uptick in unsolved vicious murders in that neighbourhood. Under pressure and getting nowhere fast, the city watch call in some outside consultants in the shape of the party.

If you think your party would enjoy an investigation - and you feel up to inventing the details - you can, or you may simply say that the watch have discovered what they believe is the lair of the present-day Ripper and want the party to clean it out on their behalf... because it is at the entrance to that lair, based in and under that last victim's former home, that the adventure text begins.

The preparatory material for the DM contains the usual material: a wandering monster table, scaling information in case your party is stronger or weaker than that envisioned, notes on character death (a real possibility) and on the fact that this is a horror story as well as a fantasy one, and a fair bit of background material.

The adventure proper begins in the squalid back streets of an area known as Miller's Court, where the original Ripper murders (as well as the latest crop) took place. This section involves some investigation and exploration as the party homes in on the particular building that they seek. There's plenty to do and see as they work their way to Mari's former home and the tavern that adjoins it. These form the setting of the second part of the adventure, which is the upper floor of the tavern.

Finally, the party's investigations will lead them into the cellars and sewars beneath... and to dark places beyond. Throughout there are clear descriptions for all locations and encounters, with necessary game mechanical information and notes on the likely actions of those encountered. Sidebars contain expanded information and other useful notes and snippets of further background material which you may weave in as you please. None of this adventure is easy, but the final stages are particularly tough, especially for the low level party that the adventure is intended for. The outcome isn't certain either, whatever the party chooses to do has consequences. Apart from these, there are also several ideas for follow-up adventures - most work best if the party is still welcome in the city, but others can be run regardless.

This is an outstanding and atmospheric adventure for a starting party to really make their mark on the adventuring scene!

Return to Legend of the Ripper page.

Reviewed: 3 August 2018