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Red Jack: A Masque of the Red Death Adventure by M.T. Black


Often, when I think about the Victorian Era, I get a feeling that screams horror in general. Some of the greatest horror stories were written during those times, like Frankenstein, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and of course as a Ravenloft DM, we cannot forget Dracula. But the Victorian Era was a time of true horror too with the murders of Jack the Ripper. To the knowledge I have of that case, there were so many more deaths than the Five. Many of them were copycat killings, but all of them fell directly or indirectly to the terror that Jack imposed on the borough of Whitechapel (an area not far from where my grandfather grew up in London). So what happens when you take one of the most well known murder cases of history, and pair it with one of the greatest detectives in all of fiction? You get the opportunity to bring your players on a truly unique journey with Dungeons and Dragons. This adventure should not be used by new DMs or players, as they will likely expect dungeons or dragons, and find neither. Instead what they have is the opportunity to solve an infamous murder mystery within a city very much like Victorian London. Truly a masterpiece of a setup. It should however be noted that these sixteen pages are not all that the adventure has to offer. What might not be clear to the reader of this module is that this is actually meant to be run with some older Ravenloft products, and this merely helps adjust this to 5e. DMs should also take extra care to study on their history. Their players might not know that Jack was a lefty (a mistake I have seen several fictional versions of Jack get wrong), but the devil is definitely within the details, as we know very well within Ravenloft. This adventure is more of a framework designed to give DMs ideas on how they would like to run adventures of players chasing down a serial killer, making a different sort of D&D villain as opposed to a vampire or dragon. I might also recommend they read the fantastic Ravenloft adventure The Hour of the Knife for further ideas on how they can really change things up. Further readings and products to help elevate this adventure can be found posted in this page, but do not pass up on this. I’m sure many players at the table would be dying (another pun??) to see how Sherlock Holmes can fare against Jack the Ripper, but how he does so can only lie within the hands of the most clever of players, and the most ambitious of DMs who really want to challenge themselves to take an unorthodox approach to D&D and Ravenloft, and focus more on the horror, and less on the fantasy. Red Jack gets a 7.5/10 You can find the adventure here for 2.95$.

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