An Adventure Per Year: Feast of Goblyns (1990)

In my A Game Per Year project, my goal has been to read one roleplaying game corebook for every year they’ve been published. However, I soon started to feel that it was hard to decipher how the games were really meant to be played. For this reason, I decided to start a parallel project, An Adventure Per Year, to read one roleplaying adventure for each year they’ve been published.

The cover of Feast of Goblyns

Feast of Goblyns is an introductory adventure published for the Ravenloft campaign setting for AD&D 2nd Edition. A gothic horror setting full of crypts, skeletons and nights of the full moon, Ravenloft has an unusual setup in that many adventures assume the characters to be from some other setting.

The idea, repeated in the newest Ravenloft adventure Curse of Strahd for D&D 5th Edition, is that the malignant Mists of Ravenloft abduct adventurers from other lands and bring them to Ravenloft so they can have adventures. Of course, they abduct other people too, as this is how the land acquires its citizenry.

This setup means that the adventurers are even more extraneous to the people and communities of the adventure than usual in D&D.

In the Feast of Goblyns, the characters become entangled in a very complicated plot between a damsel in distress called Akriel, her paramour Dr. Dominiani, the artifact Crown of Souls and many other forces.

The writing is surprisingly lively and there are some fun set-pieces such as the inn where the wolfweres (as distinct from werewolves) congregate at night to party. Another fun element is the town of Harmonia where music and song is held in great esteem.

The adventure culminates in a demonstration of one of the setting principles of Ravenloft, Domains and their Lords. Each region in Ravenloft is ruled by a tragic and powerful figure. At the culmination of this adventure, a new Domain is born unless the characters manage to stop it.

The titular goblyns (as distinct from goblins) are misshapen servitor creatures made from humans who fall under the sway of evil forces. As befits a D&D adventure, the titular Feast of Goblyns is a special attack mode where the goblyn bites the neck of the victim and starts to eat them.

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