Uncaged Goddesses – a review

I’ve been trying to finish off this review for a few weeks now, seems like I could never find the time. Read below a few reasons you should pick up this product on DMsGuild now!

Uncaged: Goddesses Cover Art:
Artist: Gwen Bassett (@gwendybee)
Cover Layout: David Markiwsky (@DavidMarkiwsky)

The new installment in the Uncaged series for D&D, Uncaged Goddesses, has been released, and it’s fantastic!

The Uncaged series began in 2019 with an anthology centered on female monsters and building adventures around the concept that they were misunderstood and not evil. After four volumes of monster, a new project team has released Uncaged Goddesses, which focuses on various deities usually thought of as neutral or evil in alignment. And every adventure is for Tier 4 play, meaning they cover the levels not usually catered for by other published products.

I don’t know enough about the high-level games of D&D to write my own adventures in that space. I have ideas but I’ve never been able to flesh them out as I’ve rarely reached past 12th level in any edition I’ve run or played (with the exception of an all barbarian 20th level one-shot Pathfinder game, which was just repeated Conan jokes and I can’t remember if we finished or not).

With that in mind, I came at my review of Uncaged Goddesses as a masterclass in how to build these adventures, and what to do. When I write adventures, I have a habit of going too deep into details and becoming verbose and overly elaborate. These adventures give a solid background and flesh out characters enough that they’re tangible, without being too detailed and not allowing the person running them to shine with their own talents. They taught me how to do better and with some great examples for variation too.

Before I outline some of the adventures, I’m going to talk about the part of the product I read first – character options, or at least the character pre-gens to give you something to play if you don’t already have a high-level character.
I really enjoyed reading all of the different characters, and seeing how the race and class abilities had been carefully constructed to be fun to play both in and out of combat.
A quick rundown of all the options – a stout halfling battle master specializing in polearms, an aasimar grave domain cleric trying to escape their family’s necromantic past, a human arcane trickster who studied at Candlekeep but can’t stand academia, a goliath divination wizard that uses their telekinetic powers to make sure everyone has cocoa, a drow stars druid who can communicate telepathically and is a paid-up member of the cartographer’s guild, a mountain dwarf lore bard that plays a mean ukulele, a half-orc redemption paladin loved by the common folks, and a tabaxi fiend tomelock who is as happy fighting monsters in a dungeon as performing in a theatre troupe.
You can probably tell I have a few favourites from the descriptions, but I don’t think there’s a character among them that I wouldn’t want to play.

Now on to the adventures. I realised after reading that a lot of my favourites were the stricter dungeon crawls, but there were one or two that I just loved for their conceptual bravery – traveling through time to meet Lolth before she becomes a spider goddess, infiltrating a party thrown by Loviatar where the characters’ secrets are laid bare, or the Alice in Wonderland walrus making an appearance in the dreams of an elf girl with a connection to the Raven Queen.

The maternal instincts of the various goddesses were also a great highlight for several adventures – Auril grieving over a fallen daughter, the beholderspawn of the Great Mother needing guidance out from a plane of eyes and teeth (and more eyes and more teeth, and yet more eyes…), Luthic taking time away from the horrible relationship she has with Gruumsh but at great cost to her orc children, and lobster-headed Blibdoolpoolp trying to help the kuo-toa at any cost to herself (my favourite adventure in the book).

There are 21 adventures in the book, with 18 taking place in the Forgotten Realms or planes attached to it, and the remaining 3 in Eberron, Ravenloft, and Theros. Not mentioned above are fixing the Weave and the goddess Mystra, playing elaborate games with the Red Knight, attending a feywild party at the home of the Queen of Air and Darkness, or meeting up with Tiamat in the Hells.

Uncaged: Goddesses Interior Art:
Great Mother (Spot art – beholders) – Artist: Cecilia Nesti (@janedoe2971)

Uncaged Goddesses has only just left the top 10 products on DMsGuild after several months, is available in both digital and print, and most importantly is currently reduced in price as part of the Monsters of the Guildverse sale.

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