Review: Judge Not by the Cover

There’s nothing too sophisticated about this latest adventure for Tails of Equestria, but it’s a fun take on a traditional dungeon crawl that blends self-aware silliness with a neat little story.

Judge Not be the Cover sees a party of ponies explore a magical library (no, it’s not too clear how they manage to turn the pages with hooves) and later traipse through enchanted caves as they seek to save some new allies from a century of isolation. The locations are just as fantastical and weird as you’d hope from the My Little Pony universe and the handful of NPCs on display have straightforward personalities that make roleplaying a breeze.

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However, while the players are free to wander as they please every now and then, most of the major events are tightly scripted and can feel a little restrictive. Entire scenes play out in blocks of text for the GM to read out and many players are going to feel frustrated if you suddenly pull away their ability to act for minutes at a time.

At the same time, the adventure also suffers from a lack of organisation. The map showing the library layout is pretty but isn’t labelled, forcing you to work out which area is which from visual cues and a bit of mental navigation. Even the text on the page doesn’t do much to indicate which room it applies to, making it hard to quickly pull out details if you need to flick back and forth at the table.

Much of the fun comes when the rains are taken off for a moment and the party is allowed to roam free through those magical corridors and passageways. There’s plenty of imagination on display here, with simple puzzles mixing with dreadful puns, and the library is stuffed with things for the party to discover and toy with.

Children will have fun exploring and interacting with some enjoyable characters, while adults (so long as they don’t take themselves too seriously) will have a blast spotting references and playing around with Tails of Equestria’s simple but effective ruleset.

It’s not a particularly long adventure, clocking in at just over 50 pages, but Judge Not by the Cover is a great way to keep your table entertained for a few sessions.

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