Thursday, May 26, 2011

Review: Dungeon Crawl Classics #11 The Dragonfiend Pact

Dungeon Crawl Classics #11 The Dragonfiend Pact By Chris Doyle
(16 page d20 adventure for 4-6 2nd level player characters)

Front Cover Artist: William McAusland
Interior Artists: Jason Edwards, Brad McDevitt
Cartographer: Jeremy Simmons

If you are planning on playing in this adventure STOP READING NOW! - You'll go blind and hair will grow on the back of your hands.

For the original $2 cover price this module was quite a bargain.

There are some good ideas included though the plot is poor and some of the concepts are flawed. One of the main problems is that by making the town described in the story so unique it limits the placement and usefulness of the adventure. There is just too much concept for the 16 pages being provided.

There is a struggle for leadership of the town. The idea behind this seems fairly muddled and implausible. A town with an elected mayor, though the mayor is part of some kind of aristocracy, and a magistrate who is a cleric, but one who turns to evil when he can't become mayor. And the mayor's young naive daughter who becomes mayor herself when the magistrate hires an assassin to kill the mayor. Then there is the magistrates plot to rob the town and use rats to smuggle the goods outside of the town. There is an evil pseudo-dragon who sways the magistrate to worship an evil god of trickery (he's the cleric btw), and finally a plan to have the town raided by a goblin tribe so he can kill the mayoress and become the towns hero. Blah... way too much. I think I saw this plot on an old Andy Griffith show with Don Knotts as the evil magistrate and the actor who played Ernest T. Bass as the Were-badger.

The adventure itself isn't bad. The use of the rats is intriguing, but a better reason for using them needs to be provided. I'm not sure just how much wealth could be smuggled out of a frontier town via rat-back. Might be handy for a city adventure with a jewel thief, or a mining town and someone smuggling out gold dust, but there really isn't much reason why the thief couldn't smuggle the valuables out by himself. Such things as what is being stolen and how are left to the DMs imagination, as well as particulars about the town.

The dungeon could have a small plot operation and be dropped into the Idylls of the Rat King adventure fairly nicely.

I wouldn't recommend this for a DM looking for a quick and easy adventure and the amount of work necessary to make it playable might as well be spent in adding it to an adventure with a better plot, or creating one. For the $2 it cost, it was still a bargain as an adventure aid. Semi-decent maps and some good ideas. It would have been better off without the attempt to make into something more.

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