Sunday, May 8, 2011

Review: Dungeon Crawl Classics #8 Mysteries of the Drow

Dungeon Crawl Classics #8 Mysteries of the Drow By Jeff Quinn - Poetry by Susie Quinn
(48 page d20 adventure for 4-6 player characters levels 7 to 9)

Front Cover Artist: Erol Otus
Back Cover Artist: William McAusland
Interior Artists: Jason Edwards, Carlos Henry, Brad McDevitt
Cartographer: Jeremy Simmons

If you are planning on playing in this adventure STOP READING NOW! - or I will have to hurt ya.

I won't lie to you, some parts of this adventure will get your characters killed, but who those characters are is one of several problems with this module. This was a tournament adventure and it has not been reworked so as to easily fit into an ongoing campaign.

This is a drow adventure from a drow's point of view. I could see where it could be used to flesh out an underdark campaign against the drow, but converting to AD&D and making it fit into a campaign will require some work. It is a good adventure and worth the effort in my opinion.

As designed the pre-rolled player characters are drow or drow allies (I have no idea what a Shur or an Urbam might be but they are listed as two of the characters races). It is suggested that two accessory products be consulted, the Goodman Games Guide to the Drow and Aerial Adventure Guide not own either of them and can't offer an opinion except to say that they do not appear necessary to play or convert this adventure.

The adventure lacks a great deal of detail to run it within a campaign. Since it takes place in the underdark it cannot easily be used outside of such a setting. Altering it to AD&D will demand the conversion of several spells and devices as well as a decision on whether or not to allow versions of firearms into a campaign.

This can be a deadly adventure. Some of the encounters may need toning down regardless of the edition used, though a DM may decide that powerful monsters or NPCs will force the players to tread carefully, seek alliances or simply run away from time to time.

Unfortunately this isn't a pick up and play module unless run as a tournament with drow player characters. For use as a campaign adventure the general area of the underdark will need to be detailed. The background will need to be altered as well. I'm old fashioned and don't run campaigns with evil player characters, and have never used drow as anything except evil NPCs. My conversion of this adventure is to use players descending into the underdark, fighting drow, and perhaps gaining allies among the good NPC races opposed to the drow. The adventure works perfectly well with this style of play. Even the pre-rolled player characters can add another element to the adventure. Following the background of the tournament these drow can be another encounter, perhaps a recurring enemy group the players must fight and hopefully defeat.

As mentioned there are some new spells and devices in this scenario. I liked them. There is also an exceptionally good idea for a puzzle lock and a player handout, and no one should be surprised that I thought the Erol Otus cover art was fantastic.

Not a pick up and play adventure by any means, but some very good ideas and encounters. I recommend it to anyone running an Underdark campaign, but a DM should be prepared to put some work into it before use.


  1. Thanks for the review. It's been sitting on my shelf for a couple of years now, ever since Goodman had their "switching to 4E" sale.

    I've converted several DCC and Necromancer modules for use with AD&D, sometime on the fly. This is apparently not one of them. :)

  2. Tournament modules can be hard to make use of in a campaign. Tomb of Horrors is such a slaughterhouse of an adventure that I never wanted to run it for people using their campaign characters. In the same way that the A series module (can't remember which number) railroaded the players into having their character stripped of weapons and armor and dumped into a pit.

    This adventure limits the campaign options since it is so environment specific. You may find yourself wanting to convert it if you do run an underdark campaign.

  3. That's part of my thoughts on it. If I ever do an extended Underdark game.

    Oh, and it's A4, In the Dungeons of the Slavelords. :)