A Review of the Role Playing Game Supplement Dungeon Crawl Classics #11: The Dragonfiend Pact

Dungeon Crawl Classics #11: The Dragonfiend Pact by Chris Doyle is a role playing game supplement published by Goodman Games for use with D&D 3.x. As such, it is covered by the Open Game License and some parts are considered to be Open Game Content as a result. This is an adventure for 2nd level characters.

The supplement is available as a PDF from RPGNow for $2 and original printed versions can still be picked up from sites such as Amazon. The PDF is the version reviewed, although it was purchased at the reduced price of $1.66. This is a twenty page PDF of which two pages are the colour front and rear covers, with the rear cover advertising other products, two pages are maps, which would be the equivalent of inside the covers, one page is the Table of Contents and front matter and one page is player handouts and the Open Game License.

Dungeon Crawl Classics #11: The Dragonfiend PactIt starts with background on the town of Welwyn (there’s a mention of a free download from the Goodman Games site providing more information on Welwyn; the site looks to have changed since this adventure was published and the download isn’t obviously available) and the current political situation. A number of methods are provided to get players involved in the adventure, and considerations to what will happen if they can speak with animals – an important consideration.

The town has suffered many thefts of valuables and the characters are asked to investigate. Background is given to the situation, as there are three main parties working together, including the titular fiendish dragonkin, and not all of them are exactly benefiting from the situation.

The adventure is essentially a dungeon crawl in two parts. The first is in full size tunnels, the second, after using some new magical items for reducing size (and some rules on the effects of such are given, is in some rat warrens, where the characters have to face creatures that are now more dangerous because the characters are now much smaller.

Dungeon Crawl Classics #11: The Dragonfiend Pact in Review

The PDF is moderately well bookmarked with the major sections linked and the Table of Contents is too a similar depth. Navigation is adequate but could have been substantially better by linking every encounter. Still, the supplement is short enough that this isn’t a major problem.

The text maintains a two column format and no errors were noticed. There are a number of black and white illustrations within, other than the maps, which may well be stock. Presentation is fine.

The adventure contains a mixture of challenges, both encounters and otherwise. There is a cryptic clue for players to decipher; should a particular group not like such puzzles, it might be an idea to substitute it with a skill test, although such is not suggested.

There are a variety of items that can be found that are really needed to complete the adventure. These have logical reasons for being where they are and are fitted nicely into the adventure, not being the equivalent of having flashing neon signs above them.

Perhaps the biggest problem is in part two, where the characters are reduced in size. Rules are given for changing the characters’ stats in this situation, but this will probably mean having to stop the game to rework the character sheets on the fly; rather inconvenient. The rules are adequate, but a game slower. It might be possible for the GM to work character sheets out ahead of time, assuming that there aren’t significant changes between doing so and the encounters when they are needed, but a better method might have been scaling the creatures’ abilities up, rather than those of the characters down. Such could also be done by the GM, but it might have been a better approach if it was in the module, as it would have reduced prep time.

This is the single largest niggle with the adventure, as published modules are supposed to reduce prep time, not increase it. Other than that, this is a nice, interesting adventure. The ultimate villain is unusual, the secondary villain is a patsy of the first who is also going to benefit and the third villain is really a victim more than anything else. Characters may well be sympathetic to that individual, if they discover more about him.

Dungeon Crawl Classics #11: The Dragonfiend Pact is an interesting and somewhat different dungeon crawl and it can be found by clicking here.

 

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