The fourth installment of PDG’s excellent Campaign Elements-series fort the Dungeon Crawl Classics-rule-set is 13 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 11 pages of content, so let’s take a look, shall we?
This being a review of an adventure-locale, this review contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion.
Still here? All right! Gryffon Keep was once famous…now, it is only a fabled ruin in the forest and Sir Amoral’s ghost still lingers – and with him, his 7 deadly skills, which can be learned, though they come with a price, a geas and a prohibition of teaching them – which is necessary, since they offer some rather cool unique tricks to pull off in combat – mechanically sound in the DCC-rule-set one and all, they are worthy of great fighters – and PCs will have to prove their mettle by slaying certain creatures to learn the skills:
A horned, tattooed female (with a glorious artwork), a two-headed wolf, a faceless gray horror (again, depicted with an original, awesome b/w-artwork), a draconic scorpion, a Tabattax marshall (7 foot tiger-like, winged humanoid, in case you didn’t know) and finally, a beholder-like creature straight from hell – one adversary per skill. The lavishly detailed keep and its sense of antiquity and inhabitants should provide further challenges and particular suicidal characters may wish to challenge even Sir Amoral’s spirit – an unwise decision, but we all know how players are sometimes…
As always, advice for getting even more out of the location is provided within these pages, providing more hooks beyond the learning of the skills and the exploration of the ruin.
Editing and formatting re top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to PDG’s printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes with some beautiful original b/w-artworks and the pdf comes bookmarked for your convenience. The cartography in b/w is also neat indeed.
Author Daniel J. Bishop puts a different focus on this particular installment -offering unique things to do for martial characters as incentives, the set-up is both challenging and cool and the duels per se work well with the DCC-rules without being boring for the bystanders. Also flavor-wise, we get something different in a clear step away from the weird style and ideas we’ve seen in earlier installments of the CE-series – and while a change of pace and style towards something a tad (if not much) more conventional is appreciated, personally, I’m all in for the weird. Also, unlike the last installment, we don’t get sample scenarios, which I tremendously enjoyed. That being said, this STILL is a great supplement and one that enterprising DMs can use to scavenge the skills towards respective representations in their rules-systems – these skills can be seen as EXTREMELY exclusive feats that cannot be gained by any other way – achievement benefits, if you will – and I really like that idea and its execution. Still, when compared to the superb third installment, this one feels weaker, if only by a margin, remaining an excellent purchase and clocking in at 5 stars, but missing my seal of approval.