-== What is it? ==-
Dungeon Crawl Classics #5 – Aerie Of The Crow God (DCC#5) is an old school D20 adventure for characters from levels 7 to 9. It was written by Andrew Hind and is published by Goodman Games as part of their Dungeon Crawl Classics series of adventures.
I have purchased print and PDF copies of the revised version of the product. (To be specific I am reviewing SKU GMG5004R.) The revised version includes a follow on adventure called Seed Of Evil and updated stats for D20. Both the print and PDF copies will be reviewed as part of this article. There are some spoilers in this review so stop reading here if that is a concern.
The book has color covers and an entirely black and white interior. It is 8.5? x 11? and is 64 pages in length. There is a 1 page table of contents and a half page OGL statement but the rest is content. I have converted the adventure to Fantasy Hero and run it for a group of players as part of my ongoing Spirit Storm campaign. Please keep the fact that I have not run the adventure using D20 in mind when reading this review.
-== What I Like ==-
The thing I like most about DCC#5 are the encounters. Each encounter is different but they hang together on a strong theme. The theme involves the invasion of a powerful forge by an evil crow goddess and her minions. The characters must scale a desolate rocky island to gain access to a tower then a hidden temple. Encounters are scattered along the ascent, in the tower, and in the temple. The temple encounters are my favorite as they vary in flavor and type of opponent.
DCC#5 was a perfect fit for my campaign. It required little to no rewrites for me to use the encounters as they are laid out in the module. I needed a raven themed big baddie with a magical forge…um…needless to say I was shocked when I discovered DCC#5. That said I do think this adventure could be easily adjusted to fit any campaign. The basic themes are ones that are not hard to integrate into any story and the adventure does provided several hooks for the GM.
Front and back cover artwork by Chuck Whelon and Brad McDevitt respectively are not great but the interior work is actually quite good. Interior pieces were done by Jason Edwards, Brad McDevitt, Stefan Poag, and Brian Tarsis. The maps are good except for the tower map. I had trouble figuring out how the tower levels connected and was forced to draw pencil arrows as aids.
-== What I Don’t Like ==-
One aspect of the story for DCC#5 is around a collection of intelligent weapons. I did not like that part of the story as it does not fit my campaign world too well and the PC were not ready for items like these to appear. The good news is that this is not fundamental to the plot and I did not have a problem removing them entirely.
Although I did not run Seed Of Evil it did not feel as polished after reading Aerie Of The Crow God. As a follow on to Aerie Of The Crow God it might be fine. There was also an extra dimensional aspect to the adventure that is not to my taste. If you are hip to running adventures where part of the dungeon is in another dimension then it might work just fine.
One minor issue with the modules is that they could have picked different things for player handouts. For example, one of the handouts is a stack of skulls. There is nothing special about it at all. Why the handout? There are several handouts that struck me in the same fashion. I would have much rather had a handout of the cool chain shrouded ghast encounter!
The PDF copy of DCC#5 has a few broken links to the maps for Seed Of Evil but other than that it worked great for me. Note that I contacted Goodman Games about the issue and they fixed it almost immediately.
-== Summary ==-
DCC#5 was a 2004 ENnie nominee for Best Adventure and I think it deserved it. The encounters and theme are very strong and the adventure can easily be molded into most campaigns. The price point is also wonderful at $7 to $9. Cheap and fun…what else do you want!?!
You can get a copy of the module from DriveThruRPG at this URL for $8.99. Goodman Games OFTEN has sales on DriveThruRPG so if you wait and watch you could probably score a copy even cheaper. Noble Knight has copies at this URL for $7.95. Several sellers have the module for sale at Amazon for around $6 at this URL.
I give it 8 out of 10 paws.