Goodman Games may be one of the greatest publishers of d20 adventures. Their ?throwback? dungeon crawls are quickly becoming things of legend among gamers, presenting great adventures at reasonable prices, especially factoring in their PDF market. [I]The Dragonfiend Pact[/I], by Chris Doyle is certainly one of those adventures that will be an excellent addition to any GM?s collection. The fact that it can be purchased in PDF format for $2.00; this is a ?must buy.?
One of the greatest things about [I]The Dragonfiend Pact[/I] (like many of the Goodman Games adventures) is the fact that it can be dropped into any campaign with such a minimal amount of effort with only the need to change some of the names and places to make it seem like it fights right into one of the GM?s campaigns.
In [I]The Dragonfiend Pact [/I] the PCs find themselves in the middle of a mystery. They must find out who is stealing treasure from a small town and find out how are the culprits smuggling the ill-gotten gains out of the town even though the town is under tight security. In addition to solving the crime, getting down and dirty (quite literally, actually), there is some political intrigue, some unusual characters and even the chance for romance. Naturally, the GM can add or subtract any of these if they wish, but there is certainly enough available for the GM to provide a few nights worth of entertainment.
Without giving too much of the plotline away, the basic premise of the adventure involves tracking down the perpetrators of a crime at the bequest of the young, na?ve and attractive mayoress of a small village. The adventure takes the characters underground and through a network of caverns to discover and confront the mysterious criminals. In classic ?dungeon crawl? format, most of the excitement takes place in a series of encounters, all culminating in a fun and memorable adventure. Whether the GM and the players are the ?beer & pretzels? crowd or the serious hardcore types, there is certainly something for everyone to love.
One of the specific things I found endearing about this product (and it can be said for almost any of Goodman Games? products) is the ?throwback? feel. I admit it. I?m getting old. At age 31, I can look back fondly on the old 1st edition [I]Advanced Dungeons & Dragons[/I] and remember how much fun I had and adventures like [I]The Dragonfiend Pact [/I] brought it all back. The style of the writing, the Erol Otis style of art (by Jason Edwards and Brad McDevitt) and the exciting sense of adventure, all allow me to reminisce. Any of you who remember (as I do), many Saturdays spent playing [I]AD&D[/I] until as long as my parents let me, know exactly what I am talking about.
Overall [I]The Dragonfiend Pact[/I] is a solid adventure because the writing is well organized, the plot is clever but not overly complicated and the GM has the freedom to make changes to the plot without really affecting the integrity of the adventure. Certainly, it is not the most brilliant piece ever written but I can certainly say that it is better than many adventures being published, these days.
Another thing that impressed me involved the way that the characters become involved with the adventure. Many adventures make a draconian attempt to force characters to become involved (the king orders them, someone tricks them, etc.) Much like the great adventures of the early 1980?s, the plot is straightforward, giving the characters the ability to control their own destiny. More often than not, players are fully aware of when they are being railroaded and I can promise that most players resent it.
[I]The Dragonfiend Pact[/I] is really the kind of adventure that most companies should emulate when trying to put together their own adventure. With the PDF market as open and successful as it is, more people should take advantage of producing adventures of such high quality with low production costs. Gamers and companies could both benefit equally. As I said, whereas there is nothing brilliant or groundbreaking bout [I]The Dragonfiend Pact[/I], there is a subtle dignity involved with how it creates its? story and can provide entertainment for the group with minimal preparation by the GM.
I give this a 4 out of 5. <br><br><b>LIKED</b>: Playability and excitement.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: It would have been nice to have had some more unusual monsters or maybe even a puzzle or a trap.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>