Crafty Games has released the latest adventure for Fantasy Craft, their D20/OGL derived fantasy RPG. Not only is this adventure supported by an audio soundtrack and set terrain pieces, it’s been optimized to run in one or two game sessions (or one convention time slot). It’s got wyverns, goblins, cultists and a demon, plus the eponymous keep.
The Cleansing of Black Spur is a tightly focused adventure that carries the party from a violent roadside encounter into some religious intrigue straight out of a Dan Brown novel (The Mordenkainen Code?). It isn’t really a sleuth sort of adventure, though — there’s an abandoned keep to clear out, some evil brainwashed cultists, and an uneasy alliance with some goblins who, for once, are way ahead of the adventurers in terms of knowing what the heck is going on. It all wraps up with a climactic boss fight that will probably leave at least a few party members smeared all over the crumbling stones of Black Spur Keep.
While the adventure itself is cool, I obviously can’t talk about in too much detail for fear of spoiling more than I already have. What does stand out, however, is the approach the designers have taken. This is written from a very DM-centric point of view. This might seem like common sense — it’s an adventure module, after all — but so many published adventures forget this. A lot of practical, table-level information is presented to the DM, such as how long the whole adventure will take, how long each encounter will take, and the general path the characters will follow through the adventure.
Key information is repeated with each encounter. When you’re just reading through the text, at first it seems weird. Why is the stat block and description for the wyverns reprinted word for word? But when you consider it as a DM running the adventure, the worst thing in the world is flipping back and forth from the current encounter and the one where those stats were first printed. For this reason, NPCs and monsters are outlined at the beginning and repeated where necessary.
Also very cool is the collaboration between Crafty Games and a couple of third parties who add atmosphere and flavor to the adventure. If you’re looking to really round out the whole Black Spur experience, first head over to Sonic-Legends.com, where you can acquire a series of looped orchestral tracks designed to go along with the action in this adventure. Then, go to Fat Dragon Games and check out their EZ Dungeon Deluxe, Borderland Keep and Copper Dragon Forest papercraft terrain sets. Then you’ll have everything you need to run a rich (and rather challenging) Fantasy Craft adventure.