Review: Blackguard’s Revenge & The Iron Crypt of the Heretics

The Blackguard's RevengeThe Dungeon Crawl Classic line has of course become its own RPG and a personal favorite of the owner of the Iron Tavern.  It started though as modules for d20. While I never got the chance to run or play in most of them they are still very much a go to source for adventures for me.  They are usually short and to the point dungeon crawls.  They offer a variety of locations, clever encounters, the occasional trap and riddle, and plenty of danger.  I made it a point to get a copy of each of them, though not all of the special releases and limited titles.

The Blackguard’s Revenge and its sequel The Iron Crypt of the Heretics are the twelfth adventure in the Dungeon Crawl Classic line.  The Iron Crypt of the Heretics is number 12.5 and even though it is by a different author it makes for a good sequel adventure.  They are written by F. Wesley Schneider and Harley Stroh.  Neither is very large the first being forty pages and the sequel being twenty four.  Blackguard’s Revenge is pretty easy to find for under five dollars, but Iron Crypt of the Heretics looks to be harder to find and can go for as much as thirty dollars.  Both are out of print but can be purchased as PDFs for around seven dollars.

The Blackguard’s Revenge is a different kind of dungeon crawl.  It is a rescue mission to aid a group of Paladins in a cloister that is under attack.  There are a few moving parts the GM can have fun with.  There are plenty of different creatures to fight and in this kind of module I usually increase the numbers a little and add or enhance the main bad guy some just to make it a bit more challenging on the PCs.  I also wanted it to feel like time was of the essence so some of the bad guys would purposely try to slow down the PCs so they would be too late in rescuing the Paladins.  This kind of adventure can also raise ethic problems.  There is a good amount of treasure here to be found, but most of it belongs to the cloister, so the PCs can look like the bad guys by looting the place.  My group didn’t care, they were ready to pry gold symbols off the wall and pack up the Holy paintings.  The Paladins when rescued do need the PCs help so there is plenty of reason that the PCs will get rewarded and aided for the next adventure.

The Iron Crypt of the HereticsThe next adventure being the Iron Crypt of the Heretics.  The adventures are written to link together but they do not have to.  They can easily be run separate or with other activities in between. What I like about the Iron Crypt is it is a change of pace.  Where Blackguard’s Revenge is mostly combat and heroics of rescuing Paladins the Iron Crypt takes a slower approach and has a lot more traps, riddles, and puzzles for the PCs to deal with.   It is a challenging module but not so much so that the players get frustrated.  Basically the place has been raided and it let out an army of undead that attacked the Paladins in the first module.  Now the PCs need to break in and reseal the place.  The two modules make for a good back to back series of adventures offering a good variety of encounters and problems.

Blackguard’s Revenge and Iron Crypt are two good modules early in the very successful line of modules.  They are easy to convert to other games and Blackguard’s Revenge even has a 1e version of it that Goodman Games published.

Chris Gath.  I’ve been gaming since 1980 playing all kinds of games since then.  In the past year I’ve run Pathfinder, Dungeon Crawl Classic, Paranoia, and Mini d6.  My current campaign is mini d6 and we are using that for a modern supernatural conspiracy investigative game.  On some forums I’m known as Crothian and I’ve written a few hundred reviews though I took a sabbatical from reviewing for a few years as it burnt me out.  I was also an judge for the Gen Con awards (ENnies) six times.  Jeff, the owner of this blog, is one of my players and a good friend.