Danger in the Air
2020 Free RPG Day Module for the Dungeon Crawl Classics Roleplaying Game
Author: Michael Curtis
Publisher: Goodman Games
Page Count: 11
Available Formats: Print
Print – Free
A group of simple villagers discovers a strange creature floating over their home. The immense winged jellyfish-like monster slowly drifts on the light, intermittent breeze dragging long, heavy tentacles that leave ruts in verdant fields. In its wake, for three days now, globs of gooey material laden with treasure have been found in nearby fields. Staring up at the strange creature, observers can see into the strange semi-translucent bell-like body; a rigid structure can be seen. The creature appears lifeless as it listlessly drifts; locals can easily keep pace with it as it lazily moves on the breeze. Enticed by the prospects of treasure, the PCs have their work cut out for them. Climb tentacles, enter a slow floating creature with a structure inside its body, raid it for treasure, exit, and become rich! What could go wrong?
“Danger in the Air” is written by Michael Curtis, a veteran writer with many credits to his name. The adventure is a 0-level funnel easily playable in a single session by three or four players, each playing four 0-level would-be heroes. If you are unfamiliar with funnel adventures, they allow players to play four 0-level characters striving to find fame and fortune. Although many of these would-be adventures will not survive, a few particularly brave, bold, and possibly foolish will survive the funnel. Of these, only a few will continue on to become 1st-level characters and go on to other adventures. Funnels, in my opinion, are one of the great experiences of Dungeon Crawl Classics.
The scenario offers characters exciting opportunities and interesting challenges that are sure to cull the herd. There is enough substance to the plot of this little mini-dungeon crawl to engage both new and veteran players alike. Depending on the characters’ actions, “Danger in the Air” is well-positioned as a springboard for a larger campaign.
“Danger in the Air” is nicely laid out and richly illustrated as one would expect for a DCC module, even a free one. The illustrations capture the feel of this adventure, and while I have not hunted for Easter eggs yet, I am sure there are one or two in there somewhere. Unlike other DCC modules, the map does not have bordering artwork, which is good. While beautifully embellishing a map, that artwork often gives hints and clues that keen players can pick up on.
Like all funnel adventures, “Danger in the Air” lacks pre-generated 0-level characters. However, New Judges and players should not fret over this. Characters can be easily created using the Dungeon Crawl Classics core book or can be generated with a few mouse clicks at the Purple Sorcerer Games website, to which there is a convenient QR code at the front of the module.
I have a few quibbles about the scenario’s presentation, not the content itself. It feels as if it was rushed through in places and not up to the usual Goodman Games standards. Several instances of language are hard to parse, and a few errors should have been caught in either editing or proofreading. For example, one referring to the results of a save states, “on a success… and on a success…”. While beautiful, the map has two artistic errors also hinting at a rush job. First, there are two rooms labeled 1-9; the second instance should be marked 1-10, and the next room should be labeled 1-11, aligning with the module text. Second, there is an extra (fifth) bulbous protrusion in room 1-5, where there should only be four. Finally, while not an error, the map also has a scale indicator stating each grid square equals 5 feet. However, the map does not use a grid.
At The Table
I had the pleasure of running “Danger in the Air” for a group of four players representing a mix of DCC player experiences. Our game ran for five hours over Roll20. Being the first time running this particular module and the first time running DCC after a long hiatus, I am not surprised at the time it took to play out. I suspect it can be finished in four hours on average.
All the players enjoyed the scenario, finding the story compelling enough to keep pushing forward. In the end, they wanted to see what was next for their characters, but as this was a one-shot, I had to burst their bubble this time.
Each year Goodman Games participates in the Free RPG Day program—providing Dungeon Crawl Classics (DCC) and Dungeon & Dragons 5e modules to the mix. And each year, Goodman Games brings their “A” game to these free products. This year is no exception.
“Danger in the Air” is a well-written and nicely conceived scenario from a veteran writer. Michael Curtis nails it providing a fun and exciting yet appropriately challenging funnel experience. As funnels are designed to cull inferior characters, they are a fun and fantastic way for new players to experience DCC. Furthermore, “Danger in the Air” makes for a great campaign starter that is sure to please some of the more surly veteran players out there.
I am making plans and look forward to getting “Danger in the Air” onto both the physical and digital tables again in the coming weeks. According to Goodman Games, the digital version will be available in late July. You would do well to grab a copy then or hold out for a physical copy when Goodman Games makes them available through their website after GenCon. If you are fortunate enough to be at GenCon, and they are available there, grab a copy!
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