Campaign Review: Skullport Dragon Swindle (Alex Clippinger): 5 Stars
A campaign about generally bad people living in one of the worst cities and serving their own self-interests while circumstantially protecting said terrible city from arguably deserved destruction can be difficult to wrestle with from a roleplaying perspective. In most cases, the party in Skullport: Dragon Swindle will be playing a group of characters ranging from morally gray at best to openly evil at worst.
Alex Clippinger’s Skullport: Dragon Swindle is almost a complete rework of the Dragon Heist campaign to fit the perspective of a “morally ambiguous” party in the underdark. The product is perfectly polished and among the best work the author has released. With dozens of re-imagined and re-flavored encounters to put a twist on the original WD:DH, Alex has taken an already popular campaign and doubled its value and playtime.
Concept. I don’t know if the idea of re-imaging a campaign like this is new or if it’s been done before, but not only is the idea brilliant, in this case the execution is nearly perfect. Now, you can play Dragon Heist if your party is not necessarily aligned towards “the good”. You can also get double the play time if you play through as a good-ish party, and restart and play through as a not-so-goodish party. The amazing thing is, it will be an almost completely different play through experience, though similar. Playing dragon swindle is like watching Link and Shadow Link play through the same module. Same campaign, two different perspectives and play styles.
Production Quality. The production quality looks extremely professional. The writing and prose is superb with near-perfect editing. There is good and thematically relevant artwork but not so much that it uneccessarily pads the work. The layout is extremely efficient, with little wasted space. There is a ton of quality packed in 97 pages. If I had one complaint, it would be that I’m not a big fan of the purple, but that in no way affects quality or readability.
Breadth. The amount of content packed in the product is amazing. Alex Clippinger has thought about every possible way this campaign could be different from Dragon Heist (from factions, to NPCs, to individual rooms and encounters) and helps the DM turn those differences into a completely new narrative.
Encounters. Like Waterdeep, Dragon Swindle follows a series of eight encounters, all of which are expertly crafted and balanced. The season mechanics are similar, but in my opinion better because of the unique way seasons pass in Skullport.
Requirements. You can’t run this without the official Dragon Heist book. You probably already know that, and it’s probably not an issue, but I figured I should mention it anyway.
Evil Play. Regardless of what you think of alignment, Dragon Swindle is intended to be run by parties who are at best morally ambiguous, or at worst, outright evil. This theoretically limits the tables who can play it.
Skullport: Dragon Swindle is an expertly produced Dragon Heist hack that is guaranteed fun for everyone involved. It gets 5 Stars and is a Must Have for anyone who wants to bring some variety into Dragon Heist. You can pick it up by clicking on the picture below.