Module Review: Ransom at Falcon’s Crest (R P Davis): 4 Stars
Bandits have kidnapped the eldest child of one of Timbertown’s prominent citizens, who is secretly being manipulated by shadowy forces. If you bring Evi home alive, your rewards will be great, and your standing in the town will increase. But if you fail…
R P Davis’ Ransom at Falcon’s Crest is a rewardingly difficult module for lower tiered players to test their experience, mettle, and tactics against a group of kidnapping bandits. Involving tactical and social prowess, trope breaking female characters, a bit of mystery, and even a skill challenge, this generally well-done adventure module will offer something for every player and character role.
Layout. As with all of R P Davis’ work, it is professionally edited and laid out. There are no noticeable grammar or spelling issues, the writing style is consistent with the rest of his work, and there is no wasted or crowded space. Particularly nice are the boxes with readable dialogue highlighted in blue text. They move the plot along and allow the DM to better act out the character without having to improvise.
Skill Challenge. Skill challenges are arguable one of the best things about 4e, and though they are compatible with 5e, they are very underused. I was very happy to see one in the module–not only does it bring awareness to the mechanic, but it actually adds a measure of tension and problem solving for the players. If you’re looking to learn more about skill challenges for 5e, check out R P Davis book Skill Challenges in 5e.
Difficulty. This module is not easy: there are multiple instances where the players could die, be thrown in jail, or get an innocent girl killed if they don’t carefully consider their actions. The author states as much: if you’re the type who just hacks and slashes, you will not succeed. I appreciate this challenge as it adds a necessary depth and forethought to the adventure, and maybe it will break a murderhobo or two of their habit.
Characters. With the exception of one or two characters, I greatly enjoyed the NPCs in this adventure. They are described in great detail, have unique elements, present legitimate and believable challenges and interactions to the characters, and usually aren’t just there for fluff. The primary female NPC is trope breaking, though in a relatively common way. In whole, they add a great deal of value to the adventure.
Potential Trigger. This adventure contains a major plot point concerning mental illness which could be triggering to some players. The DM should be responsible in knowing what may trigger players. The adventure is relatively unplayable without this facet, somewhat restricting its appeal, but for groups that can get past this factor, it could add to some great and meaningful roleplay.
Occasionally Slow. There are a few slow spots while reading the adventure, but not while playing it. The background, a few of the descriptions, and the mechanics introduction made me want to quickly skim them. Experienced DMs may be able to get away with skimming these sections, and they shouldn’t affect the enjoyment your players take from this adventure.
Sometimes Confusing. There are a few areas in the adventure that were confusing for me to understand. The map leading to Falcon’s Crest was rotated 90 degrees (with East to the North on a typical map) which lead to a bit of confusion on my part, and I had to read it a few times before understanding.
The last encounter is pretty epic, but there was a lot of NPCs all in one room, and it was hard for me to remember who was whom. Both of these are pretty minor, and based on my individual abilities of comprehension, but still made a difference in the overall quality of the adventure for me.
In Ransom at Falcon’s Crest, R P Davis has crafted an engaging and challenging module that we’re rating Highly Recommended and 4 stars, but suggesting players and DM be relatively experienced. Pick it up by clicking the pic below: