Fritz Leiber’s Lankhmar stories are so delightful because they mix fortune and folly. Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser tend to gain fortunes thanks to the folly of others, and promptly lose them again, thanks to their own. This was a difficult experience to capture in the framing of D&D’s version of the City of the Black Toga. How will Dungeon Crawl Classics fare?

This is Gang Lords of Lankhmar (2018), the first DCC Lankhmar module (spinning out of the Lankhmar campaign setting box, which I covered way back in November of 2021). The framework is simple. One neighborhood gang — the Knife Twisters, in their fortified tenement — wants to be the ONLY neighborhood gang, and hires the PCs to help muscle out the Pimp Street Scuttlers (who lair in the sewers) and the Forty Owlets (who have a rooftop tent city). The adventure begins with the players acting at the behest of the leader of the Knives, but things soon get out of hand and that idiot gets himself killed, leaving the rest of the gang to elect the PC’s the new boss(es). A true Lankhmar success story, going from rags to somewhat nicer rags! What happens next is entirely up to the players, who might wisely decide to take what gold they can find and skedaddle to another, less pointy neighborhood.

A solid start to the adventure line, I think, with nice art throughout (Doug Kovacs on the cover, a suite of Goodman regulars inside). I particularly like the inclusion of the Neighborhood Tension mechanic, which gauges non-gang patience and introduces new potential problems from the Thieves Guild and the Watch as violence increases.

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