DMs Guild Review – Flight of the Magpies

An airship heist mini-adventure for level 3, set in Eberron.

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A review copy of “Flight of the Magpies: An Eberron Adventure” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using affiliate links for shopping and pledging via Patreon.

Designed by: Marco Michelutto

I’ve recently fallen in love with Eberron’s arcanepunk, industrialized setting and pulpy adventures. Flight of the Magpiesintriguing mid-air infiltration of an airship makes for a solid introductory one-shot, or mini-adventure in a larger campaign, though it stumbles in its execution.

The 28-page adventure features a unique layout and presentation. Though it uses a plain white background, every page is splashed with colorful art and multiple sidebars, creating an attractive, pleasing look that’s easy to read and digest.

The adventure begins with the party already aboard an airship working for the Magpies, a never-say-die mercenary company. The En Media Res intro would work well for a time-conscious one-shot, and the Magpies are a fun bunch, even if there’s only three of them.

The Magpies have hired a trio of Aarakocra to extract a target from another airship – but they don’t know which one. The PCs are hired to set down in the high-class resort city of Stormhome to get the intel.

The setup is a fantastic introduction to a classic heist plot. Unfortunately Stormhome is little more than a series of carnival mini-games. The NPC airship guards the party are after simply show up at whichever game the players decide to engage in, with some notes on their motivations.

The primary structure in chapter two is to let the players have fun and get the information they need by whatever means they wish. I was hoping for something much more elaborate, detailed, and interesting. Not necessarily with the complexity of something like Ocean’s 11, but something more than instantly bumping into your target and quickly getting what you need out of them.

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In chapter three the party returns to the Magpies, and discovers the aarakocra are too hungover to perform the mission. In a fun (if obvious) twist, the party is sent over to the airship via mid-air zipline to infiltrate the Golden Goose.

The Golden Goose has a lot going for it, including a cargo hold full of dangerous animals, a guard room with some nice loot, and a restaurant where the party could engage in some fun role-playing using their given disguises.

There aren’t any maps of the airship, however, and it’s designed very linearly, with each room leading directly to another. The airship heist is little more than a linear dungeon crawl.

Part of the fun of the heist is The Plan – deciding what everyone’s going to do, where to go, and how things invariably go wrong. The PCs aren’t given any chance to plan or make decisions, instead going room-to-room dealing with sleeping guards or berserk apes.

It’s interesting that chapters two and three suffer from opposite issues. Chapter two is far too open-ended, and chapter three is annoyingly linear. Despite my structural complaints, the content is very high quality. The adventure features plenty of opportunity for role-playing, stealth, and combat, and I can’t think of too many scenarios that best show off what Eberron has to offer than an airship heist.

Pros:

  • Unique format and attractive design with lots of artwork.
  • Fun NPCs, and plenty of opportunity for role-playing.
  • Works well as an Eberron highlight-reel one-shot, or as a mission in a larger campaign.

Cons:

  • No maps.
  • Chapter 2 is largely inconsequential.
  • The heist becomes a linear dungeon crawl.

The Verdict: The airship heist in Flight of the MAgpies is brimming with cool ideas and interesting settings, but hampered by a linear structure and lack of maps.

A review copy of “Flight of the Magpies: An Eberron Adventure” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using affiliate links for shopping and pledging via Patreon.

Author: roguewatson

Freelance Writer

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