Monday, July 21, 2014

Review and Commentary On Beneath the Ruins (Psychedelic Fantasies #1) From Geoffrey McKinney For Your Old School Science Fantasy Campaigns

Grab It Right Over
This is the first in the line of Psychadellic Fantasies adventures and its sort of like Robert Howard's Red Nails on crack in a good old school sort of way. The ten page adventure really shows the direction that Geoffrey McKinney  wanted to take with this line of adventures. There's a single level and two sub levels to this one. The encounters are very old school and might work well with an Arduin style of OD&D game play but any retroclone rules set should work well with this one. The play here is balanced but very much in a science fantasy vein. I loved the no frills take on these adventures so far. They hearken back to a time of shag carpeting, lava lamps, and crayons for your basic D&D games.
This is the first in a series of location based adventures and with a bit of imagination, I can see dropping this set right into any place from the post apocalptytic wasteland to Carcosa outback . Everything about this adventure has quick insert into the mid part of a campaign to really liven the action up.  
The Blurb From DrivethruRpg : 
Beneath the Ruins is for low-level adventurers. It is a single level (with two sub-levels) of the author's larger dungeon of Kihago. Never fear! This level is 100% complete as-is, but I hope we can convince Alex to submit further levels of Kihago. This particular level is dominated by two factions. Dull players will try to wipe them all out, and will find themselves on the short end of the stick. Smart players will befriend one or both factions, and then play one against the other.
The dungeon is weird. It has a lot of, dare I say it, psychedelic environments to explore. That is pretty much what the module is: A bizarre, site-based adventure that the players can explore simply because it is there.
Using Beneath The Ruins For Your Old School Campaigns

This is a pure site based adventure and there for can easily be stuck into the wastes of any old school game but because of the nature of the rooms, encounters, monsters, etc. most of this adventure comes under the science fantasy banner. This isn't a bad thing in my humble opinion. I can easily see using this adventure in the vein of Lamentations of the Flame Princess or the Carcosa setting. Blend it into the Unknown Island for a expansion of that book seamlessly for more thrills.
The fact is that this adventure  is really right along the lines of some of the more gonzo aspects of Mutant Future and could be used as part of a more adult Heavy Metal style of Thundarr adventures. This adventure could be used as part of a series of psychedelic mini campaign games.
There are several hooks and lures throughout the adventure for added play and more fun if the party wishes to go further afield and that's a nice plus in my book.
This location could also be used as part of a failed colony on some other forgotten world for X plorers or one of the other science fiction retroclones but the science fantasy would have to be turned up.
All in all this isn't a bad little adventure and its on sale for 2.00 and something with Drivethrurpg's sale. I liked the no frills element of this adventure and the ideas within. 

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