Saturday, August 30, 2014

Review and Commentary On The Hammers of the God Adventure From Lamentations of the Flame Princess For Your Old School Campaigns


Grab It Right
HERE
I finally got a chance to check out a physical copy of Hammer Of The Gods from James Raggi and the first thing that like is the artwork by Dean Clayton (you can see more of that right HERE ).
The physical copy of this adventure clocks in at thirty six pages but the pdf clocks in at about 86 and this adventure is compatible with most of the major retroclones including Labyrinth Lord and OSRIC.
This is a case where having a pdf on hand could help with maps of this location driven adventure. Ramsey Dow did the interior cartography and it matches the location's moody and foreboding atmosphere of this adventure.
The basic plot hook from Drivethrurpg goes something like this : 
By the Sign of the Hammer!
A mysterious map and a promise treasure to be won are all that are required to set any adventurer worth the name into the wilderness. But sometimes what is found is far more than treasure.
Many that are good and noble will kill to make sure the secrets to be found under the old mountain stay buried. Many that enter the darkness will become beguiled by the splendor of the halls in which they walk, mesmerized by the riches to be found there, never realizing that death follows their every move.
Dwarves never forget a grudge. But what if they hold that grudge against themselves?
Beware the god who has been discarded.
An Adventure For Character Levels 3 – 5
This PDF is A5 size, with the dungeon map being A4 size.
The Drivethru description doesn't even begin to do this adventure justice at all. This is another location based adventure, in this case a Dwarven stronghold. The adventure on the whole might be cast anyplace within an old school campaign. On the whole this adventure has an atmosphere about it that reminds me of John Carpenter's The Thing, the adventurers are treading their way through a place of ancient secrets. The adventure is filled to the brim with lots of well fleshed out descriptions, some nice puzzles, and lots of fiddly bits to keep a party of adventurers busy for quite some time.
 The secrets of the Dwarven stronghold does jump out at the party and instead the plot of the place builds upon itself encounter by encounter. There are plenty of riches and dangers to be had within this adventure for levels 3-5.
This is an adventure that is driven by and suited to the mythic and legendary but with lots of touches of ancient dread in between the pages. This adventure could be worked into a mini campaign and there's plenty of ideas within the pages where this location and its dangerous could be expanded upon.
There's lots of subtly with this adventure and plenty to keep PC's occupied between the pages in this adventure. The encounters are well thought out and balanced for a party while still being pretty damn nasty.
I liked the fact that this adventure is suitable for any number of retroclones systems and it's own take on the traditional OD&D Dwarven trope holds the plot together so well. Plenty of the ideas here are downright interesting and could make PC's never quite see any Dwarf in their campaign setting that this adventure is run in the same again.
And this is both the boon and bane of this adventure. DM will have to ask themselves what the preconceived notions about their own Dwarven races. Personally, I like where the author took this adventure. Plenty of treasure in this adventure but even more atmosphere, danger, dreadful creeping horror in this one if the DM runs it right. 
All in all I was pretty pleased to finally get a look at the physical book of this adventure thanks to Peter the other night. Cheers pal for that. However that being said I would certainly opt for the Pdf so that a DM could print out the maps as the exploration of the stronghold was done.
 Wait till this one goes on sale and then grab it, run it, and let a secret of the Dwarfs finally see the light of day if the adventurers survive this one. 

2 comments:

  1. This is probably my favorite of the LotFP modules. It's heavily influenced by James Raggi's delightful sense of the weird while still cutting closely to the traditional dungeon crawl.

    It's also extremely deadly. I ran it for a party that was doing pretty well. A few NPC's had met terrible fates but they'd made significant inroads into the dungeon and had no PC deaths.

    And then, in an instant, all but two of them died horrible deaths.

    We still laugh about it and the events from that adventure came back to haunt later games.

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  2. Yeah that pretty much sums up my entire experience with this module, it captures Raggi's wickedly weird sense of humor while carving out its own nich in the traditional OSR sphere of things. That's not to say that this one is a 'funhouse' dungeon but that because of its location based themes it has its own sense of the traditional crawl.
    Thanks for the insightful comments on this module. I think its one of the best of the early LotFP game system adventures. There's a lot of potential with this one with the right group.

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