Friday, July 15, 2016

Review & Commentary On The Pay What You Want 'OSR Adventure - Out of Blackest Earth From Svartkonst For Your Old School Campaigns

The people in the town of Uria are disquieted. The graveyard by the church of St. Athanasius has lain abandoned for a lifetime. But although the ground is shrouded by dead leaves and some of the tombs are so dilapidated that bones lie in the open, the townsfolk have kept on visiting their family graves. Lately, however, ghostly apparitions have been seen moving among the sepulchres...
There are times when one needs to get back to basics as I've been talking about on this blog for the past week or so.
Terje Nordin sent me a copy of Out of Blackest Earth two days ago, things at work have be been a bit busy & its only now that I'm getting to this OD&D pay what you want title. So what is Out Of Blackest Earth? Well its a step back into the basics of an OD&D horror adventure with a few twists and turns to it. Amazingly the adventure could be used as a beginning Lamentations of the Flame Princess introduction piece, more on this later on.

Grab It Over Here

 In nine pages you get a horror adventure based location piece with all of the trimmings to get a party of adventurers right into the middle of a weird horror based investigative scenerio. The adventure rings through with several conventions straight out of Lamentations of the Flame Princess's play book these include several nods to old school D&D and LoFP:"OUT OF BLACKEST EARTH is a location based adventure suitable for low level characters. It is designed to be system agnostic and compatible with traditional role-playing games.

This adventure assumes silver standard. If you use gold standard, all treasure should be adjusted accordingly.

The armor classes are given as both descending and ascending values. The ascending values are in brackets.

If you prefer, you can easily use monster stats from a game system of your choice.

This adventure assumes that a single basic saving throw is used. All creatures are assumed to use the same saving throws as a fighter of the same level as their hit dice. If your system of choice has several categories of saving throws, check the categories in order and use the first one which applies to the situation."

This isn't a bad thing in my mind because in nine pages your party is well on its way to dealing with both the undead & a serious horror based adventure crawl. There is a fair bit of action and horror waiting to be sprung onto the party. There are also several twists to the adventure and some of the adventure can be a bit well deadly if stupid decisions are made on the adventurer's part. There are rumors, random encounters, and lots waiting in store for our intrepid heroes. The encounters are balanced and very well done. The descriptions are brief and to the point giving plenty of room for the dungeon master to customize the adventure to their needs.

Descriptions in the adventure are brief and to the point but easily modified to the DM's needs for example;"2. Church
A reliquary hidden in the altar holds the skull of St. Athanasius, a magic item capable of Turning Undead once per encounter. By the western wall there is a fount of holy water. The first PC who drinks the water gains cosmic insights (and 15 seconds to look through the DMs notes). Stairs lead to #8."
The entire adventure we get lots of this sort of descriptions the entire adventure are interconnected and woven through with lots of high handed weirdness throughout. Out of Blackest Earth. There are enough twists to keep the adventure going until the end and keep the players interested.
“OUT OF BLACKEST EARTH” is a haunted graveyard suitable for fledgling adventurers. This adventure is compatible with all OSR clones according to the Drivethrurpg add and on that front I think that this adventure succeeds. There's enough meat here to keep the PC's coming back for more then a few sessions. This adventure is perfect also as a beginning to a Swords & Wizardry horror themed campaign. The twists and turns are more more then enough to not only take your PC's heads but interesting enough to take them into the blacker end of a weird and deadly adventure.The maps that Karl Stjernberg for the adventure were excellent and I think that PC's won't be disappointed. This adventure rates a four out of five and with a little work on the DM's part this could be an excellent OSR memory. All in all not a bad little introductory adventure for an old school or OSR system. 

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