Sunday, June 18, 2017

OSR Commentary & Review Of The 'Pay What You Want' Adventure HS3 Incursion of the Chain Devils For Your Old School Campaigns

Three nights ago, strange lights and screams were heard from the local temple of Ishtar. Grotesque humanoids, wearing tattered clothes and wrapped with chains, emerged from the very walls, causing murder and mayhem within.

Can the PCs save the temple of Ishtar from the incursion of the chain devils?
I'm always on the look out for another Sword & Sorcery old school style title, so I began to look around Drivethrurpg. Generally this is a dangerous thing to do but there are few 'pay what you' want titles that caught my eye. Incursion of the Chained Devils is one of those weird titles that you don't usually come across but this time I listened to the little voice that said, 'Grab it'. This is a weird & interesting little beast of an adventure that hearkens back to something I would have snatched up as a twenty year old dungeon master.
"H3 Incursion of the Chain Devils is a module for 4-8 characters levels 5th to 7th using the first edition advanced rules"
This is an expansive & sprawling module with a sword & sorcery horror adventure aspect to it. To be honest about it, I was quite happy to come across this one on a Sunday night. This adventure only clocks in at about eighteen pages but its a really nice change up from the investigative adventures I've been running into lately.
Its a really nicely put together module that has more in common with a Conan novella like Red Nails & Eighties horror classic Hellraiser by Clive Barker. This is a module that you can drag & drop right into your existing campaign world such as Hyperborea. It won't make a ripple in the local campaign world & its been designed & written that way; "Much of this depends on where you locate the Temple. If you locate it in the wilderness, you could have the PCs stumble upon it and decide to simply
loot it.
You might simply drop it into an existing city in your world. If you do this before you plan on running the adventure, the PCs might go and visit the temple, either for healing or to enjoy themselves. Then when the temple gets invaded, they might wish to go to the rescue simply because they know the
people there and wish to help. The PCs might also be hired by a fleeing priestess. They might get a vision from the goddess herself. They might also be in the need of clerical henchmen and decided that rescuing some would be a great way to recruit."  What I love about Jeremy Reaban's stuff is that he doesn't screw around with his adventures right in the description there's a focus on his OSR sources & where he's gotten material for his adventures;"As with previous entries in the HS line, the focus is firmly on combat. There are 20 rooms and likely 8-10 encounters. Most of the monsters are backward converted from third edition and full write ups are provided."
The material here in HS3 is balanced, deadly, & will kill more then a few PC's before they navigate & solve its mysteries. Its made to do exactly what it says on the tin. There are new monsters, some interesting encounters, and everything is geared to be DYI D&D friendly. So in case you haven't noticed this is right up in my wheel house, you've got a lost temple out in the middle of the desert wastelands which could be placed in the Diamond Desert in AS&SH. There is a ton of pulpy monsters in this one & a fully fleshed out adventure location which makes this really nice adventure to add into the back end of B4 The Lost City.
In fact the temple in HS3 Incusion of the Chain Devils could be another above ground section of the ruin's environs from B4. There's no reason why another cut off section of the city from that classic module. What I'm saying here is that
HS3 Incusion of the Chain Devils is modular enough and packed into its own niche so that it can be used with other old school products with little effort.

Things in HS3 Incursion of the Chain Devils are keyed to bring PC's right into the middle of the action. The cenobite like ' kytons' are original enough to make a lasting impression on a group of AD&D players and weird enough to actually be usable in a one shot adventure that will last several sessions. There are several factors to keep in mind when running HS3 Incursion of the Chain Devils:
  1. This is a straight up adventure with a few twists & turns that challenges, maimes, & the monsters will aim to destroy PC's. 
  2. The loot is well laid out in the adventure & PC's greed could get a party killed. 
  3. There are bunch of band new monsters that have the potential to be used outside of HS3 for cults, NPC's or to create your own Lovecraftian cult of lust & depravity.

Infact this adventure could serve as a bridge gap adventure location for say AS&SH Ghost Ship of the Desert Dunes & B4 The Lost City. The temple location has enough going on to allow a DM to place it when & where they want it in the creeping sands of their old school wastelands.

So what does HS3 Incursion of the Chain Devils mean in terms of a sword & sorcery adventure? It puts the infernal right into the PC's laps & turns up the old school heat. This adventure doesn't dance around encounters with devils. Those are front & center right in the middle of the whole affair. This means that not only is there the lost temple but the focus is right on the black sorcery aspect right away. But does this mean I like
HS3 Incursion of the Chain Devils? No because I love it. This is an adventure that puts the combat front & center, magic weapons are a must not the except. There's no hidden agenda here, no mid adventure switch around or anything special to complicate matters. This is straight up monster fight and a deadly sword & sorcery romp.

Ten Ways To Make HS3 Incursion of the Chain Devils Work For You

  1. Add in the cult of the Chain Devils into your home setting to foreshadow this adventure but have them much weaker NPC's to lull the players into a false sense of security. 
  2. Add in HS3 Incursion of the Chain Devils to a post apocalyptic wasteland for a novel and very dangerous adventure location. 
  3. Have hints of the corruption of the temple featured in this adventure in other places. Weird weather, diabolic influence, and much more. 
  4. Add in the temple as a part of the regular home play to help bring a sense of unity for your old school campaigns. 
  5. Monsters make the adventure and there's some new ones that need plenty of air time for PC's. Add or subtract as you desire. 
  6. Rumors of the temple's corruption should be rumors in every place the PC's hang out. 
  7. Place a relic or minor artifact to lure in PC's. They're numerous way's to incorporate the treasure as a part of the lure. 
  8. The PC's are going to have some semi permanent brain damage encountering this latest devils in this adventure. 
  9. There's more to the story of the chain devils featured in this adventure enabling DM's to fully customize their background as needed. 
  10. Exploit the hell out of the temple before the adventure begins. Have it be healing point, a port in the storm of adventuring, a safe house, etc. This gives the temple traction when the PC's are needed in HS3.

HS3 Incursion of the Chain Devils Right HERE 

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