Saturday, December 16, 2017

Battles, Blood, & The Adventure of AD&D 1st Edition's TSR U.K.3 The Gauntlet By Graeme Morris For Your Old School Campaigns

Indomitable it stood for centuries, a symbol of order in a world of chaos. Bastion of the pass through the Kamph Mountains, the very stones of the Keep of Adlerweg were the stuff of legends. What evil power had strength enough to take it? How were its defenses swept aside?
Fell creatures now attend the battlements that overlook the only pass between Berghof and the sea.
This is not a pretty problem to be solved by the militia of the local villages. These and more may be needed to withstand the mayhem stirred up by the fall of the keep. Indeed, if the Keep is not retaken, and retaken soon, the Hold of the Sea Princes itself may not be secure.
Now is the time for heroic action. Aided by the Sentinel, former protector of the legendary Guardians of Adlerweg, have you the courage and the determination to rid the keep of its sinister occupants?
For characters level 3-6.

UK3 The Gauntlet by Graeme Morris is a strong punch in the face follow up to his adventure  U.K.2 The Sentinel & its a mean little adventure. U.K.3 was the follow up adventure at the  GamesFair 1983 AD&D Open which was won by a Runequest fan. Written by Graeme Morris UK3 The Gauntlet offers many of the qualities that made the U.K. series memorable & solid including solid pacing, weird Celticcentic wilderness encounters but it suffers from being more then a bit more adventure plot heavy. This is because the adventure is. Why because this adventure is war, the bloody brutal war of mythology on a scale that the Fiend Folio implies. This one delivers.

We get lots of details about the Hold of The Sea Kings of Greyhawk & this DMing the U.K. 3 adventure takes a very steady hand on the DM's part. Remember this was a competition module, the encounters seem to of a much higher brutality level then normal because they are. There are lots of details about the defenses
on the defenses of Adlerweg Keep. The Gauntlet keeps its battle guidelines along with U.K. 2 The Sentinel tight & neat something that I'd wished that other TSR adventures had done. Used together these two adventures are excellent. Uk3 The Gauntlet uses the Fiend Folio throughout the adventure in the best way possible. It showcases the monsters in creative & solidly deadly ways. Again this is something that I'd wished other adventures of the old school had done. My love for the Fiend Folio & early White Dwarf magazine era monsters is well known. This adventure is where we see them at their fullest. We get the full range of FF monsters including: blood hawks, ettercaps, a forlarren, an ogrillion, a revenant, skulks, a volt, & much more I don't want to spoil the surprise.

"UK3 The Gauntlet is a 32-page book with an outer folder that was written by Graeme Morris and published by TSR, Inc. in 1984 for the first edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons rules."  The above comes straight out of the wiki entry & presents one of the unique challenges of rolling UK3 The Gauntlet into a retrolclone gaming system & setting . Those with OSRIC or Labyrinth Lord Advanced won't have any issues per say except when it comes to presenting the battles, & plots of the modules.
UK 2  The Sentinel & UK3 The Gauntlet in Dark Albion then things are going to be interesting. Because in my mind your going to be looking at the last gasps of the legacy of Fairy & the Elves as two powers from the time of the domination of  Dark Europe reach into the present. The fact is the planar tapestry of Europe is going to look like cheese cloth because the threat presented by Chaos is going to be huge. These two modules taken together represent a change up in the campaign settings  of Europe as a whole. Who could  the Hold of the Sea Princes belong to in Dark Albion? Well for that we reach deep into Celtic mythology and bring back the Princes of Lyonesse.Now the events of U.K. 2 & 3 have a point & bloody purpose as the Guardians of Adlerweg come straight out legend & occult myth to provide the DM with all he needs to bring these adventures into Dark Albion.
For Lamentations of the Flame Princess 
UK3 The Gauntlet is perfectly aligned as a major incursion of the supernatural in Europe during the time of the civil war of England Upturn'd. The factions of that module might be bringing 'things from outside' and the results reach way back into the bloody occult traditions of the U.K. There are going to be a lot of witch burnings after the events of U.K. 2 & 3. You could be looking at the PC's fleeing for their lives. The English church could form groups of witch hunters to track them down & kill them.

When it comes to Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea second edition.
UK 2  The Sentinel & UK3 The Gauntlet have to be placed within the lands of the Keltic tribes, & the Picts. They offer a rather unique set of myths & legends which line up in a bit of a puzzle piece fashion with the ideas & backgrounds of Robert E. Howard & many of the Lovecraft circle of writers. But it is far better to reach deep into the well of Celtic & English folklore for many of the more pulpy aspects of these two modules. The threat of Fairyland here is made quite clear that the threats presented in U.K. 2 & 3 are not only alive and well but taking aim straight at the heart of Hyperborea. Here the Hold of the Sea Princes should be its own area of Hyperborea with its uniquely U.K. TSR Fiend Folio monsters!
 For many U.K. Dungeon masters
UK3 The Gauntlet represents some of the best of the best of the writing & wyrdness of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons adventures of the time period. These are wickly nasty adventures where only the brave shall triumph and weak will be left as pickings for other adventurers.


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