October is Halloween for the kids but many of us OSR guys we know that's the prelude to the Sword & Sorcery OSR campaign time during the long Winter months. With the Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea mega Kickstater going off,"New Kickstarter campaign launching on Halloween! Four new products for Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea; Hyperborea Players' Manual, Hyperborea Player Character Folder, Hyperborea Referee's Screen, Rats in the Walls and Other Peril". Jeffrey Talanian let the cat slip out of the bag about twenty hours ago on G+ & other social media. What does this have to do with the O edition version of Tomb of the Iron God for Swords & Wizardry?!
Quite bit actually. First of all I had three tons of messages & what not about the fact of why hadn't there been any announcement about The World of Jordoba?! Matt Finch was streaming actual play episodes on Youtube & Twitch. . Go here for the YouTube Playlist of the series.
Again the layout here reminds me of a 70's Sword & Sorcery comic book ala Marvel's Conan or DC's various Sword & Sorcery titles. This is done with exactly the idea of putting spot light on the PC's as they are moved into adventure's central point on for the adventure. The Tomb of the Iron God does this right out the gate with mechanical timing;
"For centuries, nearby hillfolk have brought their dead to the Tomb of the Iron God, a
largely-forgotten minor deity of the underworld who guards the spirits and bodies of the
dead. A community of monks has maintained an ancient temple above the god's sacred underground catacombs since before recorded history,performing funeral rites and bringing bodies below to rest in
the Iron God's protection."
"However, the monks of the temple became corrupt and venal, and under the leadership of one monk, Ardarus, they began accumulating treasure and secretly raising an army of undead to take control of the
villages surrounding the Monastery. About a month before the adventure begins,the High Priest, who remained loyal to the Iron God's true commands, denounced the renegade monks and ordered
them to bring Ardarus before the statue of the Iron God for judgment. Furious, Ardarus
took and imprisoned him, seizing control of the temple to declare himself high priest. But
On the very night the high priest died of starvation, the Iron God visited a terrible vengeance upon these disloyal servitors.
Lightning struck from the heavens, lighting the dark skies for hours as every building of the temple complex was blasted from existence. The renegade monks were transformed into statues of living iron, still
conscious but trapped in their almost-immobile bodies for all eternity. The subterranean catacombs under the temple still remain, filled with the treasures accumulated by the avaricious monks. The god, also, remains living within his great Idol in the Sacred Catacombs where he guards the dead entrusted to him. One other being remains as well, an immortal evil imprisoned a thousand years ago by the god himself - the Eater of the Dead."
Everything in this adventure pairs the PC's against the forces of the Iron Priests & the monsters of the tomb. Factions & monsters that we heard about in the World of Jordoba Player's Guide. Here the rumors & threads of the player's guide come together in the form of the ruins of the tomb. Necroamancers are going to have a bad time at the tomb.
Even though this is a first level PC dungeon its a really nasty one & very dangerous. The adventure contains lots of new elements specifically for Tomb of the Iron God for Swords & Wizardry. Why is this important?! Because they're keyed for this adventure but they have been adapted into the world of Jordoba setting. This places them squarely at the feet of the dungeon master to use elsewhere. Yesterday I mentioned that the world of Jordoba was like dimensional cheese cloth & rotting from within its own universe falling into the multiveral planar void.
This means that The Tomb of the Iron God can be upon Jordoba while at the same time appearing in Greyhawk or Blackmoor. Imagine walking into one world for the dungeon & crossing the dimensional threshold unto another universe entirely. Walk across Jordoba & you might end up upon Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea's Hyperborean setting.
This takes the adventure from the realm of Swords & Wizardry into the pull of appendix N style stories such as Clark Ashton Smith's Sword & Sorcery settings such as the Hyperborean cycle & the Zothique tales. The world's cycle of years has moved on & now its time. The Tomb of the Iron God belongs to a different order & a different older reality then that of Jordoba. This makes the tomb a very dangerous location whose local space time could cross into other worlds & times. Solving the riddles, traps, & monsters of the Iron Tomb maybe only the beginning.
But is the Tomb Of the Iron God solidly done?! Yes its cartography is easy to read, the artwork & layout are easy on the eyes & the module is still a fine addition to any OSR Sword & Sorcery dungeon master's line up! Five out of five across the board.