Friday, September 14, 2012

An In Depth Review Of The Snake Riders of Aradondo By Tim Kask

My printer hummed this afternoon to the tune of forty pages.. This is a module I've been waiting to get my hands on for a while now. This weekend my friends are going down to Aradondo.. They might not be coming back. 

"Hidden amidst a jungle teaming with giant crocodiles, man-eating carnivorus apes, and frogs the size of ponies lies a forgotten temple that harbors the bane of mankind.  The skilled might reach this temple.  The exceptional might actual discover its secrets and prevent a great evil from emerging to plague all the inhabitants of this world. Adventure is calling... will you accept the charges?
Snakeriders of the Aradondo is a classic 'old school' setting from the twisted mind of fantasy legend Tim Kask.  Containing both an overland adventure and a dungeon crawl, this generic adventure will provide multiple sessions of entertainment for 3 or more players of average to skilled experience."
The website from Eldritch Enterprises  doesn't do justice to this adventure & I'm not saying this because its by Tim Kask. I'm not saying this because of the adventure itself. The module reads like something from another era..

Hunters for gold or pursuers of fame, they all had gone out on that stream, bearing the sword, and often the torch, messengers of the might within the land, bearers of a spark from the sacred fire. What greatness had not floated on the ebb of that river into the mystery of an unknown earth!" 

- Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, Part 1

Snake Riders is Tim Kask's Heart of Darkness.. A journey into a campaign world of fetid swamps, bugs, nastiness & more. There's adventure, treasure, & mayhem aplenty but this is more then simply that. 
There are new races here, new item, & a ton of new monsters. This is a forty page peek behind the curtain of  Mr. Kask's campaign world. Its not a pretty place. 
This is the kind of place that tests men's mettle.. A weird, bizarre world dripping with old school charm. This is the sort of place that one has nightmares about. 
Into the Darkness Of  
"The old river in its broad reach rested unruffled at the decline of day, after ages of good service done to the race that peopled its banks, spread out in the tranquil dignity of a waterway leading to the uttermost ends of the earth." 
- Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, Part 1 

The adventure takes place in  amidst a jungle  world of teaming with giant crocodiles, man-eating carnivorus apes, and frogs the size of ponies. These are the hazards that  between the  forgotten temples  harbors the bane of mankind.  These environs are something like out of Cannibal Holocaust.  Seriously this is an adventure that is going to play marry havoc with your average party of adventurers
That's the point actually. The maps & editing are crisp & the writing is to the point! This is a plus in my mind & it easily allows me to get in, read the adventure, & get playing after a short time.
There is lots of opportunity to expand play!  The DM with an attitude could short route a group into a metric ton of directions only to lead them back to their goal. There is a weird vibe echoing through this adventure. A talented European artist named Moa Wallin did that wonderfully moody cover painting.. The layout  by Jim Wampier for the cover sets the tone but the interior art of Chris Clark & Martin Siesto sustains it in the old school tradition. 
The maps are crisp, evocative, & have a lost world Indiana Jones thing going on. This is a situation where your going to hip deep in swamp & not all the logs are logs.
There is a real feel of weight to this adventure.
Down The Crazy Rivers of 
And this also... has been one of the dark places of the earth." 
- Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, Part 1

The monsters of this module are interesting & different. The whole thing feels like a cross between Robert Howard & something torn from the fetid hide of Rune Quest. This module is generic & I do mean generic. With the right DM this could easily be converted into your favorite old school set. From OD&D  though something like a Call of Thule or Stormbringer. This is an entry in the weird school of the old school.  The races are like nothing you've seen before & the glimpse of Tim's world leaves me wanting more. For 40 pages this adventure packs a lot into itself.
Bottom line is that if you like Lost Worlds then you'll probably like this one. This is a very weird little adventure. This isn't gonzo weird. This is twisted weird. In a good way really.
This module could be used with OD&D, any of the retroclones, & fits completely into Crypts & Things! Seriously its a great little package..
The Uses of  

 "I couldn't help asking him once what he meant by coming here at all. 'To make money, of course. What do you think?' he said scornfully." 

- Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, Part 1 

Aradordo is more then a simple swamp module. Its a tool kit for a DM to set himself up in another world. This module could easily be used a  bridge gap between Labyrinth Lord & Mutant Future. The gap between an ancient world of the safe dungeons to the swamp filled wastelands of the world before.. This is easily accomplished. The swamps might not only hold the snakeriders but also the melted remains of the world before. The treasures of the ancients could fit into the tapestry of this world.
The world of Aradordo might also become another planet for visiting star explorers to land & lose themselves in. Believe me the the away time that appears here is in for a metric rash of stuff. Have lots of extra beds open in med bay. 
Aradordo could become a Lovecraftian or Howard style world as well a water way hellhole waiting for adventurers to crawl in. The races, monsters, etc. would feel right at home here 
The clever way that the stats are written for easy conversion to your favorite system is a plus in my mind. Fast,quick, & extendable all pluses in my mind. These & more make this a great adventure to own..
This adventure/mini campaign is forty miles of bad road waiting to happen to a group of PCs.
Go here to find out more & grab your copy
 Please note that this is a Tim Kask original & therefore very nasty & very deadly as  a location. I have it on good authority  of one of the play testers that in his words, "I lost a really nice magic-user with bracers of 18/25 strength in this deadly, deadly place : )" 


  1. Its very,very deadly fun! Gald you liked the review & there's more to come! Thanks for the comment Bill .

  2. We have very, very different views on this module.

  3. Shrugs.. Ok we very different views on this module & other modules.. We probably have very different styles of play.. And we possibly have very different players & criteria for playing. One does not make for better then the other. Your mileage may vary..
    I don't review 200 different modules & adventures. Each to his or her own. Thanks for stopping by & for taking the time to comment.


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