Tuesday, September 11, 2012

In Depth Review of James Ward's Dark Outpost

James Ward's Dark Outpost is a great little module from Eldritch Enterprises..  This adventure goes into a weird happening in an isolated outpost. The adventure's outline reads something like this : 
"Dark Outpost is a generic science fiction adventure set aboard a spacestation in geosynchronous orbit above a small class M planet. This massive station, built by robots and crewed by automated machines, is the pride of the galactic fleet, and the hope of those that will colonize the planet below.  But something has gone wrong. 
Nearly a month ago, all communications from the outpost ceased.  A patrol vessel was sent in to investigate, and it, too, was never again heard from.  Since that time the Planet Kask outpost has been known as the Dark Outpost.  Have you the courage to explore its mystery?
Dark outpost is a frighteningly deadly adventure for 3 or more characters of moderate experience from the mind of the revered master of sci-fi, James M. Ward.  Packed with new material, Dark Oupost is more of a mini-campaign than a mere adventure, and it is guaranteed to provide dozens of hours of enjoyment over multiple play sessions for any game master." 

This is a pretty solid adventure that lives up to what it promises. The adventure clocks in at eighty eight pages of old school science fiction or science fantasy adventure. The type of game its set in depends largely on the DM. The story is fast, flexible, & pretty good. Without giving too much of it away there are some high points I'd like to hit. 
  1. The artwork is definitely in the old school tradition & if your looking for a great layout for a massive station this is it. That little city station in the cover art work doesn't do it justice. 
  2. There are plenty of Metamorphis Alpha style James Wards encounters through out. The pace in the story is well done & solid. The layout makes reading while in play great! 
  3. Plenty of In jokes scattered throughout but they aren't overwhelming or stupid. This module never talks down to the PCs.. That's a good thing 
  4. There are plenty of details throughout without being tedious at all. This is very important as a DM but its not overwhelming 
  5. This module hearkens back to James Ward's Dragon Magazine article days when the science fantasy was fresh in the hearts & minds of players 
  6. They say generic & its very easily convertible to any number of systems including I would say Star Ships & Spacemen second edition or even original Metamorphis Alpha with no problems 
  7. This is a sick & twisted little module that will keep both experienced players busy & even entertain a nine year old 
  8. The encounters are fairly even balanced but there are some here that can knock around a moderate level character or two. 
  9. James Ward is a sick & twisted individual but in a good way still there are parts of this that scare me. 
  10. Reminds me of the generic products of yesteryear with the smarts of the OSR today. This is well written module 
Using James Ward's Dark Outpost For Your Old School Space Opera Campaign 

This module is easily convertible to say something like Star Ships & Spacemen second edition or even Stars Without Numbers. The module has background enough that a clever DM could reverse things by taking the background the module provides fleshing it out as his own. 
The module could become a science fictional version of the Keep on the Borderlands. That is to say that the station & its environs could become the focal point for many return trips or as the blue print for a base
There's new equipment, robots, monsters, & lots of encounters. The fact is that there could be more locations around the Outpost & the place itself become a sort of  Babylon Five style location for adventures. There are however many circumstances that need to be addressed before this happens.
The Outpost proves some very nice maps of the station with lots & lots of encounters. There's plenty of background to mine as well for other campaigns. From science fiction pulp to full Star Trek this is a pretty flexible location & monsters to be found here.
The Outpost is a devil in the dark waiting to spring on PCs.
All in all I was pretty pleasantly surprised at just how damn useful the module is & how many places this could be fit into.  From Terminal Space to any other space based games this is a great fit for your space campaigns.
You can find more information about this adventure right at Drive Thru Rpg Here


  1. Good review. I didn't even know this was out.

  2. Yeah its been out for a little while. I've been wanting to get this as soon as possible because of the various one shots I've been running. This has been high on my to get list.
    Glad you liked the review Trey I tried to keep it spoiler free. There's a ton of content that I've got to get up in the next day or so. Thanks for the comment! Love the stuff you've been doing with the City lately on your blog.

  3. I just purchased a copy of the Deluxe Edition yesterday. I am appreciative of this review as it has me very excited about receiving my copy in the mail. Would this be a good candidate for a WEG Star Wars campaign? You mentioned Space Opera so I am thinking that this module may lend well to that sort of heroic and 'cinematic' style of play.

  4. I don't know if you remember the WEG Star Wars 'Otherspace' adventures? But this adventure has that sort of feel to it. The adventure is more of a 'dungeon crawl in space' but some very, very interesting variations on the theme. "I am thinking that this module may lend well to that sort of heroic and 'cinematic' style of play." I think that with the right back story this module could easily do this. The PC's might have to be very,very, careful but it could work as a Space Opera backdrop after quite a few extended play sessions.
    Happy Adventuring and may the force be with you always! ;-) Thanks for the great comment!


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