Monday, December 3, 2012

Tower of the Scarlet Wizard By James M.Ward - Review & Commentary

The Tower Of The Scarlet Wizard is the latest adventure from the twisted mind of Jame M. Ward. It presents & pulls you in right from the starting blurb on the back of the book. Here's the blurb from Drivethrurpg: 

A mysterious and magical message literally drops into your lap from the very air.  Unsettled by the experience, you nevertheless open it.  It seems that there is a tower at the center of a nearby town, packed with magical items and untold riches... and it seems YOU have inherited this tower!

                                                  Well...  almost.
You are one of several cousins vying for ownership of this magnificent edifice.  The task seems simple: convince the servants of the tower that you are the rightful owner.  Once all of the tower's servants have sworn fealty, the tower, and its riches, are yours.
It sounds too good to be true... So it probably is.
The Tower of the Scarlet Wizard is a system-less adventure using generic terminology that should convert easily for use with most fantasy role playing systems.  It is designed for 3 or more thinking players of moderate experience level. 
Those characters that survive will have a new base of operations, better than any room at an inn.  Those who forget to pack their wits along with the rest of their gear should probably have their wills in order before making the attempt.
 It’s a 24-page adventure written by  game designer James Ward, edited by Tim Kask and Christopher Clark, and with interior art from Chris Clark too. The cover design is by Dave Peterson and Chris Clark.
Introduction : 
 This product throws a party into the deep end of the Scarlet Wizard's Tower. 
This is  a jam packed 24 page James Ward old school adventure in the vein of the old Tsr products. The whole plot pulls you right into the world of the tower. There's lots going on here.  Right off the bat on page three there's an overview of everything the DM needs to get the PC's right into the thick of things. The overview is needed because this is a very "adventure dense" product. Not in the sense that there's lots of magic items, spells, etc. In the sense that if the party doesn't pay attention there will be a reckoning. 
The product is well laid out with its maps, artwork, etc all adding to the flavor of the product.
 The author seems to have really allowed himself some creative free reign here & gotten into the heart of his world. This product feels like a test set for another possible campaign world from Mr. Ward. I for one want to see a box set. 

The  Ten Main Uses For Tower Of The Scarlet Wizard 

  1. This isn't simply a one night adventure the puzzles, traps, tricks, etc are all built for an extended session or three of play. This twenty four page adventure feels like a mini campaign in places. This is a very nicely put together adventure. 
  2. Lots of new magic items, setting material, etc. which can all be used for lots of other DM projects as well to flesh out a setting. The adventure has its own tone, flavour, ideas. 
  3. There are secrets here and used correctly they lead to other campaign worlds or even a world spanning adventure 
  4. This adventure could be used for both a traditional OSR game or even a space fantasy with the right preparation 
  5. This is a deadly little adventure & one mis step & your PCs are dead meat. Its not a grinder but a very well thought out adventure where the player characters will get themselves killed 
  6. This is a nice campaign introduction adventure that can translate one set of PCs into another level of play. 
  7. There are new spells, monsters, items, all well thought out & laid out in this one. They have the traditional "Ward touch" to them as well. 
  8. Several dangling plot hooks are available to the DM to not only continue this adventure but to tie it in with their own existing world. This is a good thing in my opinion 
  9. The feel of the adventure is classic James Ward & is fresh, easy to use, & solid in every respect. I enjoyed reading this one & will enjoy running it. 
  10. Well worth the price of admission & its on sale over at Drivethru right over Here

    1. How To Use The Tower Of The Scarlet Wizard
    The adventure is designed to fit into any retroclone adventure system. This has the potential to be run quite easily with something like Lamentations of The Flame Princess. The whole adventure though would fit into something like Labyrith Lord or Swords & Wizardry much easier. The potential for solid pulp adventuring is right there . This one could be run in a world like one that dripped from the pen of Fritz Leiber quite easily. The NPCs, the items, and the setting are right there for an easy fit.
    The only problem I see is running this with something like Carcosa. The whole adventure would have to be retro fitted & made more horrifying then it already is. It could be done.
    Potentially though with a bit of work & twisting of elements this could easily be fit into  Trey's Old World setting.There might need to be some adjustments but this could easily be transported over to an alternative universe where magic is a reality & science. The adventure is really that flexible.
     All in all well worth the money. 

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