Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Review and Commentary On The Free OSR Adventure Resource - The Flayed King From GM Games for Your Old School Campaigns

Grab It Right Over 

Tim Shorts produces and writes some damn awesome stuff, a combination of OD&D weirdness and solid adventure writing. Here we've got The Flayed King adventure done for Swords and Wizardry Appreciation day and in twelve pages he gives birth to a dark and twisted adventure of weird as well as horrid proportions. The man knows how to write a sold adventure to challenge and bring your PC's into the bowels of a heck of a ride. The set up time for 'The Flayed King' is less time then the intro to a classic 90's horror film and this sucker is tightly done with one adventure location as well as solid background steeped deep in the old school tradition as well as the blood of other adventurers who have come before your PC's.
The adventure plays with several classic motifs of old school gaming from the adventure location to the treasure within the location all the while playing with the king in the barrow legends of old. The adventure dances around the pulp weird fantasy of yesteryear hearkening back to HP Lovecraft, Robert Howard, and several other classic writers whist putting your characters center stage for the slaughter.
So do I think that this one is worth the download? Yes in point of fact if you haven't already then by all means stop reading this one and go grab it. Now.
Tim knows how to play with his audience and this short but classy module uses the echoes of classic horror while upping the notches of old school adventure in a tight but balance package of lethal weirdness.
So while the Swords and Wizardry retroclone rpg system is the intended audience this adventure could be used with a number of game systems as we shall see. Give the form and function of the Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea game this is a classic adventure that can easily lend a completely nasty edge of horror to the Viking Northsmen that this system has in spades. Given the tremendous almost Edgar Allen Poe style horror that is happening within the featured adventure location; this module could be added to a Lamentations of The Flame Princess campaign as an aside quest around Iceland or some other historic Viking location in a pseudo historical campaign. The sky is the limit really with the set up but for me the bits and pieces of this adventure almost certainly put it squarely within the sword and sorcery school of adventure. In fact this adventure might be adapted to either Dungeon Crawl Classics or Adventurer, Conqueror, King with some conversion. I would actually say that this adventure would easily fit into ACK's quite nicely given the style and substance of the adventure location, monsters, and plot.
The artwork is another aspect of this adventure that I happen to love. The maps are clear,crisp, and concisely done as well as being easy on the eyes. The encounters within the adventure are lethal and should be treated as an almost 'horror' film event venue for an old school game. I've used that analogy before and this game adventure really brings that ideal home in several places. There is some room here for DYI D&D for continuing the adventure in several places but Tim has keep this one tight and well done. This adventure could be used even with the Basic Fantasy Rpg as well as Labyrinth Lord but with LL you might want to up the hit points on the monsters and do a bit of adjusting in some places. All in all this is a solid and well done module. 

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