Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Review & Commentary Of The Forgotten Fane of the Coiled Goddess From North Wind Adventures For The Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers Of Hyperborea and Your Old School Campaigns

There are times when you want to grab a group of players, some dice, and more then head right over to your favorite table and sit down for your favorite adventure. The Forgotten Fane of the Coiled Goddess From  North Wind Adventures  for the Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea rpg system  has everything you could want from a sword and sorcery OSR adventure. The thing reads like a Marvel Conan Seventies comicbook come to life to devour your OSR adventurers.
This adventure is part quest, part dungeon crawl, and pulpy high end Hyperborean adventure set on a seldom trodden piece of the Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea world and beyond.


I love everything about this dense sixty page Hyperborean tour de force; this adventure features everything that you could want out of an AS&SH adventure from the background of the setting of  The Forgotten Fane to the brand new Hyperborean elements that this adventure adds to the world. This really isn't simply an another adventure but a full blown add on to the world of Hyperborea. I followed the AS&SH adventure three pack adventure Kickstarter for months. This produced three essential AS&SH adventures; seriously these are not simply adventures but sourcebooks that paint even more setting and background to the AS&SH gaming system.  The plot reads like something straight out of the pages of Weird Tales;
"More than a month ago, your party found itself in Port Zangerios, where you heard of an Esquimaux thief selling a treasure map. Low on wealth but high in courage, you sought him out. The man turned out to be a fearful ex-slave who had “acquired” the map from his Ixian master. The map is incomplete but shews the Isle of the Serpent in far-off Lemuria, where rests a fabulous treasure called the Feathered Crown of Nanasa (or so thought the Ixian). Pooling your money to purchase the unfinished map, you bought passage on an Amazonian trade ship. After passing through tempests and torrential rains that shimmered with auroral light, you have come to the great city of Jhaman Ket. Now you must seek out the location of the Isle of the Serpent."  This is several  crawls,  an adventure, and a lost world world adventure mini campaign all in one.

The adventure paces itself quite nicely someplace between placing the PC's deep into the Hyperborean underworld then switching gears into a weird science fantasy lost world mode that is both deadly and telling at the same time of the wonder of the world of Hyperborea. "Forgotten Fane of the Coiled Goddess" written by  Joe Salvador with maps by Monkeyblood Designs, and features all of the dinosaurs featured in the artwork and more. The world is partially Lovecraftian hi jinks, lots of adventurer sword and sorcery action and the whole thing could be deadly unless the PC's think and are very careful. This is an adventure meant for our to six characters of 5th through 7th level and the designers and writer mean it. Seriously straight out of the gate the PC's are going to be challenged and are going to be running for their lives. Much of the action is going to center on the PC's as one encounter after another is going to challenge them on every live. This isn't an adventure your players are going to get up from the table for to go to the bathroom. The encounters are quick and take place without rail roading the PC's into a corner or conclusion.

 There are reasons for the PC's to be dealing with hell and horrors of the Forgotten Fane at the same time dovetailing their motives deep into the back setting of Hyperborea and that's another place where this adventure shines. This is a mini sourcebook that in sixty pages manages to shove a lot of science fantasy and Lovecraftian goodness into back burner of it. There is at least several weeks worth of play here and in addition with a clever DM miles and miles of campaign adventure hooks to keep this adventure on the DM's nightstand for a long while to come.
 Because of the set up for The Forgotten Fane of the Coiled Goddess, DM's can add in any of the revers and freebooters of the AS&SH rules set with little problem. The PC's are in for a hell of a time trying to deal with all of the adventure elements. If a party isn't careful this might be their fate at the hands of several factions of serpent people and there is more.
But is The Forgotten Fane of the Coiled Goddess actually playable? Yes in spades. This adventure adds in details, bits and pieces to the world of Hyperborea and adds other fragmentary colors to the weird work of art  that is Hyperborea itself.

Do I think that 
The Forgotten Fane of the Coiled Goddess
 is worth getting for the AS&SH system? Yes in spades, this is because the AS&SH three pack are perhaps some of the most essential and important adventures and sourcebooks to come out for the Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers Of Hyperborea rpg system.

How To Use
The Forgotten Fane of the Coiled Goddess
With Your Old School Campaigns
Can the
The Forgotten Fane of the Coiled Goddess be used with other old school and retroclone systems? And can it be used well with other OSR game systems? Short answer is yes in spades. This adventure features so many weird tales and pulpy elements that plugging in your favorite adventurers at certain points during this adventure will be a snap.

The plot lends itself very well to adding in your favorite adventurers into the lost world or adventure elements quite nicely. The Coiled Fane 
can be used as a basis for a cross over adventure for a party of OD&D, Sword & Wizardry party or your adventurers. With the focus here on Hyperborea DM have an opportunity to carve out their own niche of this rich world and make it their own. There are several key points in The Forgotten Fane of the Coiled Goddess  where the PC's from the DM's favorite retroclone can be introduced into the world of Hyperborea. The lost world action and science fantasy elements of this adventure shouldn't overwhelm the adventurers at all letting them shine in the spotlight as they will. There are more then a few monsters in this adventure that can easily take the heads off of stupid PC's and there several points where if the PC's are not careful they'll end up very dead. The other party members may be searching through dinosaur poo for the limbs and entrails of comrades for a resurrection spell or two.
Yet this is an adventure with plenty of gold, glory, and high weirdness to keep the PC's busy for months.  The Forgotten Fane of the Coiled Goddess 
adventure could be used to plug in a Lamentations of the Flame Princess party but DM's might want to restrict the gun powder issue. Also Dark Albion  adventurer parties might make a flying visit but this would  allow the expansionist adventuring parties of Dark Albion to see a rich and all to exploitable world for their Albion empire. This is a perfect way for the setting up  for a rich campaign of warfare and future conflict as the two worlds cross over an all too common missed opportunity. Planar cross over is easily one of my top five ways of bringing conflicting worlds into focus with one another like ships passing in the night.
This is yet another beautiful bit of the design of the
The Forgotten Fane of the Coiled Goddess  adventure and one of the reasons why this remains one of my favorite AS&SH adventures to come out to date.

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