Saturday, October 31, 2015

Review & Commentary On The OSR Haunted House Toolkit/Adventure- The Price of Evil From Zzarchov Kowolski For Your Old School Campaigns

You come upon a haunted mansion of terror and pure evil dragged from the depths of Hell itself and even your jaded sensibilities are taken aback at the horrid pile that looms before your party! There is a price to pay though the Price of Evil! MUHAHAHA! Well, your old uncle Eric is back with another commentary and review of an old school OSR solid third wave product; in this case The Price of Evil From Zzarchov Kowolski.

Man, last night I was in the middle of my Hell Night mash up game and on my tablet, a message comes in from  Zzarchov Kowolski   about the Price Of Evil an old school haunted house generator extraordinaire. I was on line during a smoke break and had to beat my players off with a stick because of this book. They were not happy that Mr. Kowolski had sent me this book. Why? Because with  pack of cards from the dollar store, some time and a bit of energy you can literally generate hundreds of rooms of horror, depravity, and haunted menace to keep your players and PC's on the edge of their seats. According to the author,
"The Price of Evil is a haunted house toolkit that allows you to make a haunted house in about half an hour with a deck of cards, an hour if its your first time.Currently the layout is unfinished,  the art is not yet present, and there needs to be some copy editing, but Halloween is coming up and so this is being offered in rough format.  As it is cleaned up,  the file will be updated with cleaner layout and art."  I honestly don't care about the artwork because for four dollars you get a tool kit that can literally generate an entire level of a haunted mansion or dungeon in no time flat. No wonder that my players weren't happy at all. But that's only the beginning here with this product.
You can take this generator/sourcebook and create any type of haunted castle or adventure location you need. Where in The Hell House Beckons is an adventure location generator in its own right with a sort of fixed location. The Price of Evil is a completely different animal and its sort of like comparing apples and oranges here. But what can this ghostly  adventure generator system do for you as a DM? Well, really what can't it do? Here's a good example of the sort of OSR niches that the Price of Evil can fill.
For a Lamentations of the Flame Princess game this is the generator to grab when creating a ruined or Plague struck village or isolated location for a completely different flavor. Given the alternative pseudo history of LoFP, the Price of Evil stands out as a great choice for a generator. It gives with fuss and with a suit a whole round house way of creating haunted villages, houses, small shrines, large mansions, castles, and more.


 This is the generator to grab for that inheritance adventure for your landed characters. This is the generator to grab when you want to create a nasty haunted adventure location for Dark Albion in some isolated part of Dark Europe. It's just that God damned flexible!
Given the events of Dark Albion's Rose War events and background the number of haunts, hauntings, and ghostly horrors has got to be huge. This generator allows that focus to be grounded quickly and easily into the Dark European wasteland and wilderness locations that Dark Albion talks about. I'm not saying its a perfect fit but it does a good job at what it does.

Generation of adventure locations isn't the only hat trick that 'The Price of Evil' does at all. The fact is that this generator is generic enough to be used as a creator for investigation and haunted locations for any D&D retro clone system. This isn't something that was lost on me last night. This system could be used to generate a haunted Wild West location as well as an entire ghost town if the DM was inclined or an isolated late 1900's  or 1900's haunted house.

There are other uses for this product as well which includes Labyrinth Lord and Mutant Future, often times DM's of old school  post apocalyptic wasteland adventures seem to forget the victims of the Holocaust or Apocalyptic events that created their world. This is in fact a missed opportunity for the DM, with the Price of Evil they can create entire ghostly filled ruins of the wasteland and throw their players an unexpected and unwelcome twist! Especially with the Mutant Future D&D variant Mutants and Mazes.

This also brings up the fact that Price of Evil will also work as a really nice generator for those plague haunted locations for Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea. The tone and weirdness that this generator evokes is right in keeping with the high end of the sword and sorcery weirdness from Marvel's Conan and AS&SH's wheel house.

This also brings up the fact that because of the D&D style that the author uses Price of Evil could with a bit of slight of hand be quietly used to create locations of Dungeon Crawl Classics and other variants! This is really one of the more flexible products for adventure creation.
For an OSR science fantasy game like White Star, The Price of Evil could be used to generate plenty of planet side locations for your adventurers to deal with. There are plenty of opportunities for failed colonies, planet side castles, and all kinds of things that can be done with this type generator.

So do I think that The Price of Evil is worth the price on Drivethru? Well, in a word yes! This generator is very well done and its got tons going for it. I'm a fan of generators of this type in general and this is an especially well done style of product.

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