Sunday, November 15, 2015

Reconsidering The OSR Free Adventure Resource - JN2 Monkey Isle For The Basic Fantasy rpg System Or Your OD&D Style Campaigns

Right, so yesterday one of the resources that I shared for X1 The Isle of Dread adventure module was JN2 Monkey Island from the wonderful folks over at the Basic Fantasy rpg pages. This is a low level but very lethal wilderness crawl with ruins, pulpy weirdness, and lots great encounters. This adventure clocks in at about thirty two pages of encounters and neat wilderness hex crawling. Its a great prehistoric wilderness environmental adventure crawl that takes PC's across an island landscape with all of the old favorites from the blue book expert set of D&D from the Eighties. Note that any dungeon master worth their salt can easily adapt the monsters using the Monster Manual I& II. Seriously its pretty damn ease to do.
What makes Monkey Isle unique?According to the module's intro  "Monkey Isle is a "lost world" setting - an island inhabited by prehistoric beasts and other strange creatures. It includes background material for the GM (Game Master) and several ready-made adventures. The intent is to give the GM an island to use for their own adventures. It is a place the gamers can visit and revisit as they desire"
Right and because its both well thought out and generic it allows the DM to place it, mold it, modify it as they see fit. Sounds vaguely like Isle of Dread?

So why bother downloading this booklet and module if you own Isle of Dread? Well, after your party has completed the island as part of the Isle of Dread what then? For my games this adventure served as a part of a chain of lost islands which also included when the PC's were advanced enough the Islands of Purple Haunted Putrence.

I've also used Monkey Isle as part of an on going Inner Earth campaign that I'll soon be returning too.
There are thirty two pages of adventure encounters and locations but among those is mention of farm lands, this incredibly important detail that any fans of Robinson Crusoe will tell you. PC's often need a home base from which to venture into the wilderness and a safe point to return to between encounters. And this adventure has those. Many adventures don't make mention of them and its often this detail is overlooked.
Let me also make mention of the maps, there are not simply one or two, the whole damn second half of the module is filled with map after map to make it easy on the DM to chart out, show, print out and mix in details of the isle.
Another thing that I also happen to be a big fan of with retroclone adventure locations is using the same locations that other game campaigns have already been too. Often this is so that adventurers from one game of Lamentations of the Flame Princess might find the corpses of PC's from a Labyrinth Lord game. With some adjustment this is a solid module to convert to Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea, you can easily stick this isle right into the back end of any of the warmer tropical seas of that game. The monsters might need a bit of work but for a beginning party this might be just the ticket to cut their blades on this one.
This adventure even includes a bit of dungeon crawling in addition to prehistoric wilderness hi jinks. There's even a set of ill defined ruins to stick your own mini or larger dungeon on the isle.

Basically this is nice set of tools for the DM to play with, stick in some Sleestak and you've got your own Land of the Lost mini adventure. Add or subtract from this adventure as necessary or use it as a template to create your own mini defined OSR prehistoric campaigns.

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