Thursday, December 24, 2015

Review & Commentary On The Pay What You Want OSR Adventure Resource - Unholy Land From Garske Games

Did you ever go to midnight mass or whatever service you attend or don't and think gee I wish my party of adventurers could participate in a high level crawl involving the Nativity events? I wonder if Joseph was a 5th level peasant and what were Mary's stats exactly? Well, don't let my lead in for Unholy Land an OSR adventure resource put you off, this is actually a pretty nice little tight twenty six page mid to high level PC crawl. It also has an alternative world Biblical era setting built right into the back bone of the adventure.
This isn't an adventure that talks down to or makes fun of the events surrounding the birth the Christ child. Basically this adventure assumes that the birth of Christ is of such fundamental importance that Satan and his demonic forces are going to pull out all of the stops to kill the family of Christ. Your party of adventurers is charged with stopping that murder of Biblical proportions from happening. Sounds simple doesn't it.

Unholy Land has more then simply the obvious going on in between the covers, there are arranged against the PC's Dragons, Undead armies,Necromancers, Lovecraftian  Fish Men, demonic cults, and king Herod's forces not to mention the whole of the Roman empire to contend with. But more then this you the DM get a whole cloth pulpy Biblical setting and mini campaign world laid out at your feet here. Let's forget the whole let's murder the Christ child vibe for moment and take a step back. You get Judea and its environs, various proto demonic and Satanic cults, forces, dinosaurs, and more. This setting is sort of if someone took Ray Harryhausen's Clash of the Titans setting advanced up to the time of the Romans then drop kicked in the Biblical themes in the back end. There's encounter after random encounter table in this adventure. Garske game's authors obviously know their subjects well because you get a mix of wilderness, urban, and even a bit of dungeon action in Unholy Land. While there are stats for baby Jesus, Mary, and Joseph the material might be a bit blasphemous but its not egregious nor does it pander to its audience's lowest common denominator. Unholy  presents a mix of action pulpy adventure and an alternative dark  Biblical themes within a very, very dangerously mid to outright high level adventure 6th to 10 level PC's and beyond isn't an unreasonable mix here.

Without giving away too much of the action and plot hooks here, this adventure could easily be used as a high level OD&D or AD&D first edition play through. My suggestion because of the nature of the material of Unholy Land is to use this with a Lamentations of the Flame Princess group. There will have to be adjustments made with it as needed with some of the mid point encounters in the adventure's plot line. Much of the material here is handled in a mature and somewhat solid fashion. There are possible echoes and dealings with many of the factions straight out of Scripture including Dagonite Deep Ones and more. This adventure could easily be minded and used for other OSR campaigns and games. This makes the potential utility of the adventure expand by a factor of seven. I can see incorporating some of these factions and adventure ideas into other Lamentation and alternative world pseudo historical settings this is especially true for products like Dark Albion and other OSR style games. I'd give this a solid five out of five for sheer Biblical scale and original ideas with a gaming product, grab this one for a different take on Christmas OSR gaming.

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