Monday, January 25, 2016

Reconsidering The Free OSR Adventure The Black Tower By David Guinasso & Stephen Abrahams From Midkemia Press For Your Old School Campaigns



I have a long and storied history with Midkemia Press, I started using the Carse material back in the Nineties to supplement some of the overflow from AD&D second edition and discovered the Rift War cycle by Raymond E. Feist way back then. My life back then revolved around alternative games and that included AD&D and D&D. Way back when you could pick up the  Midkemia Press material for a song. Not so now, as a DM your best bet is to contact them at their website for digital downloads of their products. I digress though, I used the Carse gaming material and Riftwar books as fodder for my own home campaign Empire of the Petal Throne campaign according to Wiki;"
Midkemia was originally created as an alternative to the Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) role-playing game. When Feist studied at the University of California, San Diego, he and his friends created a new role-playing game based on their own original world of Midkemia. They called themselves the Thursday Nighters, because they played the Midkemia role-playing game every Thursday evening. After some time, when the group changed and began meeting on Fridays, they became known as the Friday Nighters. The original group have since formed a company called Midkemia, which has continued publishing campaigns set in Midkemia.[2]
Feist acknowledges that the Tekumel setting from M. A. R. Barker's Empire of the Petal Throne was the source for much of Kelewan. The original D&D campaign which he based his books on had an invasion of the Midkemia world by Tekumel. As a result, much of the background of Kelewan - the Tsurani Empire, the lack of metals and horses, the Cho'ja, the pantheons of 10 major and 10 minor gods - comes from Tekumel. Feist claims to have been unaware of this origin when he wrote Magician."
If you haven't seen read the Rift War cycle, I highly recommend that you do, they reflect a far more open and different time in gaming when folks added and created their own world campaigns and played in each others adventure settings. For more information on the Rift War Cycle of books visit right over HERE or the author's website right over here.

Which brings me to the The Black Tower adventure according to the Wayne's Books write up;
"Ancient and ill-fated, Castle Tulan stands as a spectral edifice surrounded by a reed-choked moat in the old town of Tulan. At night, fearful sailors on passing ships have reported strange lights flashing from the windows of the northernmost castle tower. Rumors have it a host of unholy creatures have taken up residence in the vast halls and galleries. The locals tend to be close mouthed on the subject, and when queried, turn hastily away, muttering about dangerous questions. The townspeople do not interfere with anyone foolhardy enough to visit the castle but simply shake their heads in disbelief over those so obviously bereft of their senses, and never speak of those who have tried before. Tulan Castle is now under the control of Zorasis the mighty, once magician and advisor to the East Baron of Tulan and now a dread vampire. Here then is his story..."

What you get by downloading this adventure is a complete set of NPC's, a castle, and a complete setting to add right into the back end of your own old school campaign. But is it worth downloading? In truth its very much in line with the quality of Carse material that came out in the Eighties. It both reflects the time and the balance of Midkemia Press's efforts. I enjoy the mix of materials in this adventure and what it evokes from the works of the authors. This is another puzzle piece in what would become Thulan and the author's own adventure setting. This is a place of adventure and intrigue from another time, I love the contrast of elements in this adventure and the way it blends itself seamlessly into a DM's campaign. The balance of NPC's with well developed backgrounds and motives lends itself to other future products from Midkemia Press. Do I think its worth downloading? You bet it is.
Now believe it or not I can actually see not only using these adventure resources in not only a retroclone system like OSRIC, Advanced Labyrinth Lord, Arduin, AD&D 1st Edition, and many other old school rpg systems. But I can see easily adapting these resources to more pulp swords and sorcery adventures like Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea or pulp sword and sorcery style games. 
The truth is that these free resources while well written could easily be adapted to any old school post apocalyptic style campaign such as Mutant Future or even Mutant Epoch. Its really nice to stumble upon these old school campaign resources. I had a whole bunch of Midkemia Press products once upon a time. But an apartment fire took my copies of Tulan of the Isles, Jonril, and The Sunken Lands. The Sunken Lands have always been an old favorite of mine & I would love to get back into designing a campaign there.
While your there I would grab  TOWNS OF THE OUTLANDS its a collection of six fully populated, predominantly human habitations designed to be compatible with any of the currently available fantasy role playing games. With some modification, they are compatible with science-fiction games and modern military role playing in games

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