Thursday, January 21, 2016

Retro Review & Commentary On The OD&D Adventure Module BSOLO Ghost of Lion Castle By Merle M. Rasmussen For Your Old School Campaigns

So what do you do when the snow storms  start coming in the middle of Winter and you can't get together with friends? Grab a solo module and get playing by yourself, keep your DMing skills sharp, and get some quick alone game time.  So let's take a quick look at  (BSOLO) Ghost of Lion Castle.

"'A great cat sits upon the northern grasslands, my friend, waiting to pounce on adventurers just like you.' As you part the tall grass with your sword, the words of the tavernkeeper echo in you head.

'He was the mightiest wizard we'd ever known, and that Lion Castle was his home.' Your friends' voices mingle with the tavernkeeper's. 'He's but a ghost now, haunting those halls, and waiting for an heir.'

The ground rises slightly. A strong wind rushes through the field. Suddenly, the grasses part, and Lion Castle rises majestically before you!
'Magical riches await those who enter!' 'Beware of man-beasts!' Voices flood your head again. Will you brave the haunted castle? Can you afford not to? It's all up to you in this D&D Solo Adventure.

Ghost of Lion Castle is for one player only, but that one player makes all of the choices and enjoys all of the rewards. An entire castle and courtyard await your exploration. The adventure also includes a complete solo combat system."

Merle Rasmussen, of Top Secret fame created a surprisingly huge castle and this isn't actually that bad of an adventure considering how its put together. The  wizard Sargon created an enormous stronghold of untold mystery and a surprisingly large castle in the shape of a giant lion. Your going to be facing down werebeasts, spiders, stirges, orcs, and the ghost of Sargon himself in search of an accursed treasure. Merle Rasmussen doesn't do a bad job with this module at all and there's surprisingly a good moving and quick adventure here. The maps are clear, the plot concise and the presentation is well done.

But could this module be used with a larger group of players and perhaps expanded upon? Yes as a matter of fact it could easily be worked into a larger party of adventurers and the hard work has already been done for you. Several map expansions are available right here

I also think that Sargon and his machinations could easily be adapted to several retroclone systems including Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea. Hear me out before you might dismiss me out right. Given the placement of the ruins of Lion Castle its very possible that Sargon and his works might have been left overs from the Green Death. There's a feel to the solo adventure that this place has been brooding for a long time. Since The Ghost of Lion Castle isn't that well know the dungeon master has a perfect venue to modify this module for their own retroclone system.

It wouldn't take a lot of modification to move Sargon's digs to the border areas of Hyperborea and given the nature of the monsters of Ghost of Lion a DM shouldn't have any problems using the AS&SH referee's book to reference about ninety percent of them for their own evil  purposes.
For other games such as Lamentations of the Flame Princess or Dark Albion's pseudo historical settings might mean making the castle a part of Fairy or a similar location of legend. But given the brutal nature of some of the elements  of Ghost of Lion's Castle its not that hard of a stretch for a DM to modify it out for a more horrific feel.

So is Ghost of Lion Castle by
Merle M. Rasmussen worth your time and efforts? I can honestly say that I think so, given how easy it is to modify, the story and background that the author has put into it. There's plenty of room to DYI this adventure for your own needs. There are copies going for fifteen dollars on Amazon and there seems to be plenty of copies of it. Its actually a nicely made and tightly created adventure for what it does which is solo play and choose your own adventure style.

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