Saturday, February 20, 2016

Commentary On Using The Free OSR Sourcebook - The B1 In Search Of The Unknown Sourcebook For Your Old School Campaigns

I've recently run my players through the Gibbering Tower a free OSR adventure for Labyrinth Lord on Tuesday. They completed the tower and its environs in record time and had a blast doing so. In the bottom of the tower is a small dungeon that leads into another location including a small series of tunnels but where do they go. Well my players are eager to explore this dungeon and they know that nearby is a small castle. I've already been using B2 Keep of the Borderlands. So I needed a location that could easily be customized and I believe I've found it. At about three am I was mucking about on the internet and came across a whole host of OSR links on Dragon's foot and a source book for one of  my favorite module from TSR for D&D. I'm speaking of course of the classic B1  In Search of The Unknown by Mike Carr. The sourcebook is a free jammed packed piece of OSR goodness with all kinds of old school awesomeness. Its available for download in the fifth paragraph down with the words," Demos Sachlas (paleologos of Dragonsfoot) has assembled a mighty B1 Campaign Sourcebook (link is for pdf download; linked here with permission), which is subtitled "a collection of original work and material gathered from the pages of Dragonsfoot and elsewhere on the internet". Since I don't have permission to host the link, go to the Zenopus Archives & you won't be sorry.


In case I haven't mentioned I'm adapting B1 to a post apocalyptic sword and sorcery setting in my home campaign. There are literally hundreds of people who have hacked into B1 and done some really wonderful things with the vintage module. Dragon's foot has some truly awesome resources for use with hacking into and customizing B1 In Search of the Unknown. You can find those right over HERE.
So I'm going to be using a mash up of the Advanced Labyrinth Lord Companion and Mutant Future for this. The players had a blast last session and I've decided to incorporate the back story of the warlord Roghan the Fearless and wizard Zelligar the Unknown into a Thundarr style campaign. The back story of both NPC's has been told numerous times but Wiki has an excellent breakdown of the plot;"Many years ago two wealthy adventurers, Roghan the Fearless and Zelligar the Unknown, built a hidden complex known as the Caverns of Quasqueton. From this base, they conducted their affairs away from the prying eyes of civilization. While of questionable ethical standing, the two drove back a barbarian invasion and gained the support of locals. Eventually, they gathered their own army and went on an expedition against said enemies, where they met their demise."
This isn't the first time I've done this sort of campaign set up. The major inspiration for this campaign was Jason Zavoda's blog posts from 2013 on using B1 for an Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea campaign. Personally this is one of my corners stone modules, easily customizable and infinitely usable with lots of campaign styles. Now I'm going to introducing a new party of adventurers into the clutches of this classic module. They already been hearing rumors of a great treasure at one of the local inns;"
The rumors mostly involve a great treasure hidden somewhere in the Caverns of Quasqueton, which the PCs can enter from a cave-like opening"

The PC's have met other mutants, adventurers, and outlaws who have fed them rumors and whispers of the Caverns of Quasqueton and some of the treasures that have come out of the wasteland location. The party of adventurers has also encountered many monsters  including orcs, troglodytes, and giant rats that all seem to point to the ruins and some very dangerous goings on. One thing I've always done with the adventure location of B1 is to make it multi dimensional giving possible crossover potential with other games of mine.

There is so much room for customization with B1 that a dungeon master can keep a mini campaign going for a few weeks as the PC's explore bit after bit of the module's location. There is plenty of places to add a bit of old school surprises and to allow the module to become a part of a classic campaign. The B1 In Search Of  The Unknown  source book contains differences in printings, background history and information in addition to lots of expansions and more all done by some of my favorite blog authors and designers. It even includes stocking information and more. All in all this is a great must have source book for DM's planning on running this classic module!

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