Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Review & Commentary On 'The Pay What You Want' OSR Adventure Resource The Fungus Forest From Nash Press

So last night at about two or three AM I was stumbling around the internet and happened to look at the Warning Mutagenic Substance blog.  I haven't been over there in years, its one of those things that happens because there are so many great OSR blogs. So I happen to trip over pay what you want title The Fungus Forest adventure From  Nash Press.  Well colour me very impressed.


This is a complete adventure location that you can drop into any existing OSR campaign and just run with it. The Fungus Forest reeks of spores and slime drenched goodness with some very nice maps that echo classic old school D&D modules while at the same time using some very solidly put together monsters with echoes and homages of the original edition material. The cartography is amazingly well done for a pay what you want product. The artwork also fits exactly the sort of a feel that the writers and designers are going for here. A place of both Fairy tale nightmares and fungus factions all veying in a cavern system from Hell.

There are six factions who are battling each other,  trying to screw over each other, and they'll try to pit your party against the the others in an all holds pitched guerilla war that has been going on for a very long time. Indeed but there is treasure as well as opportunity to be had in the Fungus Forest. That is if your party is very lucky and smart. This isn't an adventure that rewards the stupid except with a very spore filled death.
Its a great adventure with lots of potential for old school play, for example the maps can be sectioned out after being printed and used to create a mini campaign. I haven't mentioned the goblins who play a major part in this adventure or the various fungus horrors who are peppered throughout the Fungus Forrest. The six feuding Fey factions that will try to pit the party against their rival factions and this makes for some very interesting situations during play. This includes using the Fungus Forest for old school horror style games.
Here's the thing about this adventure you could as a dungeon master drop this into any old school edition or retroclone gaming system this includes Mutant Future as well. The factions are awesome and fit that style of play easily and with the mutated weirdness of Mutant Future. There is also a bit of an old school horror element inside this adventure that echoes classic horror literature especially William Hope Hodgson fungal works of literature as well more contemporary sources. These include “Fungus Isle” by Phillip Fisher 
from  Argosy All-Story Weekly October 1923's issue. “Fungus Isle” was reprinted in Famous Fantastic Mysteries in their October, 1940, issue and you can reread it right over here
 I was reminded at certain points of a classic Japanese horror film from 1963, I'm speaking of course of the classic Matango. 

Another far more reaching area might be to drop this location into any old school science fiction or sci fi fantasy planetary location as a one shot echo system or adventure encounter. The whole thing is a self contained mini world where the PC's have to adapt or die in the light of the encounters of the adventure. Another place that this adventure might work is in a Carcosa style campaign where the various properties of the fungal monsters and their inhabitants might be part of a dark and dangerous ritual. Or this adventure could be added into the fabric of a historical adventure ala Lamentations such as taking place within the Black Forest of Germany or Europe. Could this adventure also work for a Weird War game? Yes there were so many tracts of land destroyed by the war who knows what weirdness could have be destroyed in a shelling or other military action.
So why all of the serious fungal talk about the Fungus Forest adventure? Well because it happens to include a full OSR monster tool kit for creating your own fungus monsters and encounters;"Ready Reference Appendices: Formatted in black and white with printable margins to enable home printing for easy in-game reference; Appendix I - Random Fungus Generator; Appendix II - Magic Mushrooms of the Fungus Forest; Appendix III - Fungus Forest Bestiary (30+ unique entries); Appendix IV - Printable Fungus Forest Map."
This makes inserting the Forest and its monsters into your old school campaigns a snap! Do I think you should grab this adventure? Yes! Today,now, and start using one of the most underappreciated types of horrors for your game today. A hearty five out of five.

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