Thursday, August 11, 2016

Review & Commentary On The AD&D 1st Edition Carcosa Adventure - JUNGLES OF THE K'NAANOTHOA By Geoffrey McKinney

Steaming fens of haunted Lovecraftian monsters, weird tribes of colored humanoids out for your PC's hearts, ancient other dimensional gates, and the Cthlhu mythos? Yeah today we take a look at
the Jungles of the K'naanothoa By Geoffrey McKinney

There are those OSR & Rpg settings that are instantly polizering & none more so Carcosa By Geoffrey McKinney. Jungles of the K'naanothoa is an add on adventure to the new Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Carcosa setting. The JUNGLES OF THE K'NAANOTHOA is a combination of a Lovecraftian jungle hex crawl with all of the Carcosa trimmings.

The original Jungles of K'Naanothoa artwork by artikid is quite striking for a singular piece of iconic artwork for the module. K'Naanothoa is situated right below THE YUTHLUGATHAP SWAMPS & though they are joined together these two places are vastly different. This adventure setting has a South American jungle  meets forbidden vistas with lots weird Carcosa bits lurking just below the surface. Pure and simple this is a Lovecraftian hex crawl with all of the usual conceits of such a crawl. There is very little regard to rhyme or reason when it comes to level of encounters and weird NPC's are the rule here. This is a wilderness hex crawl with very little regard for character level or monster stats. Encounters are straight affairs where homages abound, weird NPC's go about their business, and PC are going to get in way over their heads.
This is only the start of the wilderness and weirdness of Carcosa; according to the author's lulu page;"

This forthcoming series of sixteen modules will detail a quintessential fantasy campaign world for the AD&D game. Each module can be used on its own, or they may be joined into a larger setting. Look for the first Wilderness module in the fall of 2016."
So we are going to be seeing a whole lot more of Carcosa & its environs. Speaking of which we get a far more constructive overview of the world in this module which includes;"

HE YUTHLUGATHAP SWAMPS, BARRENS OF CARCOSA, and THE MOUNTAINS OF DREAM. Luigi Castellani's cover art depicts the Faceless Lord and its loathsome ilk emerging through an eldritch gate to the demonic abyss" One of the things that the Jungles of The Knaanothoa module brought home was the fact that Carcosa is an environment where the Cthulhu mythos while bound are freely worshiped & PC's are going to be constant danger for survival. So players & DM's are going to get a solid mix between the fantasy of AD&D first edition & Carcosan Lovecraftian mythos.

The Lovecraft circle of writers & mythos has been a part of the game for a very long time.  This has created a mixed bag of mythos material but it doesn't seem to hinder the game at all. Many folks love to mix & match the fantasy of D&D with the Cthulhu mythos. What does this have to do with  Jungles of the K'naanothoa By Geoffrey McKinney? Well quite a bit because this isn't the LoFP incarnation of Carcosa. Instead what we are given is a bridge gap setting with some very sharp Lovecraftian teeth.
  • Gone are the weird damage mechanics & odd psionics this is a pure Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Mythos setting with Carcosa acting as the center. 
  • We get usable adventure locations with oceans, swamps, and a wide range of hexes perfect for crawling through. 
  • Tons of hex crawl locations that can be used and fleshed out later for their own adventures as the DM sees fit.
The encounters are tight and well done making this a good 'go to' adventure for DM's looking for something to drag and drop their PC's into the bowels of Carcosa. Because of the switch up in AD&D 1st edition format the feel of the Cthulhu mythos is more akin to its Deities and Demigods roots. I have to say that having been brought up on a steady diet of  classic TSR era product & Chaosium the differences are a bit well jarring. They're both valid approaches to two very different takes on the Lovecraft circle of mythos material. Both approaches and product lines however are valid. This gives the DM even more leeway when presenting Jungles of K'naanothoa.
Jungles of K'naanothoa gives yet another option as well because of the switch in gaming formats. Because the adventure is now Advanced Dungeons and Dragons first edition it can now easily be used with the Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea.  I'd still use Bernie The Flump's blog proposal to give sorcerers the abilities to cast the 'summoning' ritual three times per day for Carcosian sorcerers.

The reasons for this are simple it gives the Carcosa setting a consistent flavor to it.

I also think that Dungeon of Sign's Carcosans and Setting Thoughts on Carcosa are also still valid to the setting as well perhaps even more so. But what about Jungles of K'naanothoa? Is it worth the money to get from Lulu? In a word yes I do think it is a good hex crawl which links back nicely to both the Barrens of Carcosa module & The Yuthlugathap Swamps By Geoffrey McKinney. Without giving too much away I think that two of the hexcrawl locations have potential to be complete adventures unto themselves. Overall the Jungles of K'naanothoa offers a bit of everything from monster infested swamp lands full of degenerate tribes of  flesh eating humanoids to dark isles of alien lairs of forgotten horrors. All of which has the look and feel of Carcosa in spades. Four out of five for the Jungles of K'naanothoa.

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