Monday, November 14, 2016

Review & Commentary On The Devil in the Crypt From Svartkonst For Your Old School Campaigns

"Haunted by evil both other worldly and mundane, the tomb of the sorcerer-king Akhenseti lies waiting. Within its halls are secrets to be uncovered, enemies to be defeated, and weirdness to be encountered"  So begins the introduction to the The Devil in the Crypt From Svartkonst that is the team of Terje Nordin, & Mattias Närvä. Well recently I was looking for a pulpy sword and sorcery style adventure and that's exactly what we have here. Its a pseudo Egyptian romp of an adventure suitable for PC's of 1st through 3rd level. Its definitely got its OSR adventure genetic heritage right for a party of 4-8 characters. It clocks in at about eighteen pages and does exactly what it sets out to do. That is provide an evening's entertainment whist grinding your PC's into paste. But this is an adventure that does it with style.

Its a strange best of a dungeon crawl with a streak of Lamentations of the Flame Princess and a whole lot of OSR system work throughout this dungeon crawl. But there's also an element of the pulpy gonzo about the whole affair. I like the material here, this isn't the usual OSR fare that we've come to expect. This is a nasty little dungeon with lots of interesting bits and pieces that seems to have been worked up for a convention set one shot. This is definitely a dungeon that can be dragged and dropped into an existing campaign with little issue. That's one of its strong points among a good structure and some well thought out encounters.
I have lots of experience with Terje Nordin's adventures before and this one is no exception because it has a similar pattern of weirdness about it. The Devil in The Crypt follows in the foot steps of The Temple of the Ape God in fact they might be found in the same world. The lost world adventure location vibe is strong in the The Devil in the Crypt. This adventure takes full advantage of walking the line between Lamentations of the Flame Princess while skirting the line of more traditional D&D material. But it does it well by playing with its plot elements without seeming tiresome or overdone. I can see taking this adventure and dropping it whole cloth into Swords and Wizardry or a more complete swords and sorcery game such as the Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea rpg system. This adventure could also be used with more traditional OSR systems such as Labyrinth Lord, Adventurer,Conqueror, King or even OD&D with little issue. 

The pulp elements are strong, the 'Weird Tales' vibe here runs throughout the adventure, and campaign edge of the adventure seems to hover around the plot line waiting for the right dungeon master to make this one a part of the world of Temple of the Ape. I really love the cartography and the maps of this adventure along with the black & white art work that runs here and there. The layout is clear and crisp with the pages easy to read on my old eyes. At three dollars The Devil In The Crypt is well worth your time but wait there's more to this adventure. Hovering just in the background is some old school style gonzo material that could be used to connect Devil In The Crypt to a Carcosa or other LoFP style adventure. This makes the replay value of this adventure much more appealing to me as a consumer & dungeon master.
Don't forget to keep the dice rolling & have plenty of replacement PC's ready! Easily able  to replace your maimed or killed victims who venture into the Devil in the Crypt adventure. There are some really nasty twists in this adventure that can ruin a party's day.

All of this lends The Devil In The Crypt an almost Saturday Matinee pulp quality that bleeds off of the adventure infecting the whole affair with a Weird Tales tone. This makes this adventure even that much better for DM's looking for something slightly off beat with the makes of a well done sword and sorcery adventure for their players to cut their teeth on.


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