Friday, December 23, 2016

Review & Commentary On The Buried Zikurat By Kevin Watson From Dark Naga Adventures For Fifth Edition & OSR Systems

The clay mining operation at Caford has discovered a large step pyramid, or zikurat. This imposing structure was buried completely in the clay sheet they have been mining for decades to make brick and other ceramic products. The local miners see what they think is an obvious entrance, but cannot get past the slab of stone. A call for aid is sent to the capital city of Meawold, and the party is sent to investigate.
Could this be one of the Nexuses that traded goods from the subterranean Land of Night to the surface world?

So over the last two or three days I've been going over sword & sorcery resources this includes Dark Naga games second in the Haunting of Hastur series The Buried Zikurat. "The Buried Zikurat is an adventure for three to seven characters between levels six and eight. It is designed for use with Fifth Edition version of Gary and Dave’s RPG. It can be adapted to any fantasy RPG." This is exactly what I'm planning on doing with The Buried Zikurat to adapt it to an OSR retroclone system. This has been made all the easier by the thirty six page OSR version of The Buried Zikurat, "This module is OSR Compatible and can be used with any old school RPG or modern clone . It was designed with the classic
version of the game in mind but with minimal changes can be used with original or advanced rules or their clones.
Encounters are listed in the following format:
Orcs (4) – AC 6 (13), HD 1, #AT 1, D 1d6
Armor Class is given both descending and ascending values, with ascending values in parentheses. An unarmored character
is AC 9 (10) and chainmail gives AC 5 (14). All encountered creatures use the same saving throws as a fighter of the same level as
their hit dice."
A very simple & easy to work with format for old school gaming systems.

So going all of the way back to August I did a bit of commentary on the Fifth edition adventure The Buried Zikurat . I looked into this this Dark Naga adventure because of its Lovecraftian sword & sorcery heart & I liked what I saw. A lot of care went into the adventure & I got to know the author pretty well too.
So lately I've been looking back into the Adventurer,Conqueror, King rpg system a lot because of its B/X roots. The Kickstarter pdf bundle came with the Book of Lore, The Book of puzzles, A Book of Maps & Illustrations, An OSR version of The Buried Ziggurat adventure, The Fifth edition version of the adventure, & the hi rez scan of the The Buried Zikurat. So you get everything your going to need to run this adventure out of the gate. The adventure picks up with the continuing saga from The Lost Temple of Forgotten Evil (5th Edition Fantasy- OSR) From  Fat Goblin Games.

This is part dungeon crawl, lots of puzzles, some boat loads of monsters, lots of action, and some real nasty bits throughout. This module also sort of has its own implied setting throughout but nothing that a dungeon master worth their salt couldn't adapt, twist, and bend this adventure to their own home campaigns. The art, layout, etc are easy on the eye. This is the type of adventure where there's going to be more then a fair share of investigative work on the part of the PC's. In the events of The Buried Zikurat  there's a lot of investigative work with an actual plot where the PC's actions can make a real difference to the world setting in the short & long term.

This isn't an appearance of the Mythos, collect the treasure, kill the monsters, & save the world. There's some really nasty turns for the PC's if they're not careful & actual tragic death & personal destruction. The trick here is that the PC's have to think on their feet or they might end up dead or worse. Yes there are several areas, traps, and tricks that can do more then maim. There is more then a bit of a science fantasy twist to this module. In fact parts of this adventure feel as if the cycles of one fantasy campaign ended and another began especially with things such as;"Places where treasures of the subterranean kingdoms, like mithril weapons, were traded for surface goods. Bastions of trade that were lost during the fall of the First Age of Man. Why has it been dormant for almost two millennia? What lies within? Is it a threat to Caford, or the Kingdom of Meawold as a whole?"

On the whole I actually liked the 
The Buried Zikurat  but I also think that it would take a bit of work to use it with other  OSR settings but its really going to depend upon what the DM is looking for in his or her OSR adventures. There's a great degree of weirdness & plot within this module. I like that and think that more of it needs to be applied for other OSR products. This one is isn't strictly hack and slash, instead this is a thinking DM's adventure with some good solid hooks for overt long term hook in and campaign play.

All in all I really enjoyed
The Buried Zikurat & how it plays out, I'm actually thinking of running some of my players through this one after the holidays.

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