Thursday, February 23, 2017

Free Adventure OSR Adventure Resource The Black Gem By Jeff Sparks For Your Old School Campaigns

So I'm looking around for some options for a pulpy beginning dungeon for a group of experienced D&D and AD&D players for this upcoming Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea game. Then tonight I was doing some OSR research and came the Black Gem by Jeff Sparks. This is the sort of adventure with a Weird Tales pulpy kinda feel but with a straight up sword & sorcery backbone. Intended for low level characters (1st-3rd), it's perfect for a spooky one-shot adventure. The Black Gem throws the heroes right into the deep end of the OSR adventure action. Left for (un)dead in an abandoned necropolis crawling with undead horrors

It clocks in at about nine pages and can easily be adjusted for the AS&SH aesthetic especially given the circumstances that the PC's find themselves in. I would suggest that the PC's be allowed scavenge and root around before the DM hits them with some of the harder encounters and horrors. The PC's are not going to have the chance to grab their normal weapons & equipment when they rush head long into the dangers of this adventure. The execution is dark and dangerous down this end the street. There are parts of this adventure which will challenge and  cause the PC's to come back for more.

This is one of those adventures that's easily adapted into an old school world where the undead are winning against the forces of good and stability. The Black Gem does a good job of creating tensions and sustaining them in many areas they where mood falters. "The PCs must use their wits to survive the night or fall prey to the power of the Black Gem!" The power of the gem is not to be underestimated & PC's need to realize that the power of the undead is growing under its influence.


Layout is clear & concise, the subject is brought to life with little fuss and the PC's goals are clearly laid out. This is a great module to introduce new players into the world of old school gaming and just East of the capital of Hyperborea are several areas where this adventure might work in the wilds. PC's have to survive the night or fall prey to the power of the horrors of the  Black Gem!

The whole adventure is going take about a night's worth of play but its time well spent when the PC's deal with these threats and then go quite literally Hell on Earth. From monsters to treasure everything the Black Gem is geared for adapting this adventure to your home campaigns. Do I think it fits AS&SH? Yes I do and its easily customizable to fit your home school style of OSR setting.

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