Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Review & Commentary on Beyond the Ice-Fall By Joseph D. Salvador & Raven God Games For Swords & Wizardry White Box & Your Old School Campaigns

Recently I've put a six month hiatus on doing reviews for this blog mostly to concentrate on my own writing, designing,running, & enjoying the OSR games that I own. The reasons for this are myriad but it all comes down to a matter of time & work. There are going to be exceptions from time to time but those are going to be under my purview; I'm getting very picky these days. When Joseph D. Salvador contacts me about an adventure with artwork, writing, & interior pieces done by Del Teigeler. .Well Beyond The Ice Fall  is worth checking out.

Well now you've got my attention but then when I begin checking out Beyond The Ice Fall. It turns out that this is a Sword & Sorcery style adventure for Swords & Wizardry. We'll let that bit slide for now & come back to that later, for the moment this adventure has been inspired by Algernon Blackwood’s The Glamour of the Snow  Robert E. Howard’s The Frost Giant’s Daughter.

"In the village of Askibakken, the winter has been harsh and an unnatural blizzard has gripped the area. The village chieftain has called upon young warriors to search for a missing supply ship, but this endeavor leads the adventurers into a mysterious adventure. Will the party discover what lies Beyond the Ice-Fall?"

This is basically a good old fashioned crawl and investigation style adventure using a good solid easily adaptable premise for PC's levels 1-3 not 6 to 20,but levels one through three. The adventure clocks in at a reasonable twenty pages is a fully enclosed package that can be used for a wide variety of OSR style games with some adaptation on the part of the dungeon master. The quality is up to Raven God Games standards and the cartography is particularly well done with evocative interior pieces. The writing flows smoothly & the encounters seem well balanced for the Nordic style mythological setting of the adventure. There is a Frazetta & Robert Howard style to Beyond The Ice Fall but its not a coy rip off but a well thought out homage to the classic sword & sorcery pulp material. Let's me state this right off a stupid party of adventurers are going to end up very dead in no time flat. This isn't an instant TPK adventure but a thinking man's sword and sorcery adventure. This adventure is as much OSR adventure resource tool kit as it is adventure with a viking flare. You've got  a mini-setting, a dungeon crawl with room for expansion, two maps, new monsters, new magic items, new spells, and a viking name list. Everything here is balanced towards old fashioned play, in other words this is a pick up and go adventure. Can it be played with original Dungeons & Dragons besides Swords & Wizardry White Box? Absolutely & it can also be used as a fill in for an Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea first edition adventure with some  adjustments.  But be warned this has some tricks, traps, and twists to it.
The adventure flow here is wickedly dangerous and the PC's are messing with otherworldly powers from beyond ken of men.

Vikings added for color & for  pulp effect these Vikings don't appear in the adventure
but these could be your party of fools errm adventures dealing with the events of Beyond The Ice Falls.

Now for the obvious question, could this adventure be used with Mad Martian Games  Ice Kingdoms OSR campaign setting book? Well, with some adjustments using the conversion tables within the Ice Kingdoms book sure. In fact I'd go so far as to say that
Beyond the Ice-Fall is the sort of beginning adventure that I was hoping was going to be used for that setting. But I think that the village of Askibakken stands on its own. I'd adapt this adventure for any OSR Viking, Nordic themed, or OSR sword & sorcery campaign in a heart beat. This is a top draw quality adventure simple with  nuances of complexity in the right places and plenty of room for OSR DIY D&D customization on the part of the dungeon master.

In fact I would say that this adventure with little modification could infact be used with other OSR settings such as Dark Albion where the Vikings of Beyond The Ice Fall could be used to fill in one or more factions from Dark Europe's Norse regions. The material here is loose enough to fit the adventure ideals of the setting and easily adaptable which in my opinion is one of the strengths of it. This is an adventure worth grabbing and getting in on.
Five out of five

Get it at DriveThruRPG! It will be on sale 20% off until March 24!

Now I'm going back to a six month hiatus for a while. Thanks for your continued support.

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