Thursday, December 14, 2017

Adapting Beyond the Crystal Cave (Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Module UK1 By Dave J. Browne, Graeme Morris, & Tom Kirby For Your Old School Campaigns

Fleeing the rage that consumed their feuding families, Juliana and Orlando fled to the Cave of Echoes, where it is said every wish is granted. Two years have passed, and all attempts to return the lovers to their parents have failed, though some believe them lost in the enchanted garden beyond the cave. Many are the rescuers venturing into that enchanted park; a few have returned after long absences, their minds and memories curiously disturbed.

Alright so yesterday I wrote briefly about U.K1 Beyond the Crystal Cave by British designers Dave J. Browne, Tom Kirby, and Graeme Morris, and published by TSR in 1983 as a thirty two page booklet. So it trails in for PC's levels four through seven. Its sort of set within the confines of Greyhawk but its got a very midevil English countryside approach with a very differently enchanted fairyland sort of feel to the adventure taking place within Sybarate Isle in the Hold of the Sea Princes. The size of the isle has always been a source of contention among DM's & players. For me its always been U.K.1's setting situated someplace between Robert Howard's Solmon Kane with the threat of his Conan Picts someplace out there in the far away. The sort of backwater adventure location that could be dropped into War Hammer Fantasy Rpg first edition or Advanced Dungeons & Dragons with little issue. 

Yeah sort of like this but with more Fiend Folio first edition monsters!

The PC's are hired to rescue a recently eloped couple that has fled into the Cave of Echoes & its from here where things go wrong. This is a thinking man's adventure where experience points are rewarded for role playing your way out of situations. You as the DM are going to have to think on your feet & move on the trot when it comes to seeing where the PC's take events in Beyond The Crystal Cave. Because kids this is Shakespeare meets AD&D first edition & its an adventure that does it with style.

The PC's are going to have to be wily & clever to enter the Crystal Cave then enter Porpherio's Garden. The Garden is on the island of Sybarate. This isn't as easy as it sounds. There's lots of possible complications, drama, & possible circumstances to easily murder a seventh level PC with easy. The trips, traps, & encounters are balanced but for the thinking rpger & AD&D 1st edition player. Could this adventure be adapted for retroclone systems today? Quite easily because U.K.1 has its roots firmly within Celtic mythology & it wears these on its sleeve!
In fact this module could be transported whole hog into a variety of retroclone systems starting with Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea second edition. The combination of Fiend Folio monsters & AD&D 1st edition makes this one a nature for the Keltic based nations. The easy of slipping this into the bounds of Hyperborea might need a bit of a push here & there. But all in all it will easily fit into the campaign setting.

I can easily see this  adventure module working for Dark Albion as well where the families become mid tier royals & the PC's have to find the couple as part of the background tapestry of the Rose War. The monsters & adventure background fit the whole cloth of the setting nicely. The lay out & clear writing are hallmarks of the U.K. series.  I can easily see adapting this module into a Lamentations of the Flame Princess rpg campaign with more then a few twists & turns!

U.K. 1 Beyond The Crystal Cave isn't for everyone, the module works on a number of levels with its writing, investigative style, quirky subject matter, approach to role playing rather then the traditional Dungeons & Dragons dungeon crawling. For some it remains a cultclassic with its revolutionary approach but for others its not their cup of tea. For me its an old favorite of mine.

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