Friday, October 12, 2018

Review & OSR Commentary The Murder Knights of Corvendark From Monkey Blood Design For The Swords & Wizardry Retrolcone & Your Old School Camapigns

"No one knows from where they came. All feathers and spite. Their vile beaks spit angry screeches, and beneath their wing beats, acrid miasmas swirl.
Within the subterranean caverns beneath Wychington — on the shores of Lake Grimwater — a small part of a region from long ago, or maybe a time yet to pass, has come into existence. Malign and abhorrent half-men, half-crows inhabit this harrowing place. Standing menacingly, clad in the darkest armour, or on their pitch-black wings protected by lighter, piecemeal leather armour, they murder men and feast on their flesh. Strangely resentful of their barely-feathered gods, they despise other living creatures for taking their breaths.
This is Corvendark, and under the sign of an inverted, five-skulled star, the Murder Knights dwell.
Since the coming of this otherworldly realm, the Grimwater Lake region has been plagued by the atrocities of the ‘harpies’ — as they have been incorrectly named — regularly raiding the surface lands. None have been ravaged more so than Wychington, a small town on the northern lake edge at the mouth of the Lesselling River.
It is now that heroes are needed. Who will destroy this menace, or send them back whence they came?"
& the product is full of full on maps! This is an adventure location module. But when I received the email I grabbed my comp copy from Drivethrurpg I was astounded at the number of location based maps & yes this does bloody well plug into the Midderlands setting. But not necessarily for all your OSR campaign needs & I was pleasantly surprised by this. The Murder Knights of Corvendark From MonkeyBlood Design is designed for use with Swords & Wizardry but can easily be adapted for use with OD&D.

There are a lot of traditional Dungeons & Dragons elements within this adventure & that's a good thing. The fact is that many of today's OSR designers & writers try to reinvent the adventure formula. The Murder Knights of Corvendark doesn't do that. Instead it presents the adventure elements in such a way as to give the players & the dungeon master some time get through the adventure in challenging & engaging way. This adventure can be played over six or so sessions in my opinion but if the players are stupid they're going to die in glorious & gory ways.
The cartography is excellent & the writing is up to Midderlands standards. For the most part everything in the The Murder Knights of Corvendark clicks all of the right buttons.  For adapting it to other OSR & old school campaigns. The Murder Knights of Corvendark could with some work be placed within Mystara or perhaps the lands of Greyhawk. Blackmoor might be a bit of a stretch but it would work.  
The Midderlands campaign setting is where
The Murder Knights of Corvendark 
is going to work best. The tone & setting details picks everything in this adventure up with gusto & runs with it.
I can hardly see using
The Murder Knights of Corvendark with Lamentations of the Flame Princess or another dark Europe OSR setting. This adventure would suit Dark Albion & other Europe based OSR games. The theme of the Old Warhammer / White Dwarf old school adventure weirdness is certainly here in
MonkeyBlood Design's efforts in The Murder Knights of Corvendark. Because this is a fifty page adventure location based adventure there's lots to do & events happening within the adventure itself. Sure there is a spooky theme here but its not flat hitting you over the head with itself. There is an investigative & solid way of dealing with players in the module's method. The adventure location areas are well fleshed out but not overwhelmingly so like other OSR adventures. The full theme runs well though out the text here & the dungeon master can & will have to run with certain adventure hooks. Overall I really liked The Murder Knights of Corvendark .
I hope to see more adventure location based modules from
MonkeyBlood Design crew. I'd give this a five out of five because of the above the cut quality efforts from the rest of the OSR crew.

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