Wednesday, January 9, 2019

OSR Commentary & Review Meat In A Tavern By Matt Finch - A Jordoba Campaign Introductory Adventure For The Swords & Wizardry Retroclone System

"Meat in a Tavern takes place below the Happy Ending Tavern (also known as the Sign of the Cleaver), in the Grim Quarter of the City of Jordoba — or any fantasy city you might choose. The Grim Quarter is essentially a holding-pen type of neighborhood for the city’s most dangerous residents, the ones allowed to live here for their skills or strength, but only to reside within the walls of the Grim quarter. Hired ogres are the best example of the Grim Quarter’s populace, working for their employers by day as guards or heavy laborers, but not free to roam the streets at will after curfew. Jordoba has a long tradition of monster-related violence in its streets and alleyways, but exerts best efforts to at least keep it to a minimum. "
 Clocking in at thirty pages Matt Finch brings his latest efforts in adventure to the table in his strange campaign setting of 
Jordoba from his on line campaign play. The planes of  Jordoba are decaying & all kinds of strange horrors lurk just around the corner in this Sword & Sorcery world. This campaign is a part of the Swords & Wizardry line of retroclone adventures. Matt Finch sent the Meat In A Tavern adventure  over to me. 

The idea here is that the adventurers instead of the usual party of adventurers meeting in a tavern for adventure & dungeon crawl plunder. Instead here the player's PC's are prisoners as part of a very nasty group of ogres dinner plans & business in the campaign's city;
"This adventure is a good way of introducing characters to each other and starting them off as companions on their first adventure — and is also a good place to “imprison” the characters if they are taken down by what would otherwise have been a total party kill in some other adventure. I don’t advise using the adventure as written unless it’s a first adventure or the consequence of the characters’ actions (getting defeated and sold to the slugs) because otherwise yanking characters into an escape scenario is a slightly cheap trick. However, Meat in a Tavern also works as a rescue scenario, where the characters start on the outside and try to free a prisoner or have some other reason to be entering the slugs’ complex from the outside."

So already we've got a twist on the usual beginning or introductory adventure which puts the PC's right into the middle of the action. The layout is very well done & the text is done in the comic book style of the Jordoba line of projects. The writing is up to Matt Finch's standards & like some of the basic hooks & ideas here.
What I'm I talking about?! You've got ogres in a city supplying other monsters with a food network that Hannibal Lector would be envious of!  I forgot to mention the giant  slugs. There's a really nice monster ecology twist on the usual Dungeons & Dragons giant slugs. And the one thing I know is that every D&D player & dungeon master I know for some reason loves giant slugs?!  For some reason the artwork from Meat In Tavern wouldn't work but since this is a Swords & Wizardry module it will work with Advanced Dungeons & Dragons first edition too.

Artwork for the AD&D first edition Monster Manual Used Without Permission. 

Trade Marked & Copyrighted to Wizards of The Coast. But com'n look at that adventurer running for his life. That's what's gonna happen in Meat In A Tavern. 

So why do I like Meat In A Tavern so much?! Because the best adventures are also tool kits & this is one of those. It provides the dungeon master with a dynamic adventure location that also doubles into the idea of an ogre run thieves network or guild in the background of this adventure. Backed by some very weird & dangerous muscle that will come to scare the crap out of & possibly haunt the PC's later on. Its really going to depend upon what a bastard the dungeon master is.
Can I see running this with Swords & Wizardry?! Yes I can leaning towards doing a 
 Jordoba Swords & Sorcery campaign. The PC's are the 'heroes in the making' but its if they survive the Meat In The Tavern adventure experience. How would I personally run this adventure?! For my own experience I can see throwing this adventure into Hyperborea with little to no modification. There are several reasons for this including some of the background elements & the fact that its so well put together. The fact is that with the elements of Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea second edition.

You could slot Meat In The Tavern right into Brigands Bay in Hyperborea.  Why do I say this?! Because of the fact that there are lots of abandon cities on Hyperborea after the Green Death. So you've probably got all kinds of variations of humanity rubbing shoulders with humans. An ogre run tavern in an inhuman quarter makes perfect sense.

Given the adventure subplots & weirdness this is also an adventure that I could see running with Lamentations of the Flame Princess or another Shot & Pike era game. The PC's of this sort of game are thrown into the prisons & weirdness of 
 Jordoba via Meat In The Tavern. Believe me this is easy given the number of planar doorways & dimensional holes in the setting. Black powder isn't going to make much of a difference in Jordoba. This sort of a fish out of water expedition idea where the characters travel into the badassery of Jordoba. They run afoul of the tavern & its ilk.

The other option here is to run Meat In The Tavern with a traditional original Dungeons & Dragons or Advanced Dungeons & Dragons firs editions set of rules. Here the PC's are again going to be a part of the frame work of the world of Jordora & know their in serious trouble in the clutches of the ogres.

So is Meat In the Tavern worth getting?! In a word - yes! The whole adventure works on a number of levels & actively encourages play. I like the design, the cartography, & layout. The ideas here are interesting & original.
Here are some important 
 Jordoba links: 

Main Jordoba Resources &
where Meat In The Tavern Adventure Will Be Available Here 


Jordoba You Tube Play  resources
and other great stuff from Uncle Matt’s RPG Studio

Swords & Wizardry Complete Rulebook

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