Saturday, July 27, 2019

Updated & Expanded Review & Commentary On The Basic D&D Adventure CM3 Sabre River By Douglas Niles and Bruce Nesmith For Your Old School Campaigns

"You are a guest of the count, one of your allies and the strongest man in the region. Your sojourn has been pleasant, a nice change after weeks of battle. Suddenly the courtyard below your window is filled with the noise of galloping horses. More guests? 

You yawn as you look out. But these people arriving look more like tax collectors than guests. You decide to give your attention to something more interesting, like dinner. 

Relax while you can, friend, because these new arrivals are about to lead you to a crimson sailor, a cozy Tower of Terror, and a river with an aching heart. 

Sabre River includes a complete campaign setting, new NPCs, dungeon and wilderness encounters, and a mysterious story."

Tonight I was asked which module I thought could be adapted into an OSR Sword & Sorcerers campaign module with the zeroing in on task of taking on the higher levels of play. That was a simple one for me its CM3 Saber River by Douglas Niles. Yes you read that right Sword & Sorcerers because this is style that CM3 Saber River catters to. A clever series of dungeon crawls & delving that are centered around 
involving politics, warfare, and the rule of domains. This is exactly the sort of module & adventure that Adventurer, Conqueror, King, Rpg's Heroic Fantasy Handbook was designed to handle

First of all grab the Adventuring in the Northlands by Giampaolo Agosta from Threshold Magazine issue 6 over at the vaults of pandius website. And the Norwold Region
by members of the Italian MMB. These two lovely add ons are going to help fill in background & gaps so that you the DM can decide how & what you want to add or subtract to the adventure module experience. For the final article grab Mages of Mystara, AC 1000 by Marco Dalmonte. Why? Because the biggest flaw according to the Drivethurpg product entry & some of the reviews I've seen on line; " the adventure also reveals its biggest problem: the River is assumed to be in the domain of a player, acting as a new domain-level problem for them … so the designers couldn't explicitly define where the river fit in the lands of Norwold! Most fans have identified it as one of the two major rivers running south of the Alpha Peninsula, from the Wyrmsteeth Range to the Great Bay."
The Crones of Crystykk, who debuted in CM1: "Test of the Warlords" are back & wyrd as ever their perferctly suited for this style of adventure where the high end of ruler ship is at stake. There's a great discussion on the Piazza about the Crones here.  Then you've got an entire bit on the crones & Nortwold gods here. 
My advice is for PC's not to cross the Crones or you could be ripped apart by the whims of fate. The real key issues for this module are in the fan 
magazines: Threshold #6 (2014)Threshold #7 (2015), and Threshold #8 (2015).
 CM3 Saber River by Douglas Niles, is a really clever combination of adventuring, dungeon delving, & out & out deadly fun. Though not a complete TPK the few times I've run this is a deadly adventure. Know that the players are not going to thank you for running CM3 but they will be entertained & romanced as the life force is sucked from their PC's.  CM3 Saber River by Douglas Niles.Relax while you can, friend, because these new arrivals are about to lead you to a crimson sailor, a cozy Tower of Terror, and a river with an aching heart" 
There is literally a ton to mine from CM3 including a good solid dungeon romp and even though this is a part of the domain level of high end play this is one of those adventures that actually lives up to the great cover art. This adventure features an  a dungeon inside an active volcano, an underground river trip, and a new monster called the sabreclaw how cool is that. There's plenty to mine from this module but the actual adventure is quite good, there's plenty going on and enough high level material for at least two mini campaigns within Sabre River. The plot involves;" The waters of the Sabre River have been tainted, bringing death or evilness to all who drink from them." and it does live up to the premise in spades! 
Much of Sabre River revolves around the plot elements being present in the kingdom of Norwold, but really because of the very nature of CM3, the events could be moved right into the back part of your own world or even an alternative world or Earth. The Empire of Alphatia might be reconned out of the adventure entirely and the events of CM3 moved onto Hyperborea or some latter day stand in of the late Roman Empire.  There are plenty of pulpy elements to go around in Sabre River and because this is a higher level OD&D module its quite easy to adapt and twist this adventure to suit your own retroclone adventures. Both Lamentations of the Flame Princess and Dark Albion sprang to mind whist reading this one. The DM is going to have to be careful to balance certain adventure elements and expect some PC deaths while moving though the adventure with his players and also even though this is a companion adventure, Sabre River takes full advantage of some of the Expert D&D rules.  All in all Sabre River might be right up your alley if your looking for a high level but differently woven adventure in the old school tradition that mixes high level play and dark pulpy adventure in one package.
I really don't think that 
CM3 Saber River by Douglas Niles gets any of the recognition that it deserves these days. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.