Sunday, September 8, 2019

OSR Brain Storming - Using Castles & Crusades Monsters & Treasure Book To Create An Instant OSR Adventure Location

For me everything begins with a good monster book & I tend to build the dungeon around it. Today I want to create a Cthulhu Mythos style dungeon location with a twist or two. Fortunately I happen to have my copy of the Castles & Crusades Monsters & Treasure book

Lately readers of this blog know I've been on a Castles & Crusades rpg kick, I dusted off my Monsters & Treasure book on a Sunday. Not only do I love reading these books but doing research, reading other's reviews, etc. there's often some nugget of wisdom that you find that you might not be expecting. The review of Monsters & Treasures by  Alexander L. had a very interesting little tid bit;

"Now at 178 pages, Monsters & Treasure is pretty slim compared to some other bestiaries. The 5e Monster Manual is twice the page count at 352 pages, and it’s JUST monsters. Numenera‘s Ninth World Bestiary is about the same size and that game has only been out for a year, so you would think after all these years and printings, that Troll Lord Games would beef up poor old Monsters & Treasure by now. Alas, it is not to be. Of course, Monsters & Treasure is a fraction of the cost of the 5e Monster Manual so the reduced price of the C&C bestiary matches the reduced page count. That said, if you find that Monsters & Treasure doesn’t have all the cannon fodder and antagonists you need it to, you might want to invest in Tome of the Unclean or Classic Monsters. Both are fairly cheap and contain a good deal of monsters to supplement the core Monsters & Treasure book. Monsters & Treasure does have all the big name creatures like dragons, vampires, werewolves, elementals, golems, orcs and more, so you probably should start with this one.
Aesthetically, Monsters & Treasure has never looked better. Sure a lot of the art is reused and is simply in color now, but after years of black and white only books from Troll Lord Games, I can’t express how fantastic this thing is in colour. The inking and colouring jobs make the piece look like they always were in color. It’s gorgeous. I really enjoy a lot of the new art too, especially the cover where that Ranger is about to shoot an arrow down the gullet of a red dragon."Make no mistake Monsters & Treasure is a monster book in every sense of the word & its perfectly suited to its job of creating solid OSR & old school style encounters. But with a wave of the dungeon master's hand its also perfectly suited to be a Halloween adventure construction book. Dungeons & Dragons has always had this conceit within it. But reading through some of Monsters & Treasure I stumbled upon the entry on the Kraken & was reminded of The Watcher in Water from J.R.R. Tolkein's Lord of the Rings. I've seen various D&D style incarnations of the watcher in old school & retroclone products over the years. From dungeon krakens to tendril drakes the species of the watcher has trickled down into the realm of Dungeons & Dragons editions including its representative clones. My personal theory about the Watcher is that its one of the Nameless Things, I believe the Nameless Things to be of a similar nature to Ungoliant, primordial beings from before the Songs of the Valar. Gandalf says they are in fact older than Sauron, thus older than the Maiar. Now I'm thinking about a Halloween dungeon with a Watcher style kraken in it. The thing would be best represented by the RPR77291 Bones Kraken Miniature from Reaper. From here its a simple matter of knocking together the adventure location.
From here its a simple matter of taking Monsters & Treasures putting the treasures in the lair & going from there. But I'm very tempted to make this an unusual Russian/Slavic adventure location with something like an Aboleth style creature at its center. The kraken as a guardian at the dungeon location's entrance. 3533 Goroloth Drone Dark Heaven Legends Miniatures is a good Aboleth stand in. And its got all of the high notes that I need for this thing coming up. Imagine a lone Aboleth out in the middle of a Slavic wilderness with a lake location nearby.

 All of the villages for miles around are under the control of this thing & its got quite the kingdom going for itself. A few hundred cultists working for it & some peasants go missing from a nearby village & we've got an instant adventure location. I was looking at Reaper's Kulathi Left Handed (3) By Artist: Bob Ridolfi from the  Bones line as well & these things are perfect to convert this location to a Pulp adventure location for say Jason Vey's Amazing Adventures! rpg. 

 So perhaps this cult is taking over large swaths of the 1940's Maine or Canadanian/USR areas & the PC's are called in to deal with this situation. Maybe this cult crosses into Black moor or Greyhawk or some other OSR/ old school campaign setting. But this might be coming together. But this was all sparked by a read through of  the Castles & Crusades Monsters & Treasure book.

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