Saturday, September 14, 2019

OSR Commentary On The Orc Raids Of B11 King's Festival By Carl Sargeant For Your Old School Campaigns

"Someone has "borrowed" a cleric, and without him, the fabled King's Festival cannot go on. Unfortunately, it looks like the orcs have him, and your characters must rescue him. "
So I've been playing around with & looking over lots & lots of B/X  & Advanced  Dungeons & Dragons adventures over the last six to eight months. Now let's dive into the deeper B/X pool with an adventure that seldom gets mentioned.

If your looking for a B/X Dungeons & Dragons adventure that will actually take your PC's from first through fourth without the iconic drivel that seems to follow in the wake of Keep On The Borderlands. Let me point you all in the direction of one of the most under sung modules to come out post classic era TSR then B11 King's Festival might be just what your looking for. This introductory adventure will take your PC's from levels one right through four with action, danger, & plenty of actual plot.
This is an adventure that takes the humanoids & orcs especially bringing them where they belong front & center. So I know what your thinking, " What the hell does this have to do with Sword & Sorcery"? Well I'm glad you asked. The orcs of King's Festival are the nasty & highly dangerous pig faced orc bastards that old school players know & love.
But as good as my word 
B11 King's Festival makes a perfect Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea second edition set up. The fact is that in AS&SH orcs are the product of a mating of Picts with a really nasty Lovecraftian or Clark Ashton Smith pig demon thing.

The result of this is a rather nasty monster with all of the charm of a migraine headache for your PC's. But there's also another hook here for AS&SH players for the DM to take full advantage of,
 "King's Festival provides players and DMs with a valuable introduction to fantasy role-playing in the land of Karameikos."
 If we transfer the events of King's Festival to just outside of the Hyperborean capital of Khromarium then suddenly things take a very weird turn of events. All of this might center on Petrides the evil NPC behind all of the events of this adventure. He could well be connected with the thieves/assassins guild  network of one of the Vorloi, Radu, and Torenescu families Atlantian royal survival families in Khormarium from my version of B6 The Veiled Society.

What King's Festival does doesn't just set up B6 but also puts orcs dangerously close to the Hyperborean capital & sets up events for either an earlier brush with Keep on the Borderland or a combat round about with Night's Dark Terror waiting in the wings. This all culminates in the awakening of the Lovecraftian forces of 'The Temple of Elemental Evil' set on Hyperborea.

I've written about The Temple of Elemental Evil way too many times on this blog. But there's a more subtle & insidious reason to pick 
B11 King's Festival as introductory adventure. B11 puts the PC's square on the path of domain level play, the PC's are in the cross hairs of the royals of the adventure & destined for greatness or the headman's ax. The stakes here are perfectly aligned for a Sword & Sorcery campaign set against the Adventurer, Conqueror, King rules set. 

I've used B11 King's Festival in the past as a set up for a  Dark Avalon campaign. The 'orcs' were debased humans that had been mutated by the chaotic energies of Fairyland. There were  the ruins of Elven engines nearby allowing the animation of the dead. This all centered around the occult gateway that was beginning to open up again allowing a crossover into the dread realm. The set up here was the fact that the kidnapping by the 'orcs' was the first salvo of the Rose War.  The adventurers were pawns in the game of the royals. My point is that B11 King's Festival is flexible as it is useful.  If your going to set B11 for Dark Albion make sure that you use Cults of Chaos.

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