Monday, September 2, 2019

OSR Review & Commentary On The Free 1st Level Adventure Frank Schmidt's F1 Zombie Curse

There are very few Ravenloft modules but with Halloween coming up I've been quietly searching around. The Undead are a must just around Halloween & fortunately there are a few lower tier & lower level adventures floating around. Frank Schmidt's F1 Zombie Curse just happens to be one & today was a bank holiday here in the States. So I had a moment of time to check over the  Dragon's foot site once again & here's Frank Schmidt's F1 Zombie Curse .

"As you begin your travels to fame and glory you have discovered the road is actually paved mostly with dirt and boredom. You have heard of the caravan attacks at Feastelburg and have begun to make your way to fame and fortune. As light begins to fade from the sky you have come upon a sign welcoming you to the small lake community of Crystal Shores. What appears to be a smoldering funeral pyre is near the lake’s edge and a small group of children play near the road. Your journey to the caravan raiders is halfway there. A few more days and you will begin your life as adventurers!"
 Frank Schmidt's F1 Zombie Curse  is an Advanced Dungeons & Dragons module that clocks in at twenty three pages & while its not extremely well done. It hits the high notes for being easily customizable & easily adapted to Ravenloft. 

The tone of  Feastelburg is a dark one as the zombie plague ravages to the village. The adventurers are going to have to do some fast figuring as the adventure set pieces are outlined. The cartography could have used a bit more work but the layout is readable. This is a first level adventure & dungeon masters might want to add a bit more to fill out the meet of this adventure. The undead & locations are exactly what it says on the tin.
There's an artifact causing problems & the party could be easily overwhelmed at first level if the players are not careful.

The zombie, as depicted in the original Monster Manual (1977).

Crystal Shores promises some action & it does deliver but DM's are going to have to work a bit to add it into the mists of Ravenloft. Frank Schmidt's F1 Zombie Curse  is a useful adventure  with possibilities for continuation into a small campaign or into the larger mist filled horrors of Ravenloft. And this is exactly the sort of an adventure layout I'm looking for. Could 
Frank Schmidt's F1 Zombie Curse  be used for other retroclone systems?! Yes & I'm looking directly at Lamentations of the Flame Princess. Frank Schmidt's F1 Zombie Curse  could introduce the PC's to the world of Dark Europe. The shadow of the Black Death looms & a dark supernatural horror has taken on its ominous tone here in Crystal Shore. Undead are the perfect way to add in that element of the occult without wiping out the entire party right off unless they are very unlucky.

Sure I'm going against the grain of Lamentations but 
F1 Zombie Curse gets the PC's into the action without completely vaporizing the party that later LoFP adventures have the potential to do. Yes I can entirely see using F1 Zombie Curse  with Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea. Crystal Shores is sparse enough to mold the setting into the Pulpy weirdness of Hyperborea. But I can see using 
F1 Zombie Curse  with Ravenloft where the zombie sickness is connected with the mists. As Crystal  Shores drifts closer to the domain of dread the undeath state intensifies. The realm of terror claims the region as another horror crazy quilt piece in its ever expanding reign of evil. That is unless the characters can stave off the rise of the undead.

While  F1 Zombie Curse  isn't going to set the OSR world on fire its a good solid introduction into a horror filled OSR or old school campaign. The adventure even states this in its introduction; "Zombie curse is designed to start a new adventuring party on their road to fame and fortune. The party should have already formed itself and begun a journey to some other location and have to deal with this problem initially. When entering Crystal Shores they will notice mostly normal if not sickly villagers. This village can be the location of some of their adventuring gear they will require. While in the village they should be able to speak with the townspeople and discover a lot of them are becoming ill for unknown reasons. A funeral pyre at the outskirts will be explained that two of their kinsmen turned into zombies and attacked the community" I think that that  F1 Zombie Curse  is a great little module to introduce players into the world of OSR horror Dungeons & Dragons or old school Ravenloft. 

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