Tuesday, March 17, 2020

A Sword & Sorcery Take On The Borderlands - Two Free Modules Lead to An OSR Sword & Sorcery Campaign

"Something evil has descended at the extreme border of the kingdom. Villages are being attacked and citizens are being killed. Some rumors say a coven of witches is responsible for the terror. Other rumors link the attacks to creatures that came from depths of hell. A group of hardy adventurers is needed to stop who or what is behind the attacks."

When it comes to balls to the walls Advanced Dungeons & Dragons sometimes you've got to settle back into the unexpected. That's where LG3: Evil in the Borderlands by Claude M. LeBrun comes in. It clocks in at 25 pages including maps & does the job for a module for characters levels 9-12 from 2016.  It brings home the pain with the PC' investigating an old foe of theirs; "The player character’s old nemesis, the evil wizard Gandilor, is back and he is more powerful than ever. After he was routed from his previous stronghold near Fort Kraken, Gandilor took to the hills to recover and recuperate. After many months he began of searching for new stronghold. He found a new stronghold in the mountainous land to the southeast of the kingdom."

This module is a straight up nasty run at a wizard & its got twists as well as a few turns in the right areas with action heating up an OSR campaign easily. Claude M. LeBrun brings in his usual standard of writing & for a free module this one's got solid encounters & an easy flow to the writing. The encounters are nasty. This one is part three in a module adventure chain; "This adventure was originally written for my kingdom of Sandidar, but the adventure can be inserted into any world. This adventure is the third module in my LG series. Completing either of the previous modules, Module LG1 – Terror in the Forest of Gizzick and Module LG2 – Famine at Fort Kraken, is not required in order to run this adventure. "
That suits me fine and this is obviously a homage to B2 Keep on The Borderlands By Gary Gygax. But it would be unfair to compare LG3: Evil in the Borderlands to B2 The  evil wizard Gandilor, could face the PC's down indirectly during the events of B2 and then encounter him in  LG1 – Terror in the Forest of Gizzick. 

The events in Keep on The Borderlands gives an adventure spine to the surrounding weirdness that comes into play in  Module LG2 – Famine at Fort Kraken, the second or third time that the PC's run into  the evil wizard Gandilor. Fort Kraken is another of those forts in the network that we see in the Borderlands.

"The people living in and around Fort Kraken are starving and they need your help in determining the cause of this famine so it can be stopped. Do your player characters have the mettle to end this tragedy? An adventure for Characters Levels 5 to  9."

Could these modules work in an OSR game such as Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea? The answer is yes & here's how. The evil wizard Gandilor, is an Ixian necromancer hired by the cult of Chaos on one of the old disputed borders between the Vikings & the Keltic tribes. These ancient enemies haven't had an issue in a hundred years but the cult & its humanoid cultists have been slowly stirring the pot especially around the nearby areas of Brigand's Bay.
 The old humanoid birthing generators used by the chaos worshiping Hyperboreans to created disposable troops has been hijacked by cults of chaos to create an instant army. This can be backslid into LG1 – Terror in the Forest of Gizzick.  This whole thing winds up with LG3: Evil in the Borderlands.   Claude M. LeBrun's modules are generic enough that the dungeon master can easily adapt them to OSRIC with little issue.

This combination of modules should take characters from level one right up to nine if they survive. The dungeon master is going to have to work the angles to adapt some of the AD&D first edition elements of  Claude M. LeBrun 's modules  to their favorite Swords & Sorcery campaign but it can easily be done.
The adventure path from first level PC's to ninth & beyond goes something like this: 

  1. B2 Keep on The Borderlands By Gary Gygax. 
  2. Module LG2 – Famine at Fort Kraken
  3. LG3: Evil in the Borderlands.
From here the action can be heated up with adding in the Ghost Ship of the Desert Dunes by Jeffrey Talanian adding a map of the the depths of Diamond Desert in the belongings of the necromancer Gandilor. We strength his ties to the hermit in the caves of Chaos in B2 Keep on The Borderlands By Gary Gygax.  The mystery deepens but its the Ixian  necromancer's speculations about the artifacts that may add the cult of chaos in Ghost Ship of the Desert Dunes.  The time factor may not be on the PC's side as the clock is ticking towards the Hyperborean Winter when things become ice & snow locked. The PC's might be in for a race against time. 

After the events of Ghost Ship of the Desert Dunes the DM could tie the events into running in  the Lug Wasteland with Tim Callahan's The Beasts of Kraggoth Manor where the necromancer Gandilor's maps might lead with his speculations about  long-lost Atlantean technology. 

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