Saturday, March 21, 2020

Commentary & Review Of The Free OSR Adventure 'The Obelisk of Forgotten Memories' by Gus LaRu For the Labyrinth Lord Retroclone

"A outdoor encounter area and small dungeon complex designed as a supplement for low level ASE exploration and with a focus on the Orbital Gods."

So we're all stuck in quarantine & I've suspended my game campaigns for three weeks or more. Like many folks I've been doing a lot of reading & debating with my players over the phone, via email, etc. And I've been going over notes about various dungeons one of which I came across was about  the Dungeon of Signs blog's free down load adventures. The blog is long gone but some of the great OSR material remains. 'The  Obelisk of Forgotten Memories' is a great low level module intended to supplement 
Patrick Wetmore's wonderful megadungeon the Anomalous Subsurface Environment (ASE) according to Gus LaRu's module introduction; 
"The Obelisk is moderately large outdoor adventure with a small attached dungeon
for a party levels 1-3.
This adventure was occasioned by my players deciding to take a lark into the
wilderness rather than exploring Patrick Wetmore's wonderful megadungeon the
Anomalous Subsurface Environment (ASE). It's my own attempt to create another,
smaller adventure location that seems reasonable within Pat's world. It
contains several elements (guns, ancient technology, God's eye's) that won't
make sense outside of ASE, but I suppose it could be run as a simple graveyard
based cult-smashing expedition in with a little modification. It's also an
attempt at an adventure in the old style of the TSR products I grew up with, or
at least as I remember them played in the hands of murderously inclined pre-
teen boys on lazy Summer afternoons. The encounters within are not scaled to
allow a 1st level party to win in a stand-up heroic fight. There are encounters, and even individual creatures (especially the special random encounters), quite capable of slaughtering a party within a couple rounds, but this is how it should be, as they can be avoided or negotiated with." 
 'The  Obelisk of Forgotten Memories'  although its meant as an addition to  Patrick Wetmore's wonderful megadungeon the Anomalous Subsurface Environment (ASE) it could easily be used for either Mutant Future or even Gamma World fourth edition.

This brings up an interesting point here about  'The  Obelisk of Forgotten Memories'   this is a straight up Swords & Sorcery module unto itself because of the 'gods of death' that are involved here. The module itself is a take no prisoner gonzo balls to the wall mix of old school or OSR Dungeons & Dragons with its science fantasy adventure elements. Gus takes on the material here with gusto but then that was his style. The gonzo encounters here are no holds barred & nasty. 

These are typical of  Patrick Wetmore's wonderful megadungeon the Anomalous Subsurface Environment (ASE) & that brings up my next point.  ASE I & II are perfectly aligned to be used in a Sword & Sorcery campaign as the complete basis.

Could 'The  Obelisk of Forgotten Memories'   be used for Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea?! Yes & no possibly. Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea has its own distinct OSR flavor. But there's more then enough adventure latitude that 'The  Obelisk of Forgotten Memories'  could be dropped into the mix of AS&SH. This is especially true at the edge kingdoms of the Hyperborea setting where not all of the weirdness of Hyerpborea's past has been forgotten. Right now there's a flash sale on a few of the AS&SH's adventure titles that I would take advantage of.

Another possibility that I've been considering lately has been the inclusion of both 
 'The  Obelisk of Forgotten Memories'  & Anomalous Subsurface Environment (ASE) I & II is using them with Adventurer, Conqueror,King's  Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu.

The PC's stumble onto the ancient past of their colony world & things get weirder the deeper into the adventure they go into  'The  Obelisk of Forgotten Memories' . The grave yard  adventure location ultra violent science fantasy weirdness & past all add up to one Hell of a ride. Could the PC's much later on as they level up take over the grave yard?!

Another possibility is using 
'The  Obelisk of Forgotten Memories'  is to add it into a Castles & Crusades game to twist the entire campaign into the direction of sheer Science Fantasy gonzo.

Here the PC's are going to be challenged by the danger that the graveyard & its encounters represent.  The Anomalous Subsurface Environment treatment means that the campaign takes a very different turn then the usual C&C game if the dungeon master decides to go in that direction. 
'The  Obelisk of Forgotten Memories'  isn't without its flaws & some of these are laid bare:

  1. The encounters are exceedingly deadly even for an OSR game but that's ASE's style. So don't whine about it. 
  2. Super amounts of science fantasy gonzo abound & play across this adventure. This is the author's style. 
  3. There are some nasty & very dangerous elements even for an OD&D or the like 
  4. There's not enough of  'The  Obelisk of Forgotten Memories'   in my opinion the adventure left me wanting more. 
  5. Its designed to be super specific to the world setting  Anomalous Subsurface Environment 
With all that said I think that  'The  Obelisk of Forgotten Memories'  does its job well beyond the scope that the author/designer intended. 

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