Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Review & Commentary On “Ynys Bach”: A Celtic-flavoured one-page island adventure for OSR & Old School Campaigns

"Amid the rolling swells of a great ocean – possibly the Sea of Os'r – stands a craggy isle. PCs might find Ynys Bach by chance while “wavecrawling” or they might be led here by a treasure map. The surf pounds against a rocky shoreline, but two beaches of pale sand make viable landing sites for seafarers. "
“Ynys Bach” is a Celtic mythological themed one page adventure  for mid level play for old school games. This is a very nasty little piece of business packed into a one page package from 2013 let me tell ya. “Ynys Bach”  works on three levels. One it works as an adventure location especially for Celtic Otherworld island adventure location encounters. Alan Brodie does an excellent job of ramping up the action with his Formorians being absolutely nasty.
I can absolutely see using 
“Ynys Bach”  as a mid tier to upper level adventure mini module in Celtic themed Original Dungeons & Dragons or in a Swords & Wizardry campaign. But this is not a module to take lightly.

 A  Fomorian from the Advanced
Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual II

Where could 
“Ynys Bach”  dropped into in  OSR or old school gaming systems?! “Ynys Bach” could be dropped whole cloth into an Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea campaign whole cloth. The island can easily be dropped into the edge of the world of Hyperborea & it wouldn't be out of the Sword & Sorcery weird tales theme of the game. 
“Ynys Bach”  would also fit as a last out post of the Formorian royals or as single former fortress to a degenerate kingdom lurking under the waves. 

The Fomorians, as depicted by John Duncan (1912)
 Claw Carver does an excellent job of setting up “Ynys Bach”  as a greater part of an island hopping campaign something that we see quite a bit of in Celtic mythology. I've used this gambit several times in campaigns to bring home the dangerous & nasty business of 'wave crawling'. Overall I think that  “Ynys Bach” succeeds on a number of levels & especially as a solid mid level one off OSR adventure location. 
I could easily see this one page adventure being used for Castles & Crusades's 
The Codex Celtarum with some very minor adjustments. The PC's are exploring & exploiting the former realms of the gods. Their holdings are now in the hands of the ancient twisted giants of legend. 

 On the flip side of the coin “Ynys Bach”  could be used as the basis for a complete rework of a Celtic mythological Adventurer, Conqeuror,King rpg adventure in which the PC's are challenging & taking over the ancient holdings of the gods. This island is one more chess piece on the board. 
Given this I can also see using  “Ynys Bach” as a part of an old school high level D&D Expert campaign with a Celtic mythological bent. This adventure location could be dropped whole cloth into a full on Expert D&D  Sword & Sorcery campaign as well. For Mentzer Dungeons & Dragons we're talking easily The 
D&D Companion Rules Set (1984). 

Ynys Bach"  Is Available Right Here. 

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