Sunday, April 5, 2020

Review & Commentary on 'The Ruins of the River Gates' By Andrew Hamilton From Footprints (Issue 24 - Jan 2019) Free OSR Fanzine

"This fortification dates back hundreds of years and is nearly a complete ruin. However, river travelers must still pass between the twin towers that overlook the waterway; made difficult by a set of rapids that must either be navigated carefully or portaged around (quickly and cautiously, as the ruins have housed trouble in the past.) The rapids were created when the bridge and gates that once controlled passage up and down the river collapsed long, long ago. Over time, the Ruins of the River Gate have gained a fell reputation."

"Ruins of the River Gates (adventure)"

An OSRIC/1E compatible adventure for 6 to 8 PCs of levels 3 to 6.

So while on Facebook late last night I was talking with a friend about running a dungeon delve but many of the classics are way too well known today. We spoke about  Footprints (Issue 24 - Jan 2019) & its mini module  'The Ruins of the River Gates (adventure)'. Now there's some great content in this issue especially the Lovecraftian monsters & minor deities. But those are another blog entry. Hell I'm saving em. Let's get back to  'The Ruins of the River Gates (adventure)'. This is a mini module unto itself & it has everything that a DM needs to drop his players into a rather nasty adventure location. 
There's a really nice rumor table to start things off &  'The Ruins of the River Gates (adventure)' has a sort of Hammer Horror vibe about it. Author  Andrew Hamilton takes the players on a guided tour of the inner weirdness of the 'Ruins of the River Gates slowly building encounters & destroying PC's as they go. The whole affair feels like a grind house horror adventure translated over to Advanced Dungeons & Dragons first edition. 

Striges, giant rats, & a gallery of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons finest  populates this adventure making  'The Ruins of the River Gates' (adventure) a nice change up for players. There are even the occasional Monster Manual II monster in here.  
'The Ruins of the River Gates' (adventure) allows the DM to bring the Gothic horror feel without the 'complete kill off' factor that many mid range adventures have.
All in all I feel that  'The Ruins of the River Gates' (adventure) makes Footprints (Issue 24 - Jan 2019) worth the download.
But what makes 'The Ruins of the River Gates' (adventure) is the fact that it can easily be slipped into the B2 Keep on The Borderlands By Gary Gygax & the  'The Caves of the Unknown Adventure' By R.C. Pinnell OSR triad.  That I spoke about on the blog the other day.
 Now in no way,shape or form I'm I belittling the rest of the content in Footprints (Issue 24 - Jan 2019) Far from it, the articles are solid & very well done but 'Ruins of the River Gates' (adventure) is perfect for adding into an existing campaign or OSR system.
  1. 'The Ruins of the River Gates' (adventure) is a perfect Greyhawk campaign adventure that goes without saying. 
  2. 'The Ruins of the River Gates' (adventure) could be dropped into Ravenloft whole cloth & with a bit luck the N1 Cult of the Reptile God module By Douglas Nile could be added in the back end making it a horror option for the DM. 
  3. There is an ancient lich or evil that has been using the 'The Ruins of the River Gates' as battery for its resurrection as a part of its evil schemes. 
  4. There are a number of Lovecraftian evils that have been animating the evils of 'The Ruins of the River Gates'. See Footprints (Issue 24 - Jan 2019) for a number of Lovecraftian options for this very adventure. 
  5. Bandits in the area are using one of the side ruins of  'The Ruins of the River Gates' & they've brought a curse upon themselves & the surrounding villages. The bandits alive now serve the evil.
  6.  'The Ruins of the River Gates' is a part of a network of tunnels that feeds into an evil cult's schemes. 
  7. Parts of the  'The Ruins of the River Gates' could hold the bones of the true rulers of the land & might be a part of an evil curse upon several regions in a campaign ripe for adventure expansion. 
  8. There is something 'otherworldly' about  'The Ruins of the River Gates' & while the adventurers are exploring its mysteries they are transported to Ravenloft. 
  9. 'The Ruins of the River Gates'  is connected to the T1 The village of Hommlet because of the evil cults that one raised the land.
  10. 'The Ruins of the River Gates'  are a part of the keeps & castles  of Greyhawk that  guard the planes against planar  marauders & the like but haven't been used in eons so they've fallen to evil.
But for me the real connect for 'The Ruins of the River Gates'  to be used as a a part of X2: "Castle Amber (Chateau d' Amberville)" (1981), by Tom Moldvay. All of the vital clues are there for  'The Ruins of the River Gates'  to become a part of the fog-shrouded Castle Amber's estate. The horrors of the ruins are perfectly suited for Province of Averoigne - a fictional area in Medieval France that was created by "weird fiction" author Clark Ashton Smith! 

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