Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Review & Commentary On Matt Finch's 'The Spire of Iron & Crystal' from Frog God Games For Your Old School Campaigns


"For centuries, out in the wilderness beyond civilization's reach,

there has stood an enigmatic tower known as the Spire of Iron and

Crystal. It is a bizarre and ancient structure; four massive, eggshaped

crystals are mounted into a twisting, ornate structure of

rounded metal girders, one crystal at the top and the other three

mounted lower down. Moving lights seen inside the huge crystals

suggest that they are hollow and even inhabited, but no one has ever

discovered the secret of how to enter them. This is not surprising, for

the tower is located on a broad stone ledge halfway up a sheer cliff

face, the glassy walls of which have killed several adventurers who

attempted to climb down to the tower almost a hundred feet below.

Over the course of the last few months, with considerable effort and some

highly questionable methods, the adventurers have assembled quite a bit

of information about the Spire - things not widely known, even among

the wisest sages of the lands."

So right now Frog God's having this huge sale because of Black Friday. But its been a bit of Castles & Crusades that has our attention at the moment & yes Troll Lords has a huge sale on at the moment. But its an older title that has our attention today. Matt Finch's 'The Spire of Iron & Crystal' from Frog God Games is one of those adventures that's  been  sitting on the  hard drive for many years now. Its a nasty little romp of a dungeon for PC's levels 5-8. 

 This is one of those adventure that's gotten good reviews over the years from other corners of the OSR. But what the Hell were Frog God Games thinking with their own Drivethrurpg cover artwork. It does nothing for the module?! Yes we know its part of the 'one night stand' series but com'n on?! The director's cut artwork is so much better. Even Ten Foot Pole liked the 'The Spire of Iron & Crystal' & we almost never agree on anything. More over this is a really 'nice alien outpost on the edge of the wilderness dungeon'. 
I'm thinking of sticking 'The Spire of Iron & Crystal' into my version of a combined Carcosa/Cha'alt setting.
As Grognardia's review of 
'The Spire of Iron & Crystal'  gets into the heart of the module; "The Spire of Iron and Crystal is a "pure" adventuring locale. Although there is a brief backstory about the korog and the original purpose of the Spire, very little of that comes into play unless the referee wishes it to do so. There are no essential encounters, boxed text describing your character's feelings about this eldritch place, or dramatic speeches by the Big Bad Evil Guy. What you get instead is an extremely well presented dungeon filled with weird magic and technology, clever traps, deadly monsters, and commensurate rewards. Yes, there's some great potential here for expansion. I can easily see using this module as the kick-off of an extended campaign involving the korog and their underground civilization, but, as written, the module makes no demand that the referee or the players be interested in such things. The Spire of Iron and Crystal is thus a fine modern example of the location-based approach to adventure design that gave birth to some of the best modules in D&D history." 

For me this is going to be a perfect set up because of the dungeon's alien nature & over all weirdness. Its hard to really review it without giving too much away! This a module that seems straight outta of the weirdness of Seventies original Dungeons & Dragons! 

The nice part is that I think  that 'The Spire of Iron & Crystal'  may work very well with both Castles & Crusades as well as Adventurer, Conqueror, King rpg. Already we' ve got plans for this dungeon to appear in a central part of the campaign axis so its gonna be a question of simply slotting it into the mix! And that's one of the best parts of a good old school module is the ability to slot it into an on going campaign. 

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