Thursday, February 4, 2021

OSR Commentary - The Sword of Ultan - Using 'Sword of Cepheus' By Omer Golan-Joel, Richard Hazlewood, and Josh Peters With Through Ultan's Door issue #1 By

"Go through Ultan's door in this inaugural issue into the Ruins of the Inquisitor's Theater, a 30 room dungeon for a party of 3-5 characters of 1-2 level, replete with oneiric puddings, delicate shadow puppets, giggling white swine, and much more. This 36 page zine contains everything you need to launch a D&D campaign in Zyan, flying city of the dreamlands."

 Its been a very long day here at Casa De Fabiaschi & the sun is setting low on the horizon. Ben Laurence's kickstarter for Through Ultan's Door issue #3 is hitting the 25,514 mark. Ben is someone whom that that every confidence to come through this Kickstarter with flying colours. Let's do another thought excercise with this one being the fact that can Through Ultan's Door issue #1 be used with 'The Sword of Cepheus' From Stellagama Publishing?! The answer is yes in a couple of areas in this one hundred & forty page rpg that uses the Mongoose OGL as its basis. 

The advantage that   'The Sword of Cepheus' has is the complete lack of a real deep water campaign setting history. This is a fantasy OSR game that uses the familiar 2d6 system & then takes a Dungeons & Dragons like cloak & drapes it over itself. So this means that  'The Sword of Cepheus' works as the basis for a Through Ultan's Door  campaign. The PC's start within a sorta of stable urban or country enviroment for epuipping, spending coin, etc. but things quickly get weird as the micro dungeon enviroment of Through Ultan's Door unfurls. Starting things off at a lower tier of adventurers with skills to match makes sense here. 

The unreality & yet very engaging campaign & dungeon setting of Through Ultan's Door  hits the high marks for a 'The Sword of Cepheus'  campaign because: 
  1. 'The Sword of Cepheus' is a 2d6 PC driven system & its easy to grasp for a beginning player. 
  2. The bizzare nature of the Dreamlands fits the dungeonsque tone of 'The Sword of Cepheus'  nicely without a huge chunk of campaign background to afix to. 
  3. 'The Sword of Cepheus' has the OSR chops to handle the action without vexing the DM. 
  4. Traditional OD&D & B/X D&D easily converts to 'The Sword of Cepheus' 
  5. 'The Sword of Cepheus'  already has many of the same monsters as D&D or its retroclones built in. 
  6. A 2d6 skill driven system works very well with a Dreamlands dungeon. 
  7. The bizarre nature of Through Ultan's Door unfurls as disguised danger as players only grasp its nature far too late. 
  8. The microdungeon means less work for the DM. 
  9. Old School & OSR players have an instant touch stone with 'The Sword of Cepheus'  because of its D&D roots erm original  Traveller rpg roots. 
  10. The weird asthetic dreamlands quality of Through Ultan's Door  means that it can easily be strung from one 'issue' to another to advance a campaign. 

All of the classic Through Ultan's Door are there in issue #1 & by using this issue as the start point for a campaign a DM gains consistency through actual play. This means that the players have a touch stone within the dreamlands. 

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