[Review] The Flooded Temple (OSR); Progress

The Flooded Temple (2017)
M. Greis (Greis Games)
Low Levels

Hidden in flooded ravines lies an ancient temple on the bordering the realm of death. Kobolds seek the place to die, but our adventurers are racing to the temple to retrieve an ancient artefact before the Cult of the Dragon arrives. A treasure hunt in flooded palace guarded by Death’s messenger

The english is uneven. The map is handdrawn. No art. 17 pages. Standard monsters. But the map and encounter design is damn tight. A diamond in the fucking rough that you can throw in your home campaign and be all the richer for it. A fine adventure from the Danes.

Flooded Temple was originally made for the Hinterlandet campaign and introduces a few conventions but is otherwise made for what is, for lack of a better term, generic DnD. The adventure 1) Always takes place in The Lonely Fortress, a secluded outpost on the borders of civilization, 2) There is little treasure 3) Monsters give no xp, but the party gains 100 xp (split between them) each time they explore a room. Interesting.

If you travel upstream, in humanoid infested land, deep into the mountain, you find an ancient temple, half-flooded, in a gorge. Within lies the powerful, army summoning Horn Skraldr. There’s a bunch of hooks, from the Fortress Commander wants you to get it. The Evil Cult of the Dragon (no relation to WotC IP) also seeks the treasure! Simple, robust hooks, no pretense.

The surrounding area is described in rough terms but not mapped. There are no rumors. No wandering monsters. Stats are generic, but clearly meant for OSR. So far it sounds like generic tripe. Instead it exemplifies the OSR design philosophy. Let me count ye ways.

The map is great. Only 24 rooms, but spread across 3 floors, with multiple means of egress, you can climb in, you can swim in, there’s multiple stairways leading up. There’s a hint of symmetry but its largely avoided. Terrain matters too, you can fuck people off balconies, there’s areas in the water where fighting is penalized. Dynamic. And this Dynamic Property is USED.

As the characters are about halfway through the temple the Cult Arrives. Numbers are not given. Many. Berserkers with axes like fucking dragonclaws and dragon helmets and Clerics with Dragon Masks with flame robes. I am seething with rage at the lack of stats but then…almost half a page of tactics, what do they do, do they see the PCs boats? Do they parlay? What other factions will they avoid?

YES I SAID OTHER FACTIONS. The temple of death is used by Kobolds. Kobolds infected with the Plague come there to be eaten by the Giant Spider that lives there as they deem it a temple of death. YEEEES. Young Bugbears painted like Baron Samedi stay some nights inside the Temple as a rite of passage. A lizardman serpent cult ALSO dreams of conquest. Too crowded say ye?

BUT IT WORKS. Everyone has a reason not to fuck with eachother immediately. Everyone can sort of be bargained with. The Kobolds have fuckoff plague so no one really bothers them, the Bugbears are interested in staying alive, the Lizardmen are really interested in murdering the fuck out of everyone else but its just a bit too much for them to handle on their own. And then there’s the Giant fuck you Spider and an underwater Tentacle Monster AND A GRYPHON to keep everyone busy. They all have stuff to do. It feels like a living, breathing place.

The Horn? SECRET BITCH. YOU HAVE A REASON TO EXPLORE THE FLOOR. There’s traps, hints, Indiana Jones Style hidden treasure.

This reminds me of a Doom level. Did you know Doom 2 is still the most popular Doom? People still make maps for it. Some are better and vastly more impressive then anything the original game ever aspired too. They don’t do it for maiden’s kisses, or money or world fame. They do it for love of the damn game. That’s the OSR. That’s this thing.

Is it rough? HELL YEAH.

A foul stench hangs in the air. It assaults your nostrils, as you enter the small chamber. There is only the entrance from which you came, and like the rest of the place the room is flooded, but in here the surface is covered with isles of floating trash trapped by the currents in here. The stench comes from the floating rot.

No monster stats is shitty. The lack of treasure, deliberate, might offend some. The magical treasure is pitch perfect low level magic items. Potions of Roaring Strength, a cursed jade mask, a weird lucky coin. No boring +1 sword stuff.

It’s terse. It’s got a lot going on for such a small map. It’s atmospheric. It’s challenging. Factions. Variation. Negotiation. Schemes. Scams. Indiana Jones Style Traps and mysteries. Fucking Sign me on.



7 thoughts on “[Review] The Flooded Temple (OSR); Progress

  1. You make a strong case for this. I’ve read the preview material, and it takes a while to get going, with the hooks amounting to little more than your superior tells you to go (and that cultists are also interested), and nothing happens on the river journey. An early statement of your summary would help. There does seem to be some attempt to indicate danger level of opponents: kobolds, bugbears and lizardmen are standard enough, and the cultists are variously described as beserkers/fighting men (so weak) and level 2 clerics. But massive spider is a big vague: is it Shelob close to undefeatable, or more like giant spider stats? What is good is standard monsters in far from standard situations, with the potential for genuine faction play. You have tempted me sufficiently to buy I think, as I want to see the map, and magic item descriptions.


    1. The magic items are top class: imaginative variants on the standard types. The map is indeed pretty; it needs to be, as this is a well crafted puzzle dungeon, and you
      will have to explore and get high up to figure it out. And then you will either need some allies or be stealthy (or both) to carry off the prize. These are just read through thoughts, of course, and my only concern is that the players might miss the clues. I’d be interested in some play reports. An account of what happened in the original campaign would be welcome. Four stars (on your scale) might be generous, but this has potential.


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