[Review] Halls of the Blood King (OSE); Welcome to the Machine

[Adventure]
Halls of the Blood King (2021)

Diogo Noguiera (Necrotic Gnome)
Lvl 3 – 5


A new power is rising in the west. The promising Gavin Norman, of deserved Dolmenwood fame, has taken the OSR by storm with his slick, immaculately laid out B/X retroclone marketed to the young and this is the year of his Rising. People have recommended Halls of the Blood King, a Best by tenfootpole, as a target for further reviewing, and what luck, for all the goodness that I had been exposed to had started to thaw my ice-bound heart and dull the blade of the headsman’s axe with all the power of DnD at its most ambitious and wonderful. It is therefore with great joy I can impart to you that Halls of the Blood King is the best adventure that I have ever almost given a negative rating and all who would contest me I will face in single combat.

But how can this be? One asks, as one peruses its gorgeous and colorful art, lays eyes on its obsessively bulletpointed format, nods approvingly at its high concept, the lack of lengthy paragraphs of text and use of multiple factions. The USEABILITÉ, one exclaims. Bryce’s standards are made manifest. But the body has been left without a spirit that animates it. Is Bryce now staring outside the window, gazing contemplatively in his glass of pinot noir, muttering “I have become death, destroyer of worlds?” as he sees the terrible new machine world his innovations have created?

I am often harsh. Skerples’s tomb thing. Two stars. The Dungeon Age adventures? Three stars. High Moors? Fucking three stars (I expect to remedy that one) I gave Veins of the Earth the same rating as the humble Dusty Door by Shane Ward. This is because the measure of the thing is in the sum of its parts, and all great and humble alike, tread in the footsteps of giants. If you want to touch the sun you had better bring wings of adamant. I bring this up because anyone who claims that Halls of the Blood King is bad is off his rocker. It’s polished, eminently useful, creative, colorful and probably fun but it is emblematic of everything I dislike about the new direction of the OSR so it will have to serve as its Emmanuel Goldstein and be martyred for the sins of an entire hobby.

I begin. The concept is good, reminiscent of latter day Castlevania. The King of all Vampires (in the universe!) visits this world every century for a single night in his plane-hopping castle, to have all the vampires of the world reaffirm their loyalty and pay him blood-taxes. It stays on this plane for a single night, and you are there to do various things, maybe steal, maybe rescue someone, kind of up to you. Fantastic premise for something to terrify the shit out of your players after the Giants have been driven into the mountains, the Underdark has been colonized and all the gnomes have been exterminated. And then you see the level. 3-5? What is going on here?

Scale is the first thing that the adventure gets consistently wrong. This is the Vampire Monarch of multiple worlds, and he lives in a castle that is 100 x 100 feet, with 40 rooms? He has about 20 retainers? Perhaps Chateau of the Blood King would have been more adequate? The gates of this plane-travelling bungalow are guarded  by…2 3 HD footmen? Ehhhhh. To its credit, the gate does come alive and bite you if you try to come in unannounced. Climb the spiked fence? The vines animate! That is cool. You can appease them with spilled blood and get across that way. That is clever! There are many ideas in Blood King that are clever and cool, but how they operate as a unit is novice level.

This problem of scale persists throughout the rest of the adventure. There are a total of 12 guests in the manor. Corridors are 10 foot wide at best, a single stairwell 5 foot. There is a spectacular illustration of a great door with a fanged mouth, larger than a house, that belies the cramped layout. THAT is what this place should have looked like. Instead a single central hall with a series of rooms about it. It’s not linear but its very dull. This concept should have been like G1 on Acid and six hours into a metal album. Holy shit you are breaking into a Vampire King’s Palace uninvited. Fuuuuck. There are great Fanged Doors blocking entry into the hall…That’s good…oh but you can also just take the clearly visible servants stairway up to the second level. Okay I guess.

This scale problem goes for the inhabitants of the Halls also. 7 HD vampires, each one a potential death sentence for a 3-5th level party, that’s good, but Noguiera clearly wanted to give you the option to face the major players in this 40 room palace in combat so you have the blood spider queen functioning as a sort of 32 hp Lolth with 4 retainers, the King of All Vampires in the Universe has 11 HD, 55 hp, and no backup plan in case he gets attacked. Granted that is still more then enough to destroy any of the characters in single combat but I can’t help but compare this gentleman, who is supposedly so powerful he has an orrey that holds entire miniature planets and can walk all the worlds, to Strahd, and somehow Strahd comes out the winner.

There’s a good idea that CAN work, a Vampire hunter has infiltrated the palace and has started drinking the blood of a captured vampire (won’t he turn to gaseous shape? Oh apparently chains soaked in holy water would keep him. But doesn’t she run out of holy water?) but she has made her lair in a barricaded room…of a lively 40 room castle. Marvelous. You can see this work in a larger place, with entire floors that have gone decrepit as their ageing lord no longer cares or even forgets whole wings of the place…but this is a lively place that sees visitors paying tribute every other day (I assume? The Palace only stays for one night).

From the descriptions of the garden and the palace, with its blood-drinking carpets with the textures of tongues and its inscriptions of terrible slaughter you get the idea of constant menace, but Halls of the Blood King is actually far too easy and friendly. You enter without an invitation. SHIT SHIT SHIT. Then comes the good design; you can search the coats in the vestibule and find a spare invitation. Awesome. What is the result if you fuck up? 1d6+1 3 HD guards arrive…and that’s it. Oh. Sleep spell. Kill. Take uniforms. Whats next?

There’s a lot of interactivity where something clever can help your chances but I seldom feel that the adventure punishes you if you do something stupid. Treasure is abundant and placed in fairly obvious places, with some complex items like a piano or scraping off the gold on a throne providing some challenges to would-be pilferers but I kept waiting for a vicious trap that never came. A sliding book-closet with spikes to protect a library with volumes worth several thousands, including a fucking spellbook (with a drawback of draining hp, granted). There’s a book on how a vampire may remove his heart and be immune to stakes and fire…and then notes that the King might have done this so as to remove any chance the players fail to graps this clue. His heart is hidden BUT AGAIN NOT GUARDED AND NO TRAP. IF YOU FIGURE OUT WHERE IT IS YOU COULD LITERALLY WALK UP THE STAIRS, PICK THE LOCK AND FUCKING STAKE IT. The key to the damn thing is literally unguarded in somebody’s coat. The dungeon, ah yes, perhaps if I outsmart the guards there are some prisoners I could…there are no guards? How can you keep a vampire in his cell if he can turn to gaseous form? This is the only prisoner?

Everyone who is not a blood thrall seems pretty chill and mostly uninterested in fighting you. We all love faction play, and there’s a way to do it properly. OH HELLO YOU HAVE FOUND US PERHAPS YOU WOULD LIKE TO JOIN OUR SECRET ALLIANCE AGAINST THE KING? Says the kings’s daughter. AHA, THANK YOU FOR FREEING ME, YOU SEE I WAS JUST PLOTTING AGAINST THE KING, WOULD YOU PERHAPS LIKE TO JOIN ME IN ONE? Says the void fungus-infected prisoner. THANK GOODNESS YOU ARE HERE, I WAS PLANNING ON KILLING THE KING, says the Vampire Hunter. THANK YOU FOR FREEING ME, I SHALL SERVE YOU LOYALLY IN EXCHANGE FOR MY LIFE says the Vampire prisoner of the Vampire Hunter. IT IS INDEED FORTUNATE THAT YOU CAME DOWN HERE INTO MY LAIR, AS I AM LOOKING FOR CATSPAWS TO PLOT AGAINST THE KING, says the Blood Spider Queen, who inexplicably has a lair in this 40 room house, despite feeding on vampires. There’s some cute stuff, like a guy who is actually the mortality of the king trapped in the mirror, and you can use the mirror against him, or a banshee noble lamenting the loss of her son, and if you find him she can become mortal again. That’s great stuff, if you dose it properly. But this is not how you do faction play.

Good Faction play is like The Good, The Bad & The Ugly. You have some guys, they don’t like you, they don’t like eachother and while the PCs are preparing to throw flasks of burning lamp oil over them, one of the PCs goes like WAITAMINUTE, LET’S TALK INSTEAD, MAYBE THERE IS SOMETHING WE BOTH WANT. And then you slowly figure out what each side wants, with the PCs switching sides occasionally, since both factions (or more!) probably want to kill the PCs the second they outlive their usefulness. None of that tension, of violence waiting to happen, of shifting alliances, is really here. I’d figure if the King has been around for a while he probably fends off this sort of shit every day. The Blood Queen is the only creature that has the decency to at least betray the PCs to the King if they disclose to her that that’s what they are after.  

The format is almost perfectly utilitarian and reminds me of the description of pop-music compiled by computers from Orwell’s 1984.

East Guest Room
Ransacked
(everything’s scattered on the floor). Blood stains (mortal). Signs of battle (Seleana attacked a vampire guest). Bed, closet and dresser (damaged).

Dresser
Made of dark wood (lighter than it appears, drawers lined with teeth). Fine garments hanging from the drawers (Seleana was seeking something).

▶ Search the garments: If not taken out of the drawers carefully before searching, requires a DEX check not to cut themselves on the dresser’s teeth, suffering 1d4 damage. Examining every piece carefully uncovers a small silver key with an old noble family’s crest—just like the Blood King’s brooch (opens the Observatorium’s sun [Area 34])—and a hand-crafted ivory comb (250gp).

Not a word wasted, easy to find and easy to read. But something is missing? This is almost sub-literate, a step away from using emoji’s and pictographs to describe rooms.

There’s good stuff. It’s a very colorful adventure, and the descriptions of rotted roses that are restored to blooming vitality after drinking blood are cool, animating blood in a golden bathtub is cool, the idea that thralls regain their senses if they fail a morale save is incredible but a good idea, and all the monsters are atmospheric. Vampire guests from alien worlds, the possibilities that that opens up are immense, and yet each of these is reduced to a single motivation and oddity. Treasure is delightful, a kaleidoscope of obsidian knives, hidden (say, if the PCs think of plucking some rare blood or herb and bringing it along), expensive liquors; a kaleidoscope of shiny objects. A sunbeam in a piano. Some of it is fragile or hard to carry, introducing some complications, but never TOO HARD.  

The interaction with the Blood King is actually very dynamic and well done, and it works well with the way the adventure has been designed, as more of a location to explore then anything with a fixed mission objective. That I very much appreciate. If you bring the King a blood rose he is touched, if you perhaps draw the link between him and the bashee lady in the guest room that he never talks to he might even grant you a wish, otherwise he is disdainful and bored and will summon guards to dispatch the Pcs. That kind of rings true, and his treasure, an elixir of life and a crown with gemstones filled with blood, is a suitably tempting target.

The intent is clear: to create something memorable, light-hearted and fun without worrying overmuch about the silly premise or how it all sticks together or making it too stressfull. And that’s exactly why I don’t like it. I have lost the ability to enjoy the well-intentioned work of an OSR novice. I want BIG BOLD SWEEPING Adventures or I want something tight and immaculately crafted like a watch. This falls right between the cracks for me. Rules for dungeon-design are applied, probably by reading Bryce’s blog, but the underlying understanding, what is not communicated but implied, has not yet been absorbed. I would call it well-intentioned but naïve.

I think if this had been scaled down to just some interstellar vampire guy with his household it would have worked better. The factions…its too much for an adventure of this scale. Tone it down. Restrain it. Not everyone needs to plot against the king. Maybe have some dudes plot against eachother.
A King of Vampires, you have to imagine every fucking Vampire is basically Strahd. Then imagine the guy that controls all of them, visiting so many worlds he only stays one day per 100 years. There was a pulpy sci-fi novel about a galactic empire of Vampires by John C Wright, and the head vampire was this nightmarish lump of flesh the size of a celestial body, who held all beneath him in unbreakable psychic duress and held entire systems worth of lifeforce in its protean shape. That’s the kind of guy you start to think of when you hear Blood King. A court filled with alien vampires. The potential is limitless, undead from a distant star. One can imagine a spire carved from the last rock of some dead world of the first vampires, 10 levels deep, eclipsing the sun and animating all the dead within a 100 mile radius. But you get the crappy handheld port.   

Do me a favor if you read this; If you are new to the OSR and into Castlevania or whatever, probably check it out. Are you of average intelligence, do you score high on the Openness to Experience scale, and do you have a low disgust sensitivity? None of the things that I just said will bother you in the least, you won’t notice them, you won’t have an embedded frame of reference that will disintegrate under the myriad contradictions implied by this work and you will just think AWESOME and have a good time, a better time then with some of the more hacktastic stuff around honestly. If you run long campaigns, if you are already familiar with some of the better works of the OSR, or if you are into the more restrained, classic stuff, ESPECIALLY with a higher difficulty curve, I think you will probably have the same response I had and decide how cute and then turn away in spit contemptuously.

I can’t in good conscience give this a ** when I compare it to the voluminous torrents of dross that come out of Hell’s Latrine Pits so I will settle on a very stern and fatherly ***, a single quantum away from a **. Promising creativity and a good premise, coupled with abundant utility, good treasure placement and interactivity but lacks verisimilitude and follow-through and the faction play is too much. The Utility Standard will have to be abandoned soon.

Update: Busted down to 2 stars. We can do better then Not Bad.


44 thoughts on “[Review] Halls of the Blood King (OSE); Welcome to the Machine

  1. I was critical of this one in Bryce’s comments on many of the same grounds as you: too small for the premise, art doesn’t match the writing, the map is boring. There’s one secret door that leads into a tiny room. It would be acceptable if this was the Halls of the Blood Jonkheer.

    This module was a free stretch goal add-on for the OSE: Advanced Fantasy Kickstarter, so it’s going into many people’s hands, including mine. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it.

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    1. I can buy Moldvay Basic on DTRPG, not to mention Labyrinth Lord & others have been around for a decade. Can someone explain to me why OSE even exists? I have been looking at it for a while and cannot see anything other than an attempt to raid the marketplace. Did Norman run out of ideas? We never got The Complete Necromancer, after all…

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      1. OSE is pretty and well packaged with an approach that is accessible to collector RPG people.

        Its bringing a lot of people to our corner.

        But I agree, it is not the second coming as fanbois rock and endlessly spout.

        It is easy to use at the table though and that means a lot.

        BX and Winters Fighter are good. The lesson here is that good layout is not everything . That said it helps a ton.

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      2. [OSE popularity]
        Easy to use layout as well as polished and sometimes reworked rules that are easy to digest.
        As always timing and a hyping fanbase help matters along nicely… I suspect OSE simply came at the right time and hit the right crowd to get a phenomenal start and has carried that momentum with it ever since.
        For the gamers of old it recaptures the already known rules and helps to bring them back fresh into the mind again.
        For the newbies it is an easy entry into the Old school scene.

        [Layout, Format and Descriptions]
        While I think the OSE layout and formating work extremly well for a rulebook, this is less true for adventures.
        A rulebooks purpose is to instill the rules efficently into the DMS brain and to help him/her along in remembering them and using them at the table. No need to spark the imagination the same way an adventure does… so one can be precise and rather dry in writing.
        An Adventure needs entirely different things to work though.

        A sprawling two page description in flowery prose for a boring old cave is surely overkill… but something like

        1 – Cave
        Floor (stone, dry), Walls (stone, slightly wet), Rock (hard, heavy)

        Lifting the Rock: STR-Check or sprain a muscle for 1d4 damage.

        is just as bad, but in the opposite direction.
        Gotta spark the DMs imagination folks!!

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      3. Like the others say, OSE’s popularity is partly due to its layout. In fact, it’s advertised as a 100% clone of B/X except that it’s better organised. If you already know the B/X rules or can find your way around the books, then there’s no need to pick up OSE.

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      4. Not to get Kent about it, but Is B/X a difficult enough ruleset that “better-organised” and “clearly presented” are actual selling points? The spells are in alphabetical order, you write down your attack numbers, put a sticky note on the page with the Turn Undead table. I mean, what else is there?

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  2. Maybe use the encounters with a good castle layout? Me personally will use it as a transdimensional vampire lord that comes to my campaign plane to collect payment for his boss, a wound in the cosmos. I’ll probably change the mansion with a spacecraft instead.

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    1. If it inspires you to do something cool with it, more power to you. I think you can certainly salvage some of the encounters or concepts. Its the scale that bothers me. If your players already beat up a transdimensional vampire lord at level 3-5, what the fuck do you beat up at level 7?

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      1. A recommendation, just for general quality? I have the reviews page so people can skim read. FWIW:

        Oldschool:
        1. G1-G3 (9-12)
        2. B2, B5 & B10 (1-3)
        3. S1 (12-14) – It goes lower but don’t do that
        4. Role Aids Swordthrust (5-8)
        5. Halls of Tizun Thane (1-2)

        Tegel Manor gets an honorable mention. but its been too long since I read it. There’s plenty of JG modules and remaining E.G.G. modules that are probably better, but this is all the stuff I’ve reviewed.

        1. F3 Many Gates of the Gann
        2. Mines, Claws & Princesses
        3. Thulian Echoes
        4. In the Name of the Principle!
        5. Better then Any Man

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Eloquently put, and I have to agree even without months of torture in the Ministry of Love. Tempted no more.
    My favourite OSE adventure, Hideous Daylight, dares to write the odd evocative sentence and appeals much more to me as a result.

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    1. I’m interested enough to keep going, Hideous Daylight will be on the list at some point. Palace was originally done in LL but since OSE is virtually identical it’s all the same to me.

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      1. There is so much stuff out there and I found you due to your reviews on things nobody talks about. In this case the rare good 2e adventure nobody played because they were all splathappy collectors driven into marvel event comic plastic wrap 90s fatigue.

        Please don’t review Hideous Daylight.

        It has been reviewed by Bryce and Gabor.

        I am not saying your voice is not valued but there is so much that does not get discussed. I.e. role aids but heck it does not have to be old.

        You see what I am saying yeah?

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      2. I see what you are saying, but I review things that catch my interest or things that have been firmly established in the community as being either good or bad, so it is easier for people to place my taste. I will inevitably run into things that has already been reviewed.

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  4. How did this get “The Best” on 10′ Pole? It’s garbage, drivel. OSE shouldn’t have been a thing and all who own it are stupid children or consoomers.

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  5. I bought this module after the tenfootpole review and because I know and like Diogo’s work. I like the adventure well enough, but found the layout hard to follow. Just give me a short paragraph of actual sentences followed by the monster stats and let me highlight what I want as I read it.

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      1. Hahaha! The concept is cool, I would tweak various other elements and make it more level-appropriate. Perhaps a weaker upstart has hijacked the castle (make it more of a weekend getaway castle for dimension hopping) and been posing as the King to steal tributes or gather a critical kingkiller weapon, for example. Maybe throw in a dynamic of joining with him to overthrow big king or crushing him to gain big king’s favor.

        And my draft did not include pronunciations… I am hearing AS&SH’s newer format will be excluding them and shrinking stat blocks. Three cheers!

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  6. It really sounds like the primary issue here is scale; it’s why I had no desire to get it even with the glowing reviews. How big do you think a castle/adventure like this “should” be? And, after answering that…how do you put this on a sheet of printable paper in a way that conveys this to the GM cleanly?

    I’ve run games with crazy scope/scale; a massive run in a caldera literally fighting the volcano, transdimensional exploration of a miniature Dyson Sphere, a mad awakened forest above and below ground that went on for miles, a city-sized O’Neil Cylinder… All grand, but all things I was able to sketch with my voice and allow exploration/discovery because it was a conversation. I haven’t the foggiest how to make these kinds of environments on graph paper or, horror of horrors, on a PDF designed to be imported to a VTT. So I get making a castle with 40 rooms, I guess.

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    1. So it doesn’t quite matter that the guy is a Vampire King, you can have a tiny castle and still be a Vampire King , that’s fine. The thing is that this dungeon also has a Vampire Hunter hiding somewhere, killing people so she is not found, and an audience with other vampires, and the King is clearly incredibly powerful etc. etc. This has to be counter-balanced by the fact that people are going to try and finish this in a single 8 hour segment, since after that the tower dissapears. I dunno, play with dimensions right? What if he had kept the same number of rooms, but had used a 20 ft. square scale. Everything would have been immense. It gives the IMPRESSION of scale. Places could be lost. Cracks in the walls. Hell. Make the Vampires giants too. Right now, how long can a murderer hide in a blocked room in a manor without being discovered?

      As for those environments; Depends on what you want to do with the adventure? Are the PCs exploring a place over the course of weeks or months and is it a wilderness? Hex map. Is it a civilized place (like the aforementioned O’Neill Cylinder)? Then do a point-crawl, or allow relatively effortless movement between areas of activity.

      A Dyson sphere is interesting because the scale at 1 AU radius is almost literally inconceivable. You have a place that is large enough so that an immortal party would literally exhaust the sun before they have explored even a respectable fraction of its surface area. So I’d start working with a hex map of their immediate area, then map out some land-marks, what do they see? And they’d need an objective or a method of transportation to get the most out of it.

      I am reminded of a post I wanted to do but never get around to it, about SF “DnD” novels, and Ringworld is the one that comes to mind, followed by the manga Blame! taking place in the ruins of a super-structure that encompasses jupiter and most of the inner solar system, but whose super-civilization has collapsed.

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      1. Plugging my own stuff is kind of gay but I DID do something with outer space undead in Red Prophet Rises. There’s ways to do it that works and ways that don’t but I figure you can’t go wrong by looking at Necrons.

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  7. So this guy came up with the concept for a badass, epic high-level campaign-capping adventure but (presumably) didn’t know how to write an adventure for that level (to account for all the strategic and tactical options available to high level characters) so he kept the concept but turned it into a level 3-5 weenie dungeon? That’s unforgivably lame, even if it’s intended for kids (is it?).

    And this:

    East Guest Room
    Ransacked (everything’s scattered on the floor). Blood stains (mortal). Signs of battle (Seleana attacked a vampire guest). Bed, closet and dresser (damaged).

    Dresser
    Made of dark wood (lighter than it appears, drawers lined with teeth). Fine garments hanging from the drawers (Seleana was seeking something).

    Makes me throw up in my mouth a little bit.

    I’m glad I’m not the target market for this kind of stuff, that I feel no twinge of desire to buy it. But I still feel a little bad for the people (kids? people in their 20s?) who do, who are being fed garbage and (apparently) think it’s good because they (apparently) don’t know any better.

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    1. I don’t think its explicitly intended for kids, especially with the gore in it, but possibly a younger audience (20+) of gentle persuasion. The cutesy/colorful style of the two sample adventures might indicate this is the case. I don’t know why it’s small, I haven’t read anything of Diogo’s other work so I won’t say he’s not creative enough to make something bigger (I don’t think this is the case), maybe the format was included to accomodate the premise of exploring the place within a single night?

      The only thing I can definetively state is that Nogueira will come up with an idea but then he won’t think through the way in which that idea is embedded. The Vampires in the jail are a good example, or the fact most Vampires don’t bring their coffin even though it makes them EXTREMELY vulnerable, the Vampire Hunter hiding in a 40 room house, the Blood Spider Queen existing in some place in the wall etc. etc. etc. I don’t strictly know whether it is bad, but for me it’s past the point where it shatters my suspension of disbelief and I’d call it flawed.

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  8. I’ve been trying to line up a game of Diogo’s Dark Streets & Darker Secrets, but the only game in town when it comes to B/X adventures in modern spaces are via tables from other games like Silent Legions or Esoteric Enterprises, or kludging things together from the three blogs which have modern day content (Throne of Salt, Cavegirl, Remixes & Revelations).

    Do you have any leads?

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  9. There’s nothing wrong with pointing out that a creative work is more than mere form. It’s like comparing a well written young-adult fantasy novel to Greek Mythology. The YA novel might be tightly plotted, full of neat ideas and fun characters, well written and highly polished… but no matter how well crafted it might be, could you ever really say that it stacks up to the likes of the Odyssey or the Labors of Hercules? The ‘form’ we use to write a story or a module can change or ‘progress’ as much as you like; it doesn’t change the fact that a work of artistic creativity has both a form and a soul.

    tl;dr Classic Old-School: SOUL, Nu-OSR: SOULLESS

    Liked by 1 person

  10. OSE Classic is great because the usability and because there is no B/X POD.
    OSE Advanced make Drows, Duergars and Driders neutral and this is a bad sign alert to me. Plus this adventure.

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  11. I applaud both your high standards and the poo-poo at excessive bullet-ing.

    The most striking line of the review for me: “This is almost sub-literate, a step away from using emoji’s and pictographs to describe rooms.”

    Did you have something is particular in mind when you wrote the latter?

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    1. No it is an extrapolation of a current trend. I’m sure someone will come up with a method, finally lowering that bar even further so now modules can be made by the illiterate and the mentally handicapped. That style hurts dude, it’s like Idiocracy in tabletop form, and you can imagine zoned-out, sterile, crap like this replacing well-written stuff because “dur its easy to use.” Mörk Borg also uses it and its atrocious rubbish, but to be fair most of the people writing in it would produce atrocitous rubbish in longer format anyway so perhaps it has a use.

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      1. I would add that authors ought to write according to their talents. For those blessed with the ability to write beautifully, please do so, and treat us to some evocative sentences that inspire (but do not stifle). For those with great ideas but more journeyman prose, by all means use the OSE template for your modules: it is surely easy to follow.

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  12. Necrotic Gnome stuff has a certain blandness; there is a lack of depth in interaction. It always feels half baked to me; superficially good, but missing the deeper interactive elements.

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  13. I am surprised you haven’t reviewed T1. To this day I have yet to find a module with the depth in interactivity that T1 has. Always a joy to run.

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  14. Trent wrote:
    So this guy came up with the concept for a badass, epic high-level campaign-capping adventure but (presumably) didn’t know how to write an adventure for that level (to account for all the strategic and tactical options available to high level characters) so he kept the concept but turned it into a level 3-5 weenie dungeon? That’s unforgivably lame, even if it’s intended for kids (is it?).

    This. Also:

    Prince wrote:
    If your players already beat up a transdimensional vampire lord at level 3-5, what the fuck do you beat up at level 7?

    That all being acknowledged, I absolutely love the cover image above. It reminds me more than a bit of the best of Bob Pepper’s artwork (his illustrations for games). Not enough to buy the adventure.

    I really have nothing more to add. Thanks.

    Like

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