Tuesday, 14 January 2020

The Secret Of Bone Hill


This has its ups and downs as a module which I will highlight
It is not a A list classic and has some peculiarities of writing different to other books
Len was a prolific writer with a column in Dragon and spells named after his characters

Plusses+

There is a local hexcrawl area with half mile hexes to explore mostly hills and woods
There is a town Restenford for you to hang out out too very detailed with names for every guard
At least you can run back to a pub or the gambling cult temple in a hurry
Ruins with bugbears and undead and good multi level ruin
Has spell casting zombies and skeletons which should have been a basic monster type in all dnd
Local campsite full of miserable poor adventurers living in tents
Local monster lairs that could wipe your party out
Church on hill of a gambling cult
Lots of local spell casters and patrons possible

Lots of cool stuff buried in rubble
Crazy magic potion lab
Compact pregens that don't waste pages - packed with content
A good intro start adventure
The burned out Guard station is a mini dungeon you could easily miss
Lots of elf loot and signs they lived here once
Mention of a Dark Keep of Kroten with a spy in the village might lead to adventure
Easy to add to area a few cults would be good
Lots of pubs and temples

Minuses-

Village more detailed than the dungeon and wilderness together.
If i don't kill town on a murder hobo spree unlikely to need all of this
If law abiding party you might never see most of this
Has odd encounter tables and % odds of characters being in rooms
Has lots of dm tips as if for a basic dungeon but a bit odd at times
A few more hills and future adventure ideas would have been good
Not much history and not much reason to stay in area unless you marry a local
Lots of rumours but no backstory for locations
- humans and elves battled bugbears together once in a war
-lots of elves boots and other objects in area especially buried
Map Typo different to text
Second module doesn't really help you use the content here as promised

It is a complete mini setting wich adventurers can make area safe, lazy and fat
I would generate a few cults
-possibly one burned the guard station which needs more rumours about it
-householder cultists seek a coup connected to a cult

I would add some more hills with lairs and mini dungeons
-book of lairs probably good to pad out in a hurry or some mini dungeons
-a witch cult cave with some monsters and fanatics and a goat man for commoners
-evil chaos cleric cult attack local order with assassination and corruption
-cult of some more respectable people in contact with the star people who appear certain nights and sometimes want help and reward you with lore and gold and youth
- a bear lair with a save with some skeletons from a old tomb
-gang of bandits or smugglers
-perhaps to use the town detail party need to become respected and part of defences of the town to learn it's secrets. Possibly they could be given jobs. Then they will get to spend more time with elites as their level goes up then maybe you might need to know whats in someones draw in the caste or the super secret magic vault defences. So use area as a base and have them part of comunity

A proper big dungeon nearby like stonehell would fit


Possibly relocate saltmarsh stuff to here easily

Adding a big dungeon nearby and developing romance, friendship and interest in locals would be goood way to expand this. If your not meant to kill everybody I guess you will end up talking to them. All the town watch have names that's kind of rare. Bugbears don't get names.

The Dark Keep of Kroten might be a evil cult including robber knights with ambition to control island. A humanoid dominated part of the island seems plausible.

Sadly I might use with planet psychon by adding lots of muskets and strange things into ruins. Dark Albion or Crawling Chaos could add some more weird and cult stuff here.

So more detail than say giants series and more roleplaying. Less railroad than adventures into the 80s went.

You don't need to add to it but part of the fun of that era of products was extending and filling in missing detail. Yet not so detailed you have to go along with it. This is 81. I like old modules because they offer lots of canvas to create which by Dragonlance became rare.

Romance would help this setting especially with all the npc detail and would give players a reason to use as a home base. Becoming local experts and being consulted and getting jobs will all help too.


Starting out with this I wasn't a huge fan but Im thinking of giving it a planet psychon make over with ancient stuff in elf ruins and basements and in wizards lairs. Religion easily changed and gambling cult get one arm bandits idols. So hope to use next week possibly as the secret of cyborg hill. Those forests and hills were blasted in the war with bioweapons making undead and creepy forests. Elven ruin now a eldren fort. Bugbears a hideous mutant race. Might need a small mutant ghetto.

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