Monday, 25 July 2022

POD Shenanigans

I have got a few of these longer 80s TSR adventures. All over 60 pages.

This month on Patreon have had #9 of my zine and #89 of my 3-fold adventures which almost finishes my Aegypt series so #90 will be a pyramid. A proper one with realistic wall thicknesses and massive architectural scale traps. Murder Hobo Manual still up also...

X11 Saga of the Shadow Lord Lv5-9 💗💗💥💥
I've heard people speak fondly of this. I found it very railroad and built quite a bit into the setting. One advantage of dungeons is they are easy to relocate. 68 pages, nice maps and handouts. It has two parts the first to stop an evil tyrant and the second they return as an undead monster. It is very linear with railroad episodes but an episode has a 
village location you can do the villager chat roleplay with to get quest information. One thing I like is there are two dragons with personalities who are rivals and you can possibly bullshit them into a conflict which is good. I guess an adventure with a built-in sequel is a good idea. The second part has a hexcrawl and some tombs and a huge long-winded text box for the victory that feels a bit like punishment. Maybe stuff like this is why people hated boxed text. Im not really inspired to run it and it took me a while to read. I gave it this score despite this because mostly it is adequate and has some good story ideas and several magic artefacts.
HWA3 Nightstorm Lv8-10 💗💥💥💥
This is an episode of a multi-part campaign and the others are not yet available for POD. It promises Indian inspired culture area for the Hollow World setting. As I never really got into the immortal's stuff and still barely have an interest now the idea of Greek Thanatos being involved in Egyptian and India bugs me a bit and kinda raises problems of historical derived content mixed with a fantasy setting. So this has all the problems of an 80s product about Asian culture and kinda mashing Islam and Hindu culture and terms oddly. It features a caste system which some gamers wouldn't touch which is fair enough. So in context to the adventure, it doesn't add much being inspired by a historic classism thing, There are portrayals of poverty and uncleanliness too and a beggar king. I did like the culture had gnolls commonplace and them being in the underclass and accepted I guess for disposing of bodies? Also, a % of all the people in charge are shapeshifting creatures who all cooperate to keep on top and once had more influence which I liked. So in other books, the other cultures of the Hollow world got special skills, magic and other goodies and these guys don't really. Stripping amazing religion oh India and slapping in Thanatos was a bit meh too. Ganetra is mentioned as a local immortal. I like my gods to try and fit in locally but I guess D&D immortals are more like Xena superheroes than the gods in Deities & Demigods (who possibly are just a high-level monster manual). The formatting of the Hollow World books with a huge logo on each page border is pretty wasteful and I would have liked a few pages on the culture and interesting encounters. It has above-average maps, especially for a POD book. Some nice art and good locations I will hijack. Weird chaotic humanoid elephant golems would be great in a wargame scenario. Possibly as part of the trilogy, I would think better of it. I would have loved a dnd-ish book inspired by India. Arrows of Indra had a go but I disagree with the writer's take on caste and modern politics and some truly terrible art. Yoon-Suin is a great south Asian flavoured fantasy without many of the problems of other attempts.

WG12 Vale of the Mage 💗💗💗💥 
This one surprised me. As a kid in 84 we thought the valley of the mage sounded very interesting and inspiring like Delecti the necromancer's swamp in Runequest. I never saw this in the day but wish I had. It is a very different module with a good range of starts and could be inserted in another campaign. Basically, it describes the valley, its people and creatures and elaborate defences even in apparent outdoors areas. It has well-described sympathetic characters. One option is that you are pursuing necromancers who have entered the valley seeking power to plunder and adventurers are sent to stop them from enraging the master of the Valley who might punish bordering peoples. It might be possible to even befriend the mage and use the valley as a base or patron or an enemy. The necromancers are a great npc evil adventurer party possibly acting like murder hobos to disturb border relations. Its great because that's what players usually do. It has some good new monsters, a very open structure, and a final battle with the necromancers in a ruined mansion. Arguably it is a magical trap. I quite like this and think it is the sort of thing an 18th Lv magic user should be doing. I would have thought immortality wasn't too hard to find at a high level - I have a spell that as long as you spend a slot on it in memory you don't age and is very tempting even vs a wish spell. Ok art, quite a few npc portraits, the pod poster map is split up but actually usable. Wow, I will happily try and squeeze this in a future game with minimal of work - one of the better surprises of these I have had. Id never considered an adventure like it and impressively sandboxy vs say Basic D&D ones of late I've seen for 1990.

I think perhaps if they did a Greyhawk setting now they could do it and make it deliberately more sandboxy and less linear with all the options like longer rests to be more retro styled and use other settings for say, new players. Just a stupid thought I had.

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