Outpost of the Ogre Overlord

It’s a simple mission. Ogres are attacking civilized lands! Go stop them!

Simple maybe, however the introductory text takes almost two pages to deliver it. This is but one of several problems to an otherwise good homage to the G1, G2, G3 set of modules. The overly long backstory implies that there is a wilderness component to the adventure, and there is a wilderness area map provided, with both Letters (A, B, C) and numbers (1, 2, 3) keyed on it, however there is nothing in the text to indicate that this portion exists or what the map is for. Maybe it was accidentally left out, or meant for the DM to expand the adventure if they chose to?

The Ogre Overlord lives in a palisade fort with a couple of watchtowers. His minions live in common outbuildings inside the palisade and he lives in a ‘manor’ building with a small dungeon underneath. The style of the adventure is clearly similar to the Giants series, however it’s missing a few things. First, there are no wandering monster checks. This is because, I assume, of the open nature of the compound; it just doesn’t make sense. The open nature of the compound and the smaller map areas. There are 20 keyed encounters on the first level, with only five being in the palisade and the other 15 in the manor. There are another 20 on the dungeon level. Neither of these is large enough for a truly interesting map. There’s also a general lack of factions. There is a ‘guest’ in the manor, however that’s not really a faction. Factions can help turn a hack-fest in to a role-playing and hack-fest, so I always like to see them in these sorts of things.

There’s not really much to play with; bags to open, pools to drink from or statues to experiment with. The magic items are regrettably plain and monsters non-unique. I wish there were more to this. The palisade layout, while unique, just doesn’t leave enough room for an interesting upper map. From that starting point you also can’t really have wandering monsters. Most of the creatures are outside the main building in outbuildings, so that’s where the initial action is likely to be. Almost half of the bottom level is taken up with duplicate rooms of the upper level, for those creatures to retreat to, while almost half the map space is taken up with an area for the DM to expand in to. Again, this ends up constraining the map of the level with the result being a non-looping map, no wanderers, and without room them, no factions.

All in all, there is a definite lack of the sort of whimsy and weird found in some of the authors other modules. To be sure, this is a homage to the Giants series, and reads like such, however it may have followed a little too closely.

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