Misthollow Castle Review

By R. P. Davis
Aegis Studios
Levels 5-10

Standing on a lonely, bare mound in the bottom of a dell full of swirling fog, a castle from the time of the Schism crumbles, forgotten. Inside, treasures—and terror—await. A writ of salvage has been posted in Chandra’s Haven: 500 gold coins to the brave adventurers who find Misthollow Castle and secure it for Salamon Castos, a wealthy merchant. Castos claims to be the scion of the noble family which ruled Misthollow and built the castle generations ago. Castos grudgingly agrees to allow the characters to keep whatever they find in securing the castle, though he insists on right of first refusal on anything of value.

This nine page adventure details a small four level castle haunted by a ghost. There might be ten rooms, maybe. No room key, muddled descriptions because of that … and a forced adventuring environment. Lame-o McLamersons!

O&O does this thing where there are writs of recovery and salvage titles sold to abandoned spaces. It’s a pretty nice “abandoned world in the midst of recovery thing. That’s just about where the nice stops in this adventure.

It’s got a great opening read-aloud, just about the only read-aloud in the adventure. A wooden sign in the shape of a hand, fog, a scream … perfectly tropy! “The light is failing, and the air grows cold. Tendrils of fog wrap around your feet. At the side of the road is an ancient sign on which is lettered “Misthollow”. One end of the sign is carved into a hand, index finger pointing deeper into the fog. That way, the fog thick- ens as the old road slopes downward. Suddenly, from somewhere ahead, you hear a blood-curdling scream.” Hey! That’s great!

But the map has no key. It’s a little dyson affair with about ten rooms across three aboveground levels and one basement level. There’s great room descriptions like “Dining Room (square tower)” and “Spiral Staircase (NW corner).” Man, just put some numbers on the map! This whole “explain the layout of the adventure through text” is complete bullshit. New rule! Doing that, in appropriately, gets you A Wurst EvAR tag. 

Approaching the castle, if you roll a 1 on a d6 you get to see a flicking green light in the upper tower window. Creepy! And maybe not seen because of the ‘1’ thing. Why would you do this? Why would you force a roll for the adventure to be creepy and create atmosphere? There’s no mechanical advantage to knowing or not knowing, it’s all atmosphere. Why fight ensuring the party is creeped out? 

This continues with the general features of the castle The unused rooms, the creepy cobwebs, the dusty crates … this should have gone on the map page so the DM can keep the atmosphere forward while the party is adventuring. 

Oh! Oh! When you go in the castle the door slams shut and locks! Magic won’t open the doors! There are no windows on the first floor! Axes bounce off of the door! Again, why? What does that do? Make it a first level adventure if you want to create that atmosphere. Also … I wonder if the windows on the second floor act the same way?

Anyway, there’s a ghost, some wights and a The Dark Man in the castle to all kill. The descriptions are not that good, at all, beyond that read-aloud. The stream of consciousness paragraphs provide little rhyme or reason as to organization to help you run the adventure.   

Wurst EvaR!

This is $1.25 at DriveThru. The preview is two pages and shows you nothing of the adventure. Bad preview! Bad Designer! Bad Publisher! Mad world …


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4 Responses to Misthollow Castle Review

  1. OSR Fundamentalist says:

    You’ve reviewed half a sozen O&O modules and they’re all bad. Tim to write them off as Filbar 2.0 and move on.

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