By R.J. Thompson Appendix N Entertainment OSE Levels 1-3
The plague year has been harsh. Countless victims have fallen to this terrible disease. Many commoners with no knowledge of healing have been called to assist the healers as plague doctors, checking on victims and clearing the dead bodies. Yet in this dark time, darker rumors have emerged. In the north country, it is said that those who die of the plague are rising from the grave! Worse, these undead have a taste for human flesh, and seem to spread the disease to those who survive their attacks. Many believe that this new evil marks the place where the plague originated. Do you dare to solve this mystery by entering the Solar Sanctuary of the Cannibal Corpse?
This 44 page adventures features a 23 room dungeon described in twelve pages. It features a Vampire for your Level 1’s to destroy, because nothing means anything anymore. And you get to Save or Die all the time. And it’s full of padding. And is mostly a hack. And is mostly devoid of flavour. And there has to be something better than this as we search for meaning in a world devoid of it.
Ok, here we go: Village. Bubonic plague. Zombie infestation. Ruined temple nearby. Vampire in it that created the plague. You got the makings of something mighty fine in there! Alas, tis not to be. There’s no real pretext here, you’re in the village, determining that it’s the center of the plague that’s festering in the kingdom. Plus, it seems to have mutated here, creating zombies from the plague victims when they die. It seems, though, to still be a fully functioning village. Any hint of flavour or local color from it being a plague village or the victim of cannibal zombie attacks is not present at all. It’s just a village. For some reason you to go the ruined temple two hours from town. I’ve looked things over several times and I can’t seem to figure out why the party would learn about or go there. A couple of people know about it, but it’s not clear that they think the plagues comes from there. There’s a rumor or two on the table, but again, not really connected. Just something like “there’s a ruined temple nearby,” In game terms this is probably ok. Like, sledgehammer to the head ok. I mean, everyone knows that’s where to go, but, still, it’s nice to have a pretext for suspension of disbelief. I mean, we could just roll a d6, on a 1-5 you win the adventure and on a 6 you roll again. No, don’t like that? Then perhaps just a few more threads to follow up on in the adventure, please?
The journey to the temple takes two hours, which of course means two pages for a wandering monster table. For serious? For a 2 hour walk? I get it, they are a staple of adventures, but this seems more like a “just a have an encounter” opportunity. Anyway.
Did I mention the village entries? They are at least 80% worthless trivia. Entry 1, the Stable, tells us a stable boy runs it and then spends multiple paragraphs telling us about the former stable operator and how he is now found in the temple and working for the vampire. The entries are full of this trivia, hiding the real information that they know about the vampire, the temple, etc. There is the opportunity, though, to acquire a chicken lazer rifle. I kid not. An oracular rooster that shoots sunlight from it’s eyeballs once a day, former rooster of the temple of Helios. It’s dumb as all fuck and I love it!
Let’s talk plague! Getting bitten by a zombie requires a save or die or you get the plague. Walking through a miasma cloud requires the same. Getting the bubonic plague means you die in 12d6 hours and rise as a zombie. This seems a bit rough to me. Deadly, for sure, and perhaps in a high level adventure I’d be ok with it. But sweet Vecna, you have to give the suckers an even break or they don’t come back to play anymore!
Ok, so, vampire in the ruined temple. 7HD, full on no joke vampire. Don’t worry, there’s a magic sword called Lightbringer, that’s also in there! It can create Light three times a day. It also has the Undead Bane ability that is described as “acts as a normal sword against all living foes.” Well, yes, that’s what all swords do, right? And Light doesn’t impact vampires … it’s Sunlight … or am I wrong in OSE? Whatever, fuck it, there’s no time for that anyway, you have to roll a d6 every turn to see where the vampire mvoes to in the dungeon. EVERY. TURN. I have a hard time remembering to roll wandering monsters, and I have a turn tracker to help me …
The writing is ineffective and padded out. “4. Stable Boy’s Quarters: !is simple room contains a small foot locker, a rope bed and a chamber pot. Anything of value is long since gone.”
No, not good enough? How about: “7. Commander’s Quarters: These were the quarters of Commander Auron, who now resides in area 22. !e room contains a bed, a desk, a footlocker and a #replace on the northern wall. There is nothing useful to be found in the room, save a …” All of that text to tell us nothing at all. Joy.
Monsters are, of course, listed in the appendix. Yeah! And they have both too little and too much formatting. Bolding abounds, making it quite difficult to look up the different monster entries. Plus, they run over several pages, with little effort to do a proper layout. Guy Fullerton has a series of excellent articles on adventure layout from his blog that are worth reading on this subject.
It does have mobs of floating heads that attack you, so, that’s pretty cool. And the core concept? Great as well. It’s just the wrong level, has no detail to speak of to bring the place to life, has too much padding text and too much trivia embedded in it.
Save yourself. Take up knitting. Or write down the numbers of passing trains. There will be more joy.
This is $6 at DriveThru. There’s no preview because, why would there be?