B Everett Dutton CLAYMORE OSE "Low Levels"
THE MARTIAL CULT OF BLOOD KNIGHT GAIUS is a 20-page dungeon crawl about a religious order of vampires who deny their feeding urges, instead only drinking the blood of those whom they have given a formal chance to defend themselves.
There’s a reason I have not gotten to the things on my list. Calling your adventure “The Martial
This 20 page dungeon is about a dragon that is actually good. Oh, wait no, it’s about a captured princess who is actually evil. Oh, wait, no, it’s about vampires that don’t drink blood. Unless they defeat you in honorable combat. Which means they cheat. It’s one encounter and not an adventure.
Cult of Blood Knight Gaius” and the marketing saying its about a cult of honorable vampires that don’t drink blood … well … as much as some things turn me on and get me excited, other things, like scat, turn me off. And that marketing is one of them. I mean, I’m not a pretentious fellow. Yes, I am having a bloody mary before work this morning. But that’s more to deal with the terrible ennui.
So, yeah, honorable vampires in a monastery. Their leader, Gaius, fight you one on one in an arena. There’s a magic circle that heats up your metal items, so, you’re gimped. And if he starts to lose then he switches from bitch slapping you to using a staff and then spells and then a blade.
This is, essentially, the only thing to do. You can wander around the nine rooms (ten if you count the arena!) and poke your fucking head in and look at shit.; But none of hte vampires fight you. There’s no real interactivity. Vampire mass involves you falling asleep until someone wakes you up. They get pissed at you if you steal their candlesticks that are covered in wax, but they don’t attack. Not honorable. SO, wander the fuck around and get bored and then someone in the party fights Gaius.
Oh shit! Oh shot! I forgot! They got some machinery that milks people of blood. SO, throw in some lame ass techno shit in that room only, also.
Ok, so, you’ve decided to fight some vampires. Good fucking luck! I mean, vampires, right? Well …. They are 2HD. Except for Gaius who is 3 HD. And really all they can do is maybe hypnotize you. This was, I think, for me the most disappointing aspect of 5e, as a system. The dumbing down of the HD of classic creatures. Look, you can’t put in a 15HD orc. You can’t mix him in to a bunch of 1HD orc. The players need to be able to make choices for their characters and dumping in rando HD defeats their ability to do that. The game is no longer about choices, or pushing your luck, but just about rando shit. And rando shit like that aint fun. Vampires have more HD and have more abilities. They are fearsome opponents. They are not your first level adventure and pussy ass motherfuckers, like they are portrayed here. Yes, sure, you can have a non-traditional monster. And not every adventure has to be a dungeon to explore. But, also, if you’re gonna put in a twist its gonna have to be a real twist and not some hackneyed BS.
Let’s see. SOmoene feeds a captive vampire a bowl of porridge. SO, there’s that. The vampires standing guard outside wear heavy felt garments and veils so they can stand in the sun. And they all like to hold garlic cloves as penance. The wanderer table has some vampires who get after you if you are snooping hwre you shouldnt be, but, there’s no real indication of what that means. In the entry or in the rooms. The map is a symmetrical fuckfest, the worst kind of map. Why not just make it a dwarven temple to boot? Oh, wait, it’s a monastery, so, the meme continues unabated.
I don’t know. The designer dumps in random text before a couple of room, so, you think you’re at the end of the room descriptions but then you get another room after the long section about some NPC found in the next room. SO, yeah, I understand WHY the decision was made, even though it’s a BAD decision.
SO, not an adventure. It’s a side-trek, from Dungeon. Kill the vampire and win 500gp! Heh. I think the fuck not. One encounter, some nosing around. No real role-play notes to drag it out in a fun and memorable evening. Cause if you’re gonna do this then you need something else also and roleplay seems to the easiest thing to dump in to something like this. SO, notes for the DM on building tension, some shit that can happen, and so on, some better NPC”s. SOme faction play. Maybe. But it’s still just gonna be one fucking fight after poking your nose around. This is the kind of shit I throw in a town between games, not something to buy from Exalted.
This is $5 at DriveThru. You get a nine page preview, which is enough to show the writing style and get the vibe for the adventure, so, good job with that.
“I mean, vampires, right? Well …. They are 2HD.”
I HATE OSE! I HATE OSE! I HATE OSE!
An OSE vampire is listed as having “Hit Dice: 7 to 9** (31/36/40hp)”. The author of this adventure has chosen to make them 2HD.
How do they not get REKT by a 3rd-4th level cleric?
>>>This was, I think, for me the most disappointing aspect of 5e, as a system. The dumbing down of the HD of classic creatures. Look, you can’t put in a 15HD orc. You can’t mix him in to a bunch of 1HD orc.
This is directly ass backwards. You can easily create a CR/level 15 orc in 3e, 4e, and 5e.
I know grognards gonna kvetch about kids these days, but could you at least kvetch about the right things instead of talking outside the back of your head?
You misunderstand what is being communicated. His point isn’t that you can’t put in a 15HD orc but that you shouldn’t.
>You can easily create a CR/level 15 orc in 3e, 4e, and 5e.
Could =/= should
A bloody Mary for breakfast is a good, healthy choice—so long as you leave the salt shaker on the table. I put tobacco sauce on my eggs, too; goes great with a bloody Mary. Dip the celery in lemon pepper, yum!
Hi Bryce, I made the adventure!! I just wanted to say thanks for taking a look, it’s cool to be on tenfootpole and the review, though not exactly glowing, made me pretty happy. BKG was my first attempt at making something and looking back a few years later (wrote it in 2020), I think you’re spot on. Maybe now’s the time to retire to the mountain monastery and begin work on a sequel….
When you wrote this adventure for OSE, had you actually read or played OSE? Why are your vampires the wrong hit dice?
I had read and played Labyrinth Lord and Knave, and read the original B/X books too. OSE ofc works off of similar numbers. The vampires are on the weaker side because they’ve been starving themselves for years (at least this was my logic/in-fiction justification for a low-level vampire module at the time).
Got it. Thanks!
You get a tough review, you learn from it, then you do better next time.
Looking forward to your next effort!
Kinda want to run this just to make the vampire look and sound like Bolo Yeung
The review and the comments claim this adventure is for OSE, but the cover says it was intended for Knave. What’s up with that?
Knave or B/X, presumably it all uses the same generic minimalist OSR format.
maybe it’s the bloody mary breakfast
and whats up with 5E gripes in an OSE/Knave/BX review?
“The review claims tgus adventure is for AD&D, but the cover says it was intended for OSRIC. What’s up with that?”
The review claims this adventure is for Traveller, but the cover says it was intended for Cepheus Engine. What’s up with that?”
Ignorant, autistic and smug about it is no way to go through life, son. Very first duckduckgo result for “Knave rpg” would have answered your question.
Dave, first and foremost, fuck you. But second of all, Blaming OSE for a Knave adventure is not the same as your examples. The review does not bring up B/X, the original, but a paralel derivative.
Lastly, the first result on duckduckgo is the dtrpg site, that doesn’t mention OSE once.
Bryce occasionally gives such misleading information. 😉
He also introduced ‘The Dream Thieves’ as a Troika! adventure, though it was for AZAG.
Prince you should review waking willoby hall.
Its an example where min stats can work
Sounds like a deal. My current Artpunk/new OSR slots are Lair of the Lamb? and Yoon-Suin but I can slot in Willoby hall. Shoot me a line on the blog next time.
Eh, everybody’s reviewed that one.
I’d rather read your review of Halls of the Blood King because I know it runs/plays differently than reviewers expect, and I know *you* know that. That makes for an interesting take different than what “a reviewer” will give.
(That would suck if you already have reviewed and I missed it. Imagine me skulking away in embarrassment if so!)
Welp. This is awkward.
Love Prince’s reviews but his blog is one of the ugliest sites on the internet, has no internal search, and is hard to google as the name is taken from a fantasy book series
Anon, the search is in the top right corner, below the menu bar, at least on desktop.
I found the search on mobile, at the bottom of the page below the 40+ comments.
Still I won’t blame someone who can’t find a particular review there.
It could certainly look prettier. I do have a recently up to date overview in the Review section. I’ve considered a consistent system of tags for easy searchability but it would take maybe a day or two to update 500+ reviews.
Fwiw, you can use the tags to search by rating, type, system and level.
Just adding an option for white backround/black text would really improve the readability for me.
*Skulks away in embarrassment*
(Great review of Blood King! I only had to increase my font by 150% to read it! ;))
Well look at that Prince, I’m not the only one complaining about how unreadable your blog can be!
I changed it. See if it is easier to read now.
I really enjoyed reading that one, and I think it plays even better!