The Rusted Tomb

By WR Beatty
Rosethrone Publishing
Levels 1-...7?

A short adventure location – a shrine and a tomb for a nearly forgotten godling.  Rumors suggest this is the resting place of He Who Forged Heaven and Hell. Craftsmen and Smiths pay their respects at the Rusted Tomb, but few others care, though some say there’s ancient magic behind those rust-streaked walls.

This twelve page adventure presents a small temple with seventeen rooms … that houses a dead god. It’s less adventure and more place where you could have an adventure, being somewhat … statically described? And then presenting some adventure ideas in the rear. Meh.

Beatty does a great job with one of the rumors/hooks in this adventure. Here’s the entry: “There’s this old guy who comes to town once in a while, Demos or something like that. He leads those blacksmith worshippers up on the North Road on the way to Tiresh Village. They call that the Rusted Tomb. Anyway, he’s an odd lot. Always loads up on vegetables and smoked meats and tobacco and the like… Nothing odd there, but he always asks about old nails.” It’s in voice, which bring out a little bit of character, giving the DM an idea of how to introduce and run it. And, as we all know, I’m all for helping the DM out without spoon feeding them. The goal is to provide information that enables the DM to greatness. And that rumour/hook does it. Also, it’s very human. We’re talking about the tomb of a god here, or, at least, an angel. But the temple is in decline and this is most like the last generation of priests … once these four go then there will be no one left. The world has moved on. And all of that comes out in that text. Those blacksmith worshippers. Buy vegetables and smoked meats. It’s very mundane and very real with how things became mundane over time. People acting like people, or, at least, hyper realistic versions of people, brings so much more to D&D. 

There are a couple of other interesting things here. SOme gold trimmed white cloths as magic items. Worn over the head as a kind of crude veil, they filter out poisons giving a bonus to saves. Kind of hard to use in a combat, also, right? Very nice. And, at one point the party finds a twenty ton anvil bolted to the ground. “How to unbolt and move the 20 ton anvil is left up to the parties ingenuity.” Absolutely! 

But the rest of this …? No. 

The thing is kind of generically described. And I don’t mean that in the usual way. Rather it’s more of a MERP adventure way. It’s as if we took everyones presence, their life and sense of it, out of the adventure. There are rooms with objects in them, but not people. There is no sense of worshippers being here. Or even priests except for maybe two rooms … and even those seem devoid of the life of living. As if they were laid down for people to use but never had. It’s sterile. Devoid of life. Literally, since there are no encounters on the main tomb level. 

And this is on purpose. It’s related to that level range of one through seven. The back page has four separate adventure ideas. One for 1-3, one for 4-7, one for 8-10, and one for high levels. There are a couple of guidelines, and outline really, in a quarter page, for each of them, in what the adventure may look like. One mentions that they high priest might hire some guards. But, bringing the thing to life, personalizing it, putting people and worshippers and all of that in to it, is all up to the DM. 

A linear map. Items worth stealing that don’t have values. This is made for the DM to set an adventure in. As if someone published a village of sixteen pages and then said that you could have some adventures here. As such its more window dressing FOR an adventure. It is a place for situations to occur, rather than the actual situations that occur. And, thus, isn’t really an adventure. More of a regional setting where the region is “seventeen rooms.” 

And, I don’t review regional settings.

This is $2 at DriveThru. The preview is five pages

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13 Responses to The Rusted Tomb

  1. Bucaramanga says:

    Well, at least the god in question is dead and you don’t have to fight him when you are still level 3…

  2. Knutz Deep says:

    It’s been a while since he published anything new but I’d still take Beatty’s stuff over most of what’s available to us these days.

  3. Fishy says:

    I would like to better understand the line drawn between adventure and regional setting. Even though I’m sure it’s loose and ambiguous. How’s your book coming along?

  4. WR Beatty says:

    A more than fair review. Thanks, Bryce. I wrote this when I was considering it less an “adventure” and more and “adventure location.” So, regional setting? Yeah, kinda. The MERP comparison is spot on. As always, I appreciate the effort it takes to review something that isn’t quite up to snuff and pulling out the things that DO work, as well as the advice for the things that don’t work.

  5. Stripe says:

    Gasp! WRB didn’t get a The Best? Not even a “No Regerts?” I’m shocked!

  6. Anonymous says:

    WR whats next for you?!

    We love your work – I have you bookmarked

  7. Prince says:

    WRB is one of the silent driving forces of the OSR. Hear Hear!

  8. squeen says:

    I have a tenancy to write many small static settings that the party moves through in the outdoors. It’s almost like dungeon dressing in that they are resources the PCs can chose to employ if they have a need. It’s utilitarian and not terribly exciting in most circumstances—and yet I feel like they are a glue that makes the world hold together.

    A local Lord here, a sheriff or mad hermit there. A gang of thieves in a slum or a double agent in a bank. A reclusive unicorn deep in the woods. It’s low-level potential energy that occasionally the players latch on to by chance or whim.

    Importantly, there are thin threads of connection between these pieces/players. They are functional, mainly in a local sense but sometimes surprisingly far-reaching.

    Relevant to this discussion is the fact that they might be really boring to read about, especially in isolation—the opposite of a “tight little product”.

    Am I making any sense?

  9. Anonymous says:


    What is your rss feed?
    Tried that with no luck per

  10. Anonymous says:

    Beatty publish more!!!

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