Gabor Lux First Hungarian d20 Society OSR
The Temple of Polyphema: The temple of the cyclopean goddess has been taken over by a band of marauding gnolls. Are you a bad enough dude to drive them out, and avert the terrible curse that would befall Polyphema’s gutless followers? Levels 2-4, 25 keyed areas.
Time to suck off The Gaborian again. Seriously, how do you people run a game when 90% of the people at the table are named Gabor? Nice cover on this one, with the … dancing bear?
Echoes from Fomalhaut #10 continues the tradition of fine products from First Hungarian. Seriously, other than, maybe, Fight On or Arduin, the Echoes line is producing one of the best sets of adventures and supplements in the hobby. There are others, such as Dungeon Age, who are consistently producing fine work, but the addition of a kind of consistent tone and theme really sells this in a way that few other supplements have. Do you think he’ll let me buy a complete hardcopy set if I rim him a bit also? Maybe, for like, $1000? I’ll pay for shipping. One Yul Brenner, please!
In this 56 page issue you’re getting the Temple of Jeng, a killer adventure. The Gorge of the Unmortal Hermit, a weirdo place, Oom the Many, a god/cult description, Guests of the Beggar King, a mostly civilized “kingdom” you can visit with a lot of weird shit going on and, mayhap, be a standin for mighty Kyshal as a home base,, and the Temple of Polyphema, which I’m going to talk the most about.
More than most, though, I want to talk about specificity. It’s something I cite a lot, in a positive manner, in its efforts to really bring a work to life. It adds character, as opposed to detail which just adds to the word count. Specificity gives the DM something to hang their hat on. Something to leverage in to more. It inspires, rather than the ability of detail to simply make the text longer and harder to comprehend. This specificity, along with well chosen adjectives, can help bring something to life much more so than without it.
We’ve got this temple on a mountain and a village below it. They are cursed; if they don’t worship there every day then they slowly turn in to goats. Oops, don’t piss off the goddess of polymorphism, I guess. Anyway, some gnolls have moved in and a couple of the villagers are now sporting goat heads.
The temple has a copse of woods outside. What does that make you think of, to imagine? Ok, now, what if I told you that it’s actually a grove of olive trees. Now what? It’s a grove, not a copse, and they are olive trees. This conjures up the greek, yes? You’re now in a different headspace, you have a different framing for all that comes after. The context is different and we’re now working with different cultural baggage to leverage. This is the difference between the generic and the specific.
We see this in other areas as well. One room, the main rooms for the gnolls, has fifteen of them in it “four of them with human heads”, the text tells us. Uh, right on! It IS the temple of polyphema, after all. And, in the same room “The walls are lined with grimacing theatrical masks, their mouths stuffed with rags – the gnolls were afraid of the ominous moaning wind blowing through them.” Not useless backstory, for it tells us what happens when the rags are removed from the mouths. It has integrated the backstory in to the description in such a way that the word count is no more.
In another room we have some old, decaying furniture swarming with large creamy centipedes. Harmless, but can deliver a vicious bite, the text tells us. Do you frequently see this in an adventure? A normal creature? Almost as window dressing, but not quite. Those six legged possums in The Upper Caves that I am so fond of. The mundane, or nearly so, presented to the party.
Let us look at a magic item: “Golden apple: This gold apple is worth 4000 gp as a piece of jewelry. Carrying it brings a constant bless spell. Those who learn of its existence must save or desire to possess it by money, guile or bloodshed.” It’s just a fucking bless. But, also, it’s a golden apple … with all the historical context that implies. And, note that curse like thing. Kick ass man! I wish almost everything came with some of that artifact shit attached to it. A decanter full of moon-silver liquid? Sign me up!
Elsewhere in the issue we find a sickle that feel unnaturally heavy … a non-druid picking it up must save or start cutting ritual wounds in to themselves. Isn’t that fun? SO much more fun han “cursed, -1 to hit” or some other shit. How about a cel littered with gnawed bones. Psych! Restless skeletons bitches! I love it when the players slap their heads and say “Of course! They were bones! Of course!”
I could go on and on about The Court of Beggar King also. A fucking kick ass place to sally forth from. And, get caught up in the intrigues of. For every opulent welcoming feast there is also three hanged heroes suspended from nooses in the treasury room.
This is $6.50 at DriveThru. The preview is ten pages and you can see the first few pages of that Poluphema temple. Rend thy clothes and weep at thy own feeble efforts at adventure writing.