Thursday, May 4, 2017

Sword, Sorcery, & Low Level Holmes Dungeons & Dragons - Dungeon Locations For Your Old School Campaigns

'Can your PC's survive the deadly horrors of the ruins and dungeons of a demon haunted world where anything can happen?' Well, they can if we delve into the past for some help with Holmes Dungeons & Dragons.

So I've way behind on my blog entries because ultimately work has been busy as sin & has me running across the countryside. The whole time  my Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea has been on going with the characters shipwrecked onVenger Satanis's The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence . The black demon haunted sands, purple & strangely hued jungles, & tentacled terror filled environs have landed them in the temple of Nodens just shy of their ultimate goal. The problem is that I don't have the time to flesh out the temple of Nodens the way I want. Well fortunately I've got a bunch of experienced dungeon masters and old school friends to point me the way.  Not only can Holmes point the way on scaling the encounters for first level PC's. But its got a sample dungeon or two that can really help fill in those old school weird pulpy gaps. This includes being a stand in for a certain temple that was originally a wizards tower that was converted into a temple during the time of the Green Death plague.  There are other lower level ruins & dungeons scattered around my version of the islands.

 The Sample Dungeon in Holmes ala The Tower of Zenopus was incredibly important to a certain generation of gamers. Its iconic, incredibly easy to run and has great potential to really set the tone for first level PC's.Its easy for them  to get a handle on that pulpy sword & sorcery vibe that seems to really echo through Holmes. Another dungeon that I want to have the PC's explore is  "The Sample Level in Underworld & Wilderness Adventures" by Gary Gygax there's just something incredibly iconic about it that begs it to be run with low level PC's.

When I was around my preteen years I taught a group of much younger gamers who had a book called
What is Dungeons & Dragons by John Butterfield, Philip Parker, and David Honigmann. It is was published in the U.S. in 1984 & before that the UK in 1982. Well within that book was a little dungeon called The Shrine of Kollchap. 
I ran my uncle's kids through this dungeon several times. They went on to be dungeon masters in their own right.  The shrine has a bit of everything for a dungeon master looking to really sprinkle on bits & pieces of the old school D&D feel without the completely lethal edge that comes with the turf. What's really nice is how easily it is to modify out for games like AS&SH. These dungeons can keyed so that Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea will provide all of the necessary stats and monster profiles to set up & spawn any of the horrors for this campaign to succeed.
Finally there's the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Coloring Album By Gary Gygax which has for many years had a love affair among old school players & fans alike. Included as a part of the coloring book is a dungeon that is ultimately a part of the background of the coloring book itself. All of the monsters, creatures, adventurers are all keyed into the book's setting. Now here's the bit about this dungeon, its actually pretty deadly & lethal! It also follows the Holmes edition dungeon very closely. There's a great break down from the OD&D boards by Zenopus & even more details on it. 

 This dungeon could be used as a mid point island location with a multi planar twist enabling PC's from AS&SH to experience some of the more iconic & pulpy D&D elements without polluting Hyperborea's unique setting. This means that the dungeon might be a nexus dimensional point or gateway for Hyperborea into a sword & sorcery Greyhawk. But this is going to be for a much higher level point in the campaign.

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