Publisher: Necrotic Gnome
Author: Donn Stroud
Artists: David Hoskins, Glynn Seal, and Anna Urbanek
Genre: An adventure designed for OSE, or other OSR rulesets, for characters 3rd to 5th levels.
Pages: 48 pages
MSRP: $15.00 for the A5 sized hardcover (with PDF) at Exalted Funeral or $7.50 for the PDF at DriveThruRPG
The adventure is intended for at least four characters of 3rd to 5th level. The characters will start at the fishing village of Imbrich where they will find the townsfolk have physical mutations similar to Lovecraft’s Village of Innsmouth such as gill, fish scales, etc. The villagers have noticed Cetus, the Plangent Mage, and his wife Cassandryl are missing.
The characters will be tasked to visit his island and check on the couple. They will explore a wizard’s tower, encounter mutated sharks, deal with an angry a spirit, and a friendly ghost. Characters can literally alter the landscape if they can figure out Cetus’s work.
The module layout maintains the high standards of Old School Essentials (OSE). The inside covers are the full maps with mini maps provided on each two opposing pages for the room/location descriptions. Monsters, locked doors, secret doors and room numbers are clearly identified on the color maps. Most locations identify to where they lead if they go to a different level. The only issue I found was a connection between level 1 with level 3 that is not defined. I believe it connects room 33 with Room 22.
There is a table which identifies true, false and partially true rumors. There is a treasure page that includes all the types of treasures that can be found in the module and their associated value. This saves a lot of effort for calculating experience. The random encounter tables include both monsters and interesting events that the characters may stumble upon.
The locations have minimalist descriptions usually comprising one to three adjectives for notable features. The puzzles simply explain the solution, but little description such as sounds, movement, etc if they get it right. DMs looking for detailed descriptions will find this module sorely lacking so they must provide their own. The monsters have their statistics and special attacks included in the text.
Players will likely enjoy the good mixture of exploration, social interaction with villagers and other encounters, figuring out puzzles, and enough combat to keep everyone engaged. Players may dislike a few things that such as instant death with a failed saving throw or a wrong switch of an puzzle. The other issue is characters can easily gain multiple permanent aquatic mutations as they explore the island, which may aggravate some players. The mutations are similar to the cursed pirates in Pirates of the Caribbean.
Dungeon Masters can find plenty of story hooks to have this location as integral to their campaign once the characters have finished the adventure. Pirates and sahuagin are setup for being the primary antagonists, but characters can use the Isle and its impact as a base location for future sessions. Overall, this is an extremely solid adventure.