Game Name: Temple of 1000 Swords
Publisher: Swordlords Publishing
Designer: Brad Kerr
Artists: Matt Stikker, Tyler Smith Owings, Ramón Perales Cano, and Brad Kerr
Genre: Old school fantasy RPG adventure
Pages: 25 pages
MSRP: Softcover with PDF $9.99 or $5.99 for just the PDF at DriveThruRPG
Temple of 1000 Swords is, as the name suggests, presents a dungeon that is themed around swords. That might seem to be a strange, perhaps limiting, concept for an adventure, but writer Brad Kerr and the Swordlords Publishing team manage to pack a surprising amount of ideas into a slim, 25 page package. The adventure is designed for the Old School Adventures (OSE) retro-clone, but it could be easily adapted to other OGL-based rpgs, or to other systems entirely.
Given the page count, Temple of 1000 Swords does not pretend to be a “mega-dungeon,” as there are around two dozen rooms in the dungeon in total. As a result, this is truly an adventure and not a campaign–eyeballing it, I think most groups will be able to hit all of the rooms in one or two four hour game sessions. But what sets this adventure apart from many rather generic dungeon crawls is the effort put into setting up factions in the dungeon. There are four major players in the dungeon, each with their own motivations and goals. These factions are set up very clearly in the initial pages of the text, making it easy for the GM to “get into the skin” of the factions and react to the actions of the PCs.
Tone-wise, Temple of 1000 Swords is in keeping with many OSR products, in that it is what I would call “cheerfully violent” and a little silly. One of the factions, in particular, will be familiar to fans of Runequest as similar to its most controversial species. Since it is designed to be integrated into an existing campaign as an interlude, this tone may not work for every table. But if you are playing in the broader OSR space, chances are you are playing in a manner that fits in well with the style of Temple of 1000 Swords.
And even if you are not an OSR GM, there is plenty here to strip-mine for ideas–there is a table for generating random magic swords that is extensive and usable in basically any fantasy context. This is one of those small products that is easy to overlook, but (especially at the price), it is well worth your time to check out.