Monday, October 13, 2008

Archaic Game Material of the Week

Dungeon Module L1: The Secret of Bone Hill. Originally published in 1981. Written by Lenard Lakofka.

The Secret of Bone Hill was set in the World of Greyhawk; specifically inthe town of Restenford on the Lendore Isles. The islands are also known as the Spindrift Isles. These islands are off the South-East coast of the Great Kingdom. It is now ruled by elves, and has a strange form of elfish fascism in place. This module is the first of a trio, followed by The Assassin's Knot and Deep Dwarven Delve, all by Lakofka.

A great deal of the module's content surrounds the environs around Restenford and Bone Hill. There is a cult in the woods, and a druidic circle. Once the players find their way to the castle ruins, they encounter bugbears during the day and a host of undead at night, including something called a ghoulstirge.

The lower reaches are inhabitted by numerous undead, a stone guardian, and several spectators (beholderkin). Deadliest of all is a mirror of opposition, which can trap the entire party and create evil duplicates of the trapped characters.

In typical D&D fashion, there is not exactly a point to the module. You are not specifically tasked to do anything at or about Bone Hill. You may encounter one fo the sects in the wilderness and go on quests, but much of it is left to the DM. Obviously, Bone Hill is where you want to get, as that is where the treasure is!

2 comments:

Mark Bruno said...

I love those old modules. And while I respect that many current publishers are trying to recapture those glory days, the retro-adventures they're publishing still don't hold a candle to the classics.

Darius Whiteplume said...

There were a few companies that tried doing a similar job. I forget the names, but they were brochure type modules, portrait pages folded in half. They were not bad, though not great.

I best remember the modules that were go-in-the-dungeon, get-out-alive types. The Tomb of Horrors, for example (though getting out alive rarely fit into the formula). Modules like Bone Hill and Keep on the Borderlands could get a bit out of hand in some ways with all the locale info, but in other ways, it makes for a great campaign setting - at least in the short term. Players aren't up to level for Bone Hill yet? Have them knock off some goblins elsewhere on the islands. :-)

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