The Incandescent Grottoes
By Gavin Norman
the next installment of adventures from Old School Essentials creator Gavin
Norman. This adventure is for beginning characters of 1st – 2nd
level. It is designed with challenges that are way above a 1st level
character’s ability, thus the characters will have to play smart or die
quickly. The format of the book seems to be standardized and resembles Halls of
the Blood King. The maps are incredibly functional, and this adventure would be
simple to run with little prep and straight from the book.
is no over-arching plot in this adventure, but a couple of key factions that
have cross purposes in the dungeon. Examples of these factions are a Dream
Dragon who has their lair in the Grottoes, a Necromancer looking for knowledge,
and even a Cult who has run on hard times. This dungeon does not have the gonzo-like
features of Halls of the Blood King, but a more classic fantasy approach with a
lot of whimsy. Norman tends to write in an almost fairy-tale like manner and
the creativity is abundant. It feels like a child’s storybook with meat. Just
when the whimsy of the setting is taking you in, your characters catch a glance
of something that is just a bit not right. They then only discover some concept,
item, room, or monster that is deeply disturbing. It combines a lot of what these
kind f stories are expected to be, cautionary tales. Adventurers can profit
greatly from entering these halls, but the more they travel the more likely
they are to die, or worse.
has a hugely similar feel to me as A Hole in the Oak. I would say if you liked
that adventure you are almost guaranteed to enjoy this one as well. If you are
a fan of Norman’s Dolmenwood setting this adventure will fit in perfectly. The
art style in the book reflects the tone and nature of the adventure with a
magical and fae-realm quality. The adventure itself is great for first time OSR
players to give them a taste of what a classic adventure feels like, but it has
all the modern sensibilities as far as layout, structure, and production value.
I give this one a 5 out of 5 if you are in the market for a dark fairy-tale
dungeon crawl. This would be a great product to do for a short campaign or even
a convention, as long as you focused just on one aspect of the dungeon.
Click here to buy The Incandescent Grottoes
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