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Murder Knights of Corvendark
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/12/2018 11:33:06

"No one knows from where they came. All feathers and spite. Their vile beaks spit angry screeches, and beneath their wing beats, acrid miasmas swirl.

Within the subterranean caverns beneath Wychington — on the shores of Lake Grimwater — a small part of a region from long ago, or maybe a time yet to pass, has come into existence. Malign and abhorrent half-men, half-crows inhabit this harrowing place. Standing menacingly, clad in the darkest armour, or on their pitch-black wings protected by lighter, piecemeal leather armour, they murder men and feast on their flesh. Strangely resentful of their barely-feathered gods, they despise other living creatures for taking their breaths.

This is Corvendark, and under the sign of an inverted, five-skulled star, the Murder Knights dwell. Since the coming of this otherworldly realm, the Grimwater Lake region has been plagued by the atrocities of the ‘harpies’ — as they have been incorrectly named — regularly raiding the surface lands. None have been ravaged more so than Wychington, a small town on the northern lake edge at the mouth of the Lesselling River.

It is now that heroes are needed. Who will destroy this menace, or send them back whence they came?"

So begins The Murder Knights of Corvendark From MonkeyBlood Design

& the product is full of full on maps! This is an adventure location module. But when I received the email I grabbed my comp copy from Drivethrurpg I was astounded at the number of location based maps & yes this does bloody well plug into the Midderlands setting. But not necessarily for all your OSR campaign needs & I was pleasantly surprised by this. The Murder Knights of Corvendark From MonkeyBlood Design is designed for use with Swords & Wizardry but can easily be adapted for use with OD&D. There are a lot of traditional Dungeons & Dragons elements within this adventure & that's a good thing. The fact is that many of today's OSR designers & writers try to reinvent the adventure formula. The Murder Knights of Corvendark doesn't do that. Instead it presents the adventure elements in such a way as to give the players & the dungeon master some time get through the adventure in challenging & engaging way. This adventure can be played over six or so sessions in my opinion but if the players are stupid they're going to die in glorious & gory ways.

The cartography is excellent & the writing is up to Midderlands standards. For the most part everything in the The Murder Knights of Corvendark clicks all of the right buttons. For adapting it to other OSR & old school campaigns. The Murder Knights of Corvendark could with some work be placed within Mystara or perhaps the lands of Greyhawk. Blackmoor might be a bit of a stretch but it would work.
The Midderlands campaign setting is where The Murder Knights of Corvendark

is going to work best. The tone & setting details picks everything in this adventure up with gusto & runs with it. I can hardly see using The Murder Knights of Corvendark with Lamentations of the Flame Princess or another dark Europe OSR setting. This adventure would suit Dark Albion & other Europe based OSR games. The theme of the Old Warhammer / White Dwarf old school adventure weirdness is certainly here in MonkeyBlood Design's efforts in The Murder Knights of Corvendark. Because this is a fifty page adventure location based adventure there's lots to do & events happening within the adventure itself. Sure there is a spooky theme here but its not flat hitting you over the head with itself. There is an investigative & solid way of dealing with players in the module's method. The adventure location areas are well fleshed out but not overwhelmingly so like other OSR adventures. The full theme runs well though out the text here & the dungeon master can & will have to run with certain adventure hooks. Overall I really liked The Murder Knights of Corvendark . I hope to see more adventure location based modules from MonkeyBlood Design crew. I'd give this a five out of five because of the above the cut quality efforts from the rest of the OSR crew. Eric Fabiaschi Sword & Stitchery Blog Want more exclusive OSR content? Subscribe to https://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Murder Knights of Corvendark
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Midderzine Issue 1
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/15/2018 15:42:35

Glynn Seal of Monkey Blood design has been quietly building his Midderland setting empire with product across the board for old school & OSR games. The Midderlands setting is a dark fantasy England on acid filtered through the warped imagination of early White Dwarf magazine fans wrapped around a Swords & Wizardry rpg core rules set. This brings me to issue #1 of The Midderzine from Glynn Seal & the Monkey Blood crew. So what's in this issue & why is the Midderzine important to OSR fans?! Well here's what's in the zine; "an interview with Jim Magnusson, 'news' from The Haven Gazette, 3 Hex Locations, The Village of Stonecastle, The Eyeless Harrowers cult, two new NPCs, three new monsters, a new class - Crowmaster, two new spells, five new oddities, four new flora and fauna." Even if you haven't gotten the Midderlands setting or the Midderlands Expanded book this has some very interesting fiddly bits & pieces that can be applied to bring the Midderlands to your gaming world. For example 'news' from The Haven Gazette are adventure seeds & hooks to get the PC's involved with the locals of this region. But here the adventure hooks pull the PC's in for example the local leper knights have a new expansion; The Leper Knights of Saint Corrobin in Helm’s Ford "In Helm’s Ford last week, the growing group known as the Leper Knights ofSaint Corrobin were granted rights to erect a monastery on the outskirts of the‘Without’ part of town. Many of the townsfolk are unhappy about the close proximity to the disfigured andcontagious outcasts, but Lord Porc Turmeric has confirmed that they are part of a defensive strategy for the town and anyone who obstructs the rights afforded to them will be dealt with harshly." What happens when some of the locals hire the PC's to help clean out some 'undesirables' from the village?! This is only one of the many examples that are woven throughout the Midderzine. The big selling point of the Midderlands is the Gloomuim - A green magick glowing stone like substance that is in fact concentrated magical chaos that can mutate things, be used for magical items, to power spells, mutate animals & flora into monsters,etc. & it permeates every aspect of this dark fantasy England. The 11 adventure seeds & hooks all tie directly back into the settings & the locals making it very dangerous for PCs! Next we get three new hex locations & all that entail these seem like they came straight out of an early issue of White Dwarf but they have the unique Midderlands spin to them. That is to say they might be based on some possible real world historical location or other. But these locations always have that green laced weirdness factor that makes the Midderlands unique. We get the 'Plinth of Dullen Fields' with its own take on the possessed royals bit; 'It is said that a witch hexed the oldLord of Shroomsbury, and he became possessed by a devil. Staffleford had acted to prevent the malignancy from spreading. However, the Lord of Shroomsbury also believed the same about the Lord of Staffleford, and had acted in the same manner.' And there's some room here for the dungeon master to really go to town on what else its connected to in their own version of the Midderlands. 'The Ruins of The Cock &Pocket Inn' might be the enterance to a dungeon or underground green hued ruin or something far more sinister. Then there's 'Ratdog Tor' & its deep connection to the twisted monstrosities of the Midderlands. I don't want to go into too much detail here but you get the idea.

Then we get the village of Stonecastle," The village of Stonecastle is ruled over by the Fellchurch family, and the current ruler is Sir Uriah Fellchurch (see The Midderlands Expanded page 182). Sir Fellchurch treats the villagers well, and they respect him." And we get a whole village setting for the asking where adventurers might actually have a quiet time of it. Well, of course they won't be cause there's more brewing under the surface. Speaking of brewing we get a brand new cult of eyeless ale brewers known as 'The Eyeless Harrowers' whose ales grace the local taverns throughout the region. These incredibly evocative NPC's have some far more things happening under the tap then you might think & might also be NPC patrons rather then foes!? Two mid teir NPC's are next who come with their own adventure hooks build in;"Edmund Fester travels the Western Midderlands with his fellow adventurers; the human thief, Vex Vandel. Then there's this information broker whose not the usual sort; 'Corlin Lackcraw is in the discrete service of Sir Uriah Fellchurch. He dispatches Corlin around the lands to see what the crows are saying, and feedback any information that may be of use to Stonecastle.' We've got three new monsters from 'the Midderlands' including Gloomrats who are absolutely nasty bastards! 'Catviles are large cats devoid of fur, instead being covered allover with loose, dark, light absorbing skin. ', which I personally want a Catvile as a pet! This takes me into the demonic 'Devil Goat' & I've seen a couple of different versions of a monster called a 'Devil goat' but this is a disembodied demonic goat head with tentacles & a passion for evil! These things are really nasty & even seasoned adventurers are going to have problems! Then we are presented with a brand new class known as the Crowmaster! These are men & women who spend years out on the moors & forests listening to the language of Corvids! This folks know all of the gossip & spinets of rumors & information that these birds collect. They advance up in levels & have very tight relationships with these birds. Imagining royals having spy net works of crows, jays, etc. throughout their kingdoms! Well don't imagine it because that's the sort of weirdness of the Midderlands. We then get two new spells 'covered in shit' & 'bag of crap' which is both pretty great. The covered in shit spell is a second level spell & does exactly what it sounds like. The second spell allows a magic user, druid, or cleric to reach into a leather bag & pull out a useful item or maybe not. The random tables of the Midderlands expanded book has the dungeon master covered but I'd make my own. Its an amusing second level spell for the players. Finally we get bunch of new Midderlands oddities which are solid magic items strongly connected with the Midderlands setting itself. All in all we get a solid setting fanzine that has been set up by the Monkey Blood design crew & Glynn Seal to act as both fan support & as a solid way of continuing the expanding setting of the Midderlands. That being said I think that it could be be bought by an OSR gamer to really get a good foot hold into the Midderland's setting to really get a feel for it's green laiden weirdness! I'd actually say its a four out of five for its utility & usefulness as a game supplement even if you don't own a single Midderlands book!

Eric Fabiaschi Sword & Stitchery Blog Want more reviews & OSR content then subscribe to https://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Midderzine Issue 1
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The Midderlands - OSR Bestiary and Setting
by RedDice D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/14/2018 00:03:56

The Midderlands book is one of the finest OSR supplements that I have had the privilege of reading, it conjures up a world both familiar and yet fantastic. The book is crammed with so much "game juice" it seems almost inconceivable that a GM might not find something for their campaign inside.

For my full video review please look here:

https://youtu.be/EMzhMWEIYzY



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Midderlands - OSR Bestiary and Setting
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The Midderlands - OSR Bestiary and Setting
by Juan O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/13/2018 22:08:33

I don't game with OSR style rules anymore, but i found this book an amazing trove of ideas, a joy to read and wonderful to just look at (and I'm not just saying this because I drew a couple of pieces for it)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Midderlands - OSR Bestiary and Setting
by James S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/13/2018 22:04:01

Billed as a Bestiary and mini-campaign setting, The Midderlands is far more than it says on the tin. It is built around a small region of a twisted late medieval England that never was, appropriately called the Midderlands. Seal and Co. manage to be both concise and amazingly evocative with the prose of this tiny (but powerful) tome to create a setting that is truly unique, yet doesn't require the referee or players to learn a ton of backstory to enjoy the material as its presented.

The Midderlands is a truly strange place, but because its rooted in a well-researched and well-known period of real world history, its quite approachable. The authors manage to convey in just a few pages what exactly makes the Midderlands unique without going into an inappropriate level of detail so as to bog down or bore the reader. As previously mentioned, the Midderlands is firmly rooted in real world history -- but not specific events. Instead, it uses the feel and commonalities of a real historic place and era and then pours on a heaping helping of strange and twisted folk lore that is both familiar and entirely unique all at the same time.

The Midderlands is a strange and twisted place full of unexplained events, twisted monsters that feel rooted in folklore but have an almost Froudian twist to them. The people of the Midderlands are real people, not adventurers or heroes. They want to tend their crops, feed their families, and not be bothered by the terrible things that lurk just beyond the green gloomfog that lingers in a nearby bog. That being said, most average residents recognize that these monsters are quite real and there's almost a sense that they're nonplussed about the whole affair. 'Well, of course there's a bulging-eyed horde of slime dripping goblins who live in those woods. Any fool knows that."

The magic items are no less strange, each designed to have a tonality that strengthens the themes of the setting. A handful of spells do the same as well. Oh, speaking of magic -- magic is something not to be trifled with in the Midderlands. Because frogs fall from the sky, trees sometimes explode in a shower of green flame, and a dangerous beryl fog floats in from beneath the earth, the people of the Midderlands have a general stance of "Burn the witch, ask questions later" when it comes to magic and magic-users. Again, fitting with the historic context -- but also with it's own twist.

The feelings evoked by the material ooze across every page, but the minimalist word count leaves referees free to build and expand as they see fit to suit their campaign. It's billed as a mini-campaign setting, but to be honest I feel like there are years worth of adventures to be told in these pages.

The monsters are lavishly and beautifully illustrated in a perfect expression of appopriate strangeness. In addition to ecology and stat blocks, most monsters are provided with a full level-progression which both allows the referee to scale them to the power level of an individual party of PCS or, if they're feeling brave, allowing them as player characters. That was a real surprise, and a welcome one.

In short, Midderlands is probably my favorite OSR campaign setting currently on the market because it combines the familiar and the strange so perfectly. This allows the referee to create a fresh experience for players without going into territorty that feels different for the sake of being different. Ostensively written for Swords & Wizardry Complete, it can easily be adapted to many OSR games and B/X-based RPGs currently on the market. Personally, I think it would be an excellent fit for Lamentations of the Flame Princess, given that games strangeness -- plus, LotFP and Midderlands physical copies are of the absolute highest quality when it comes to production values and they're both A5 in dimension. I find they look very snazzy next to one another on a shelf.

Midderlands is absolutely 100% worth a purchase. Even if you don't play OSR games and lean towards more modern game systems, there is enough material here to be begged, borrowed, or stolen that its well worth the price of admission.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Midderlands - OSR Bestiary and Setting
by Greg B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/13/2018 21:26:07

The Midderlands is a folklore written by goblins, extensively detailed by their human thrall ["the Glynn" as in: "Make the Glynn taste it first, brother."] with maps, illustrations, a bestiary full of horrible pseudo-medieval freaks, and pertinent descriptions of all the required data necessary to run a campaign there. Situated in a Britain-That-Never-Was, in a region saturated by an eldritch Green quality. Here be notes of Lovecraftian power. Glynn's monster profiles resemble the evocative weirdos of Clark Ashton Smith and are worth the purchase of the book alone. This is an expanding setting with further resources already here at OBS or on the horizon. [5/5]

Buy It If: You like twisted fairy tale worlds like Dolmenwood, Yoon-Suin or anything by Kabuki Kaiser.

Don't Buy If: You don't like a little whimsy in your Weird or happen to be haunted by memories of goblin-perpetrated enthrallment.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Midderlands - OSR Bestiary and Setting
by Shane W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/03/2018 08:31:37

The Midderlands is an amazing piece of work, a world you can fit into any campaign. I honestly can't wait to run it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Midderlands - OSR Bestiary and Setting
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/30/2017 14:11:09

I backed The Midderlands – An OSR Mini-Setting and Bestiary Kickstarter by Glynn Seal of MonkeyBlood Design. It surpassed its 12,000 pound goal by 1,953 pounds. I selected the 30 pound pledge level, AKA Mawling, the rewards is a PDF of the Book, a PDF of the map, and a hardcopy of the book, one map, and two character sheet bookmarks.

It funded July 31, 2017. The PDFs were released on October 9, 2017, and I received my physical rewards on November 27, 2017.

Here are pictures of my book, map, and bookmarks.

The PDF: The download with the PDF included a jpg character sheet in color, a jpeg of the monster quick reference for the monsters in the bestiary, and the map in color and parchment both jpgs. After the PDF was released, we received a 33 page PDF of things cut because of layout and other issues, The Midderlands Additions. This gives more information on one creature, some NPCs, and a map and description of an inn, which is also an adventure. These are things cut from the final print version to keep shipping costs manageable.

Inside the 228 page PDF is art by Glynn and several other artists. The table of contents lays out what is in this gazeteer of an RPG setting based on the Midlands of England. There are the standard geographical features, points of interests, towns, villages, and cities. There are also adventures and adventure hooks. Glynn has taken interesting sites from his location in England and filtered them through a combination of RPGs and his imagination to come up with something new. I should mention that there is a language warning on this project from the author. If you can’t handle “adult language” this may not be for you.

It uses Swords & Wizardry as a base, but will work with any OSR ruleset. The ideas can be used in any setting, and many in any genre.

The color scheme for this setting is green. Take any word to describe green and any shade of green, and things that are green, and they end up here. Slime, vapors, demons, etc. are all green and there is a cthonic and dreary atmosphere, and the locals mistrust outsiders. There is enough here for a stand alone campaign, or ideas and adventures to sprinkle in your own campaign or campaign world.

Gloomium is the metallic substance that generates the green hue to everything, and causes all the weirdness in the world. Gloom-touched is the phrase that describes those affected by gloomium. There are random tables to describe what these effects are., and their location on the body. There is a dd0 table called Weird Shit used to add weirdness to The Midderlands. A list of words for green is provided, as everything in the setting should have something green about it. Surprisingly, Lincoln Green, the color associate with Robin Hood and his men is not listed. That color was based on a dyeing process. I am not sure if that shade has another name.

The setting is based on the 15th and 16th century. Artillery exists along with primitive handheld firearms. Magic and witches are not trusted. Religion is left to the GM to handle, but describes a loose system of belief that will suffice without adding to the GM’s workload. A list of superior beings that fit the setting, from angels and demons to deities is also provided.

Among the list of locations that are described, some settlements have a map, and some of those have numbered locations for major locations within the city or town. Points of interest are also given. These are things like a windmill, or a large rock with a history, etc. Some are “normal,” while others have lore or legend associated with them.

There are four new spells, that fit the region/setting. They require but a single page.

Pages 75 – 186 contain all the new plants and creatures. There is a table to randomize the types and effects of fungus/mushrooms that might be found. Some monsters have their own classes and levels. This allows scaling the threat of some creatures in unique ways. (I really need to dig in and read through all these new creatures.)

Pages 188-206 detail the adventures and adventure ideas in the setting.

Pages 207-215 cover hex map locations. Most are fixed locations in a specific numbered hex. However, the last five items actually have random locations, such as a travelling circus. The GM is advised to lay out the map and drop a d20 on it from about 18″ to generate each item’s current location.

Next, there is an Appendix with six tables: a d20 insult table with 20 common Midderlands insults, a d10 festival/gathering table, a d20 weather table, a name and trades table with no numbers/die rolls indicated, an additional Hamlet/Small Town names table, and a d100 Crap You Find On A Midfolk Table. As with any resource, these tables have something you can use in whole or in part in games independent of this setting.

Finally, there is an index, it is not hyperlinked, nor is the Table of Contents.

What I liked about the PDF:

  • The artwork, design, and layout are gorgeous and help evoke the setting.
  • Random tables that can be used in other games and settings.
  • New creatures, spells, and items that are portable to other games and settings.

What I’d like to see in the PDF:

  • A hyperlinked Table of Contents
  • A hyperlinked Index.
  • The character sheet
  • I’d also like a no color option for more economical printing.
  • The map – just a basic version on a single page.
    • NOTE: There are bookmarks in the PDF, so one can navigate to various sections, but the bookmark pane must remain open.

The Book: The hardback book is 6″ x 8.5″. It is solid and has heft to it. It includes two ribbon bookmarks in different shades of green to match the motif of the green cover and green tint and hue to the artwork and pages. It is gorgeous! It also has colored markings for groups of pages in the same section, like settlements, creatures, adventures, etc. For larger numbers of pages, these are easily visible when looking at the edge of the pages when the book is closed. Some are more easily identified when the pages are fanned. This is a cool way to allow the user to jump to a section.

The front end pages are a character sheet, that is the same as the one backers received as a jpg with the PDF.

The pages are slick and thicker than one normally expects. This makes for a durable little tome, with heft beyond its size. While the pages are slightly slick, they only shine at a specific angle to the light in the room, and are easy to read. I have not tried reading it in all light levels. The text does not bleed through, but some of the darker art does. CORRECTION: I realized that what I thought was bleed through is actually the region map sort of like a watermark. It is only the shields for heraldry of certain nobles, and lakes and rivers that are dark enough to easily show. The rest is quite faint and easily missed. I did not find it distracting while reading the text.

What I liked about the book:

  • It is gorgeous!
  • The art and layout.
  • The double bookmarks.
  • All of the same things I liked about the PDF.

What I’d Like to see in the book:

  • The region map on one page, so I don’t need to open up the map or resort to the computer.
  • The Map:
  • Full color 16.5″ x 23.25″. One side has the green color motif, and the other has a parchment like color. Both sides have light gray numbered hexes. On the green side the numbers are white with a dark outline.

I find that the parchment colored background is easier to read the names of all the locations. Both sides are gorgeous, but the green side has just enough of a shine to it that makes it harder to read than the color combinations. I do like the green side as it fits the motif of the PDF and book. The black and white lettering on the green side is easily legible, but any writing of other colors, I find hard to read. I have not tried it in multiple lighting levels, as I have limited space to spread out at the moment.

Instead of using different colored text for different political units, a different size of font in black would work better on the green side for my eyes. I find that this is an issue in the last 6 or 7 years, that certain things I used to read easily, I can’t. I have new glasses, so it isn’t my prescription. Aging eyes begin to lose some of their finer utility. The option of the parchment map on the other side does remedy this.

I first posted this review on my blog: http://followmeanddie.com/2017/12/02/review-midderlands-kickstarter/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Carnival of Dreams (Fate)
by Steve A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/18/2017 08:28:28

A clearly written and concise adventure. Blending comedic elements, such as the absurd superpowers, with a dark and sinister plot generates a unique atmosphere around the table. There is a wealth of information for the GM to draw on without getting bogged down by it, in fact the book encourages you to use as little or as much of the provided information as you like. This makes it very accessable and suitable for players of all types. The maps are superb and the locations are well thought out, again with bags of information to accompany them. On the whole whis book is smart, clean and a great little adventure to pick up for a one-off evening of fun with friends, but there is enough depth there to mean no two games will play out the same.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Carnival of Dreams (Fate)
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The Midderlands - OSR Bestiary and Setting
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/13/2017 11:47:26

So I've been looking over The Midderlands - OSR Bestiary and Setting pdf last night during a wicked ice storm. This morning I'm looking over the Midderlands setting last night & can't seem to shake the feeling I've seen this style of setting before. But first what is the Midderlands, "A green-hued, dark-fantasy, old-school mini-setting and bestiary set in a twisted middle-England." So what do I possibly mean I've seen this style of OSR setting before? The Drivethrurpg blurb goes into far more detail;"

"Situated in the middle of Havenland is an area known by the ancestors as the Middle Havenlands. They don’t use that name much any more, preferring to talk lazily, and skip letters.

In strange accents, often misheard and little understood by those outside of the central region - they call it “The Midderlands”, and themselves “Midfolk” or “Midderlanders”.

There are many peculiar folk that call these Midderlands home. Generally mistrusting of outsiders, they suspiciously eye strangers, close doors, bar windows and scurry in opposite directions. Maybe the area has had a troubled history and that is why the folk behave the way they do.

All that aside, there are good folk too. These folk just want to subsist peacefully and not have interference or “goings on” in their lives. Nothing is ever that simple.

As well as the people of the area, there are the places. The towns and hamlets, the woods and hills, the lakes and the rivers. Amongst all these places are stranger locales too; circles of stones, strange towers, castles and burial grounds.

Everywhere, the Midderlands is tainted by a green-hued menace that rises from the deep and affects nature and order, sometimes subtly and sometimes catastrophically. It rises from the mysterious subterranean realm known as Middergloom. Often described as hell bathed in green fire and flames. Green-tinged slime, noxious vapours, and miasmas creep upwards, amongst them viridian-coloured demons, lime-green tentacles and other malachite horrors claw their way to the surface to wreak havoc. The Lords of the land are always working to keep things at bay. The realm of Middergloom is deliberately nebulous and mysterious, and left for you to develop as needed to suit your campaign.

The vileness that lurks below taints the skies above the land too, known as The Drab. The atmosphere is a hint of green rather than blue. The colour can shift between turquoise and sickly yellow-green in a short space of time. When night comes and the Drab clears, the midfolk can see the constellations surrounded by wispy green nebulae, strange wandering stars and comets, and a single many-cratered moon.

There are many things to keep the inquisitive minds of treasure seekers amused. There are also many things to keep the treasures where they are.

Things stir in this viridian-hued landscape. Evil eyes blink and watch. Teeth and claws scratch and sharpen. Gaping maws slobber and drool.

All is not content in the Midderlands." So needless to say that the Midderlands is very well done, the layout is easy on the eyes, the material fits exactly the itch of a deep, dark, dank fantasy England. Glynn Seal knows his sources & solid background of his world very well. This is not your average OSR world but one that seems to reflect the uniquely weird U.K. brand of fantasy. So where have I seen this style before? In The U.K. series of classic TSR modules. This same home grown U.K. style where the grit is matched by the monsters of the setting twisted into the plot background of the product so that the adventure flows together well as a cohesive setting whole.

I'd compare the Midderlands setting to U.K.1 Beyond the Crystal Cave. "Beyond the Crystal Cave was written by British designers Dave J. Browne, Tom Kirby, and Graeme Morris, and published by TSR in 1983" There are several reasons why I'm saying this. Your going to need to actually role play, think outside the box, and figure your way out of the interiors of several of the nastier bits of the Midderlands. This is the same idea that Beyond the Crystal Cave employed. By hook or crook the PC's have to use their brains time & again. The second reason I'd compare the two is because of the way that the author has shunted the material into a strangely spun English countryside;" U.K.1 is set in an old English milieu on Sybarate Isle in the Hold of the Sea Princes." This is the same style that we'd later on see in later on in the classic Warhammer Fantasy by Games Workshop because authors of TSR U.K. would go on to create classic era Games Workshop! Let me go so far as to say that you could drop the entire TSR U.K. series right into the Midderlands & the setting would let out a burp & a fart then continue on. That's the beauty of this setting its adaptable easily able to be used in a wide variety of OSR setting & milieus easily including Dark Albion, Gavin Norman's Dolmenwood , Greyhawk, & many others.

For Dark Albion, The Midderlands is the going to be a mid point in the Albion empire. Not quite a backwater but the sort of a frontier border countryside that's common in England. These lands are going to be 'settled' but not quite up to the usual Albion strictness of control that one gets deeper in the cities & towns. There are deep & dark monsters in these places. PC's are going to have to tread very carefully between the politics of the area, the residents, and the monsters. For adapting The Midderlands setting for an old school Sword & Sorcery campaign world like Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea second edition, 'The Midderlands' represents the point where civilization ends & the wilderness begins. The technological level is a mid to high point late Roman Empire to Medieval real world historical perspective. As such The Midderlands would be a place where the humans have recovered or retained a good deal of their technological prowess compared to some of the places in Hyperborea. This means that the Midderlands would be the belt way of the capital of Hyperborea. This is the beauty of 'The Midderlands' as a mini setting it can be moved where its needed in an OSR campaign setting. I'd give it five out of five for an outstanding product. Eric Fabiaschi Swords & Stitchery Want to see more OSR support for this & Original Content For OSR games? Please subscribe to https://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Midderlands - OSR Bestiary and Setting
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The Midderlands Additions
by Shane W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/22/2017 08:50:39

Alright, so the "Midderlands" was amazing! But Glynn didn't stop there did he? No of course not. Here he comes along with the "Additions", which just adds to the awesome of the midderlands!

The setting & the additions has raised the bar for all things OSR. If you intend to run the Midderlands, this is a must have.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Midderlands Additions
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Havenland Fantasy Map Icon/Symbol Set/Pack
by Phil W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/10/2017 10:58:59

The included PNG symbols are very attractive and well done. There is a nice range of terrain features as well as a number of symbols for buildings and populated areas. This set includes 10 terrain textures plus 4 tiles for creating a hex grids. The farmland texture doesn't tile as nicely as it should producing odd patterns but it is usable as it is. The hex grid images when tiled produce a 130 pixel hex grid. Not sure why that size was chosen though it does make the point to point dimension close to 150 pixels.

The set is decently organized with folders for each symbol type (colour, white and outline) and includes PDF guides on using them in GIMP.

I have two issues with the set. The first is that the symbols overall are pretty small. A good number of them being less than 100 pixels wide. The other issue is that they are not in scale with each other. A single cottage symbol might be 130 pixels across and then a village symbol, with multiple cottages, is only 150 pixels. Would have been nice if they were as large as the symbols in their Myrklund set.

My first instinct was to go with a 3 star rating but they are so nice looking that I went with 4 stars.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Havenland Fantasy Map Icon/Symbol Set/Pack
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Creator Reply:
Many thanks for taking the time to post a nice and constructive review, Phil. The Havenland set was the first set I created (back in early 2014), and I fully agree that the symbols would benefit from being larger. In hindsight, I would have made the symbols that way originally, but it's not something that is easily fixable at this stage. I did learn the lessons from that, and when creating the Narrasil and Myrklund sets, made them sufficiently large for most things. In terms of scale to each other, it's yet again, a fair point. I tend to create a symbol to suit a square box, and they vary in size within this. I use ArtRage 5 to draw maps using the symbols and its possible to scale them up or down a little to suit. As an example, the mountains could be at 100% but the trees at 50% say. It's definitely easier if you don't have to adjust scales on the fly though. Once again, many thanks for the feedback and 4 star review. Most kind of you. Take care, Glynn
Staff of the Last Hill Chief
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/11/2017 07:19:03

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This brief system-neutral module clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let's take a look!

So, how does the module achieve its system-neutral approach? Via symbols. The pdf utilizes several symbols to denote ceiling height, depth below surface of a given room, lighting, sounds, smells. The respective entries offer a first and second glance entry of information and combats are rated via sword-icons - one is easy, 5 is very hard. Loot is represented by gem-symbols. Skills, tasks and the like are represented by hand-symbols - again, one symbol indicates a very easy task, 5 a very hard one.

The basic presentation and inclusion of way to surface etc. adds a nice level of detail to the module and collates information for a region pretty smoothly, so kudos there. The map of the complex presented here (a cairn) is provided as a front- and a side-view version in b/w and is pretty detailed and rather well-made, considering the low price-point. However, if you're like me and a GM who wants key-less versions redacted for player use, then you'll be disappointed - none are provided.

And this is as far as I can go without going into SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion.

...

..

.

All right, only GMs around? Great! The staff known as Wyreaus was a symbol of leadership and he who holds it would also hold sway over the people - strife blossomed regarding the staff's ownership until a wise chief, one Skaeus Blackwyr, claimed the staff. When he died, the people buried the staff with him. The hill folk have since moved on, but now orcs are staging raids from this tomb, which is probably how the PCs are led to this place. As the PCs approach the cairn, they will have to deal with a Bear Owl and then with orcs, giant rats and finally, more orcs and an ogre. As the PCs explore the crude caverns, they will probably stumble over the entrance to the ancient chief's tomb, where a silty well is guarded by living statues. The spirit of Skaeus, tormented by the theft of the staff, still roams these halls, begs the PCs to take the staff with them...and summons his last ounce of strength to dislodge the staff from its hiding place in an adjacent room - swimming to the staff (underground river) will attract the attention of a giant crab, which acts as the boss. The pdf assumes that the PCs hand over the staff to gain their proper reward.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good - apart from affect/effect-level glitches, I noticed nothing glaring. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly two-column b/w-standard and the pdf has no artworks. The cartography is excellent, as mentioned, but sports no player-friendly map versions. The pdf has no bookmarks, but at this length, that's still kinda okay.

Glynn Seal's little system-neutral module excels in the level of detail: I really like the emphasis on senses and first/second look differences in what can be perceived. The cartography is excellent, considering the PWYW-nature. The module itself is a painfully vanilla mini-crawl, though. It does not have much branching or choice or consequence to offer. I have seen pretty much all aspects here done better, even in briefer modules, so if you expect anything out of the ordinary, then look elsewhere. I you just need a classic scenario and can't be bothered to make one, then this certainly has appeal. That being said...you can actually find better ones out there that do have system-relevant information, sparing you that additional work-load...which leaves me in a bit of a pickle, for I can't fathom a scenario where I'd seriously get some use out of this. This is not bad, but even for PWYW, it is not the best of options out there. My final verdict can't go higher than 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 - it's a harmless, inoffensive standard scenario with a nice level of detail.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Staff of the Last Hill Chief
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Creator Reply:
Many thanks for taking the time to review, I appreciate it! Some very useful feedback and I've learned a lot since releasing this adventure a few years ago. I'm tempted to release a revised version in the future which would address some of the shortcomings :)
The Demon Stones (Swords & Wizardry)
by Jerry M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/01/2017 23:43:39

Very nicely done! It's got great maps and cool black and white ink drawings all throughout, but what really struck me was the quality of the writing. Glynn goes out of his way to make the land feel real. Definitely check it out. Even if you don't plan to play it, it's still a worthy read.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Demon Stones (Swords & Wizardry)
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Witchfinder - A Swords & Wizardry Class
by Justin I. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/05/2016 16:21:52

The class itself is very interesting. It attacks as a fighter can use any weapon or piece of armor. It has d6 hit dice. Only lawful humans can be witchfinders. The start with a bonus on saving throws versus magic from chaotic casters.

What really makes the class interesting to me is its gritty inquisitor nature. All witchfinders have a higher than average chance of extracting useful information through torture. This starts at 60% and increases 2% per class level.

The other starting ability they get is quite unique. It is spread anxiety. There are no hard and fast, concrete rules for this. Essentially it's a tool for the GM'. Commoners will treat the witchfinder with fear and paranoia. They will avoid the witchfinder and placate them to avoid suspicion.

As they level up they gain the ability to cast the following spells as a cleric: detect magic, detect evil, protection from evil, bless, protection from evil (10 foot radius), and holy word.

In addition, at 9th level they can establish a malefizhaus. This is a witch-house that attracts low level witch hunters that will vow to protect the surrounding area. Historically, a malfiz haus was essentially a church torture

I really, really like this class. While it doesn't have a place in light-hearted games, it could lead to some really interesting games with a darker tone. Also, it's free! Check it out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Witchfinder - A Swords & Wizardry Class
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