Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Curse of Mistwood

Curse of Mistwood is a level 4-6 adventure, written by Daniel J. Bishop and David W. Fisher. Illustrations are by David W. Fisher. Cartography is by David W. Fisher, Brian Van Hunsel and Del Teigeler. The publisher is Shinobi27 Games.

Disclosure: I am one of the writers, and have an editing credit as well.

Curse of Mistwood is the sequel to The Trolls of Mistwood. It is a massive adventure, beginning in the swamp-side town of Mistwood, and crossing over to Barg'herzarag, the Hagworld. Mistwood has changed, and there are dark portents that the end of the world may itself be nigh.

This was an enormously fun adventure to work on. Hags have been a staple of gaming since the 1st Edition AD&D Monster Manual, at least. Over the years, "gaming" hags have made departures from, and callbacks to, "folklore" hags. This offered a chance to create a mythology of hags which enables them to be recognizable to longterm gamers, strikes the itch of folklore, and incorporates Appendix N.

As an example, we provided rules for being hag-ridden in the "real" world of Mistwood, which can have a rather nasty side effect when characters transit to the Hagworld. We also supply a sort of ecology of hags, which can be used to personalize randomly encountered hags in this (or other) adventures. In fact, I would go so far as to say that in Curse of Mistwood an attempt was made to simultaneously define hags for Dungeon Crawl Classics while following the "Make Monsters Mysterious" advice of the core rulebook. Others will have to determine how successful (or not) we were in that task.

Events in the adventure take place five years after those of The Trolls of Mistwood, and the town has changed...from the events of the earlier adventure, from the passage of time, and from what is now spurring the PCs toward a crisis. Mistwood is described well enough in this adventure, and in Trolls, that a judge could easily use it as part of the backdrop to a campaign, starting right from the 0-level funnel until the characters retire or die.

Barg'herzarag is detailed so that the aspiring judge could set his own adventures in the Hagworld as well as merely frighten his players with this adventure. Of course, the Hagworld is an unpleasant place, with complete details on how magic is different and some rather unpleasant encounters to be had. Dungeon Crawl Classics completists will note some crossover with The Arwich Grinder and Creeping Beauties of the Wood. Carproaches made an appearance in The Gong Farmer's Almanac. The demo-grues, of course, take their inspiration from Jack Vance...indeed, one hopes that a sense of Jack Vance colors the whole of Barg'herzarag, although his is not the only Appendix N inspiration.

Travel through the Hagworld is a means to an end, though, and that end is Wartaren, the Living Castle. As one of the authors, I hope you find the castle suitably horrific. There are a number of ways that the PCs can deal with Wartaren and its occupants. The adventure describes the factions and politics of the Hagworld, so that the PCs can gain allies or take sides. Wartaren is large enough, and detailed enough, for two or three sessions of play.

As the commercial goes: But wait! There's more!

Curse of Mistwood has five appendixes, detailing Foes and Allies, Demons of Barg'Herzarag, Patrons of Mistwood, the Scrying spell, and the magic sword, Clawreaver. How useful some of these appendixes are to you wil depend upon what other materials you own. The patrons described herein can all be found in the Extended, Otherworldly Edition of Angels, Daemons, and Beings Between, for instance, while the Scrying spell is from The Revelation of Mulmo.

A bunch of demons that visit Barg'herzarag, and might be found as guests in Wartaren? Those could be used anywhere. In fact, the cunning judge could take a page from The Fallible Fiend and have one of these demons encountered in a non-combative capacity early on in the PCs' careers. The PCs might even discover a strange allegiance forming!

Curse of Mistwood is the second adventure in the Mistwood Series. It can be played as a continuation of The Trolls of Mistwood or as a standalone adventure. With 70 pages of adventure and over 20 pages of patrons, spells and magic items, Curse of Mistwood has enough material to be its own campaign setting.

A dark power has stirred in Mistwood. An evil so great that not only is the quiet waterside village at risk but perhaps the world itself. Once more adventurers must heed the call to arms, risking everything to thwart the plans of a much greater foe. Will the adventurers have the courage to seek the source of Mistwood's woes, or will they be consumed trying?

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