Sunday, June 12, 2016
The Lost Temple of Forgotten Evil Review
The Lost Temple of Forgotten Evil is an adventure from Dark Naga Adventures who seems to be the author, L Kevin Watson, though it's published by Fat Goblin Games. The name is a bit of a mouthful, clearly going for the old school naming method of The _____ (dungeon type) of ______ but perhaps having one too adjective too many. It's actually a dual statted adventure, both for 5th Edition and a generic "OSR" which is clearly AD&D, but possibly more 2e than 1e based on the power level, as the opponents have a lot of hit points. In any event, it's aimed at 4th to 6th level characters.
The Forgotten Evil in question is perhaps not so forgotten to most readers, it's Hastur, of Robert Chambers and H.P. Lovecraft fame. Or perhaps more Hastur as envisioned by August Derleth. Not the surreal, decadent Hastur of Chambers, nor the unspeakable and largely undefined horror of HPL. Instead, it's just a generic cult that grabs people and sacrifices them.
The adventure itself is basically broken up into two parts. Finding the location of the Lost Temple as well as obtaining background info on it, and then a dungeon crawl of the Lost Temple itself. The first part is spread over six different encounters in three different towns. I'm not sure there is a good reason to have these spread all over the place, especially since the towns aren't really described (though they do get nice maps). The names of the towns are a little odd - one is named Maria and another Pinto and the third Sumer.
The dungeon has 16 rooms and is mostly going from room to room, killing any cultists found (about half the rooms have them). The descriptions of each room are quite detailed, including the size, the various contents, and often a random table on what the inhabitants of the room might be doing. It's the same table over and over, mostly because it's pretty much the same sort of inhabitants in each room - cultists. The exception are a couple of named boss cultists, and one fairly generic demon.
As mentioned, it's mostly a 5e product, but with OSR stats. They are pretty good, actually, with the exception that everything has 8 to 12 hit points per hit dice and move is based on average speed being 30, not 12. An example:
"Cult Fanatic (4): Human SZ M; MV 30’; AC 5; THACO 16; ATK 1d6x2; HD 2; HP 24; INT Average; AL LE; LV 2; XP 225 SA/AD See Bestiary"
The loot isn't terrible, like some conversions, but isn't great, either, only about 5,000 gp worth of valuables and an evil mace they likely can't use (though my party actually does have an evil cleric, so YMMV).
The layout is somewhat modern, with fancy page backgrounds and what not. The most striking thing (to me) is how bad the artwork is. It has a strange cominbation of detailed faces, yet largely sparse, low detail (almost impressionist) backgrounds. On the flip side, the maps are really nice. Especially the town maps, they look hand drawn.
The Lost Temple of Forgotten Evil has its heart in the right places, both in catering to an old school vibe and developing a HPL based plot. But I think the result is somewhat boring. There's nothing that says "These are cultists of Hastur, The King in Yellow" as opposed to "These are the cultists of Shulazabob, Generic Evil God #87415". Oh sure, there are some minor details that are added to the cult - he apparently likes the number 40 and likes the infinity symbol. But the end result is more Final Sacrifice than The King in Yellow, sans Rowsdower.