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viernes, 25 de septiembre de 2015

OSR Week 2015: Clásicos de la Marca del Este

In today's post of the OSR Week 2015 I will talk about the three first installments of the Clásicos de la Marca series for the game Aventuras en La Marca del Este.

General characteristics of the series

Adventure modules of this series are characterized for ofering us adventures settled in the game universe of La Marca del Este and its structure and presentation are reminiscent of the original adventures for Dungeons & Dragons, like The Lost City, written by Tom Moldvay and In Search of Unknown, written by Mike Carr.

In Search of Unknown

The Lost City

These adventures have colourful covers and a functional and plain interior, with maps and black and white illustrations for characters and the situations they are involved.

This return to more classic times offers us the chance to buy at reasonable prices (5€/unit) adventures for different character levels adapted to Aventuras en La Marca del Este, version 3.5 de Dungeons & Dragons rulesets or other games under the OGL license (like Pathfinder (Wikipedia | Paizo | Devir Iberia | d20pfsrd) and the %th Edition (Wikipedia | Wizards of the Coast).

We also have the chance of, after a certain amount of time of putting on sale every adventure, to freely download them from El Codex de La Marca del Este and Tesoros de la Marca, although I sincerely advise to have them if you can, as it's worth to have them in printed format (and if you can help them buying it the authors surely will thank your help ;) ).

And with no more dilation I will comment you my impression about the three already published adventures at the time of writing this review, I will not explain you each one exhaustively as this will mean ruining the plot to all wanting to play it (you know, spoilers and all this things...).

B1 - La Cripta Nefanda de Uztum el Maldito



Character Levels: 1-3
Number of Players: 4-6
Downloading Websites: Codex de la Marca | Tesoros de la Marca (but think about what I said before)

La Cripta Nefanda de Uztum el Maldito is an adventure that can be put in any campaign scenario, although if you have the Blue Box of Aventuras en La Marca del Este it's advisable somewhere between the Red Hills and the western side of the River Oxus, in the Western Mark of the Forest Kingdom.

Characters will begin the adventure in a small fishermen inn (how typical, isn't it? :)) near the outskirts of the Western Harbour and known as The Turtle, its owner, an old adventurer named Tormod, would'nt hesitate to tell about his travels and deeds, including the legendary tale of Uztum the necromancer and the crypt where this subject and his treasures are hidden, something that surely would call their attention after all this is a local legend that may be known by them in any of its versions) and animate to investigate and equip themselves for beginning the adventure (and if not better forget it).



When they decide to begin the search the character will face many animal and human dangers (like pirates) until discovering the entry to the crypt and dangers hidden inside... And these are many and diverse, so if playing with fewer characters than those recommended it's better these to be nd level ones as creatures and traps there are really dangerous.

And as I'm talking about traps it's better to talk about the crypt itself as these adventure is really easy with a map easier to understand in a glance, so it's really adequate for newbie referees mastering a first time adventure (veteran referees surely will find it too easy but they can expand the crypt with new rooms, traps and beings, waiting the adventurers to come inside).

B2 – La Isla Misteriosa



Character Levels: 4-6
Number of Players: 4-6
Downloading Websites: Codex de la Marca | Tesoros de la Marca (but think about what I said before)

La Isla Misteriosa takes us to Bonjo Tombo, an unknown island from which sailors tell gloomy tales, with rumours about the chance of finding a great treasure. The island can be situated in any campaign scenario needing an exotic and unknown place where to put the playing characters, although, as its authors recommend, it's also possible to situate it in the Mark scenario described in the Blue Box, and more specifically somewhere near the western coast of Cirinea, between Isla Tortuga and the continent (in fact it can be played right after La Cripta Nefanda de Uztum el Maldito and there's ideas for easy linking both).


La Isla Misteriosa is conceived to be used as a "sandbox" game, i.e. instead of being an adventure with a linear scriptcharacters are free to explore Bonjo Tombo as they see fit and discover the secrets hidden in the island, so depending of where they go they can trigger all kind of dangerous encounters, like a giant crab, savage tribes living in the island which can pursue them relentlessly with not very good intentions... And what can be say about dinosaurs and giant apes? (yes, both are classical and a must for any exploration of selvatic and exotic environments), and the misterious temple at the base of the volcano? (yes, there's also a volcano).

Besides the encounters already described in the adventure, a referee with imagination and keen to create new contents or adapting them from other games will have the chance of filling the blank spaces of the map of the island.

By the way, while I was preparing the review of La Isla Misteriosa I couldn't avoid to think about the book of the same title writen by Jules Verne and published from 1874 to 1875 at Le Magasin d'éducation et de récréation and its 1961 cinema adaptation (Wikipedia | IMDb), adding to the tale all kinds of monstruous and giant creatures animated by Ray Harryhausen (Wikipedia | Official Website), I wonder myself if the film had influenced authors at the time of writing the adventure.

In short, La Isla Misteriosa can be easily used as yhe starting point of a campaign leading to some gaming sessions with the OSR games I reviewed before in the blog (while I'm writing this lines I have some interesting ideas for use this module with Lamentations of the Flame Princess along the way of the 1961 film I mentioned before, I could also add contents from Isle of Unknown, which I reviewed in this post), but also other different games , like Spirit of the Century (which I reviewed before in this other one), and yes, I know some people will think this is a rather iconoclastic thought, but remember that in the 20s and 30s of the last century films were made with main characters discovering unexplored islands like in the case of King Kong of 1933 (Wikipedia | IMDb).

B3 – El Orbe de Amonhotep



Character Levels: 5-6
Number of Players: 4-5
Downloading Websites: Not yet available as a free download

El Orbe de Amonhotep is the third module of this series and takes playing characters to Neferu, the fantasy version of Pharaonic Egypt of the game Aventuras en la Marca del Este, so you can play it after La Isla Misteriosa.

In this adventure playing characters will be involved in the exploration of the royal tomb of Pharaoh Sejemib, last ruler of one of the country's most ancient dinasties, forgotten and dissapeared a long time ago due to the strange events that happened and rediscovered by chance (so to say), with players forced to face secrets and dangers waiting inside, and if you are acquainted with these themes you surely will guess which are these (and I won't unveil them here not wanting to spoil the experience of playing the adventure).



Leaving aside this details about the plot this adventure also gives referees a set of new spells and magical obejcts appearing rendomly during the course of the action, if characters use them wisely this will help them to rach the last scene, where they will find the Amonhotep Orb, the most powerful object of this adventure... Will be the chracters able to take possession of it?

As with La Isla Misteriosa this adventure can be the starting point of a campaign to discover the hidden secrets of Pharaoh Sejemib ancient capital, so in this case it will be necessary for the referee to create or adapt the necessary contents to make it possible, if he wants to give it a bit darker touch he may use the information contained in the chapter of the Blue Box devoted to The Ancient Ones (which I reviewed in this post) or use Realms of Crawling Chaos (which I reviewed in this post of the OSR Week 2015), and you know that all can be improved if you add Nyarlathotep in the mix.

Of course El Orbe de Amonhotep and the campaign born of it can also be adapted to other games and not also to those of the OSR environment, let's remember Saqueadores de Tumbas (which I reviewed in this post) or Spirit of the Century (which I reviewed in this other one) as I commented talking about the previous adventure.


The module series Clásicos de La Marca is an excellent opportunity for buying low-priced adventures (*) easily adaptable to any game based in Dungeons & Dragons thanks to game statistics present in each adventure as appendices and to ohter rulesets, so these are absolutely recommended given the quality of the work by La Marca del Este.

(*) Right now available only for sale in Spanish shops and not translated to English yet.

Los Salones Anegados del Leviatán

Also the series is in good health, with the announcement of the adventure Los Salones Anegados de Leviatán already at the printer, the adventure La Ciudad perdida de Garan and El Castillo Prohibido de La Reina de Sangre, as can be seen in this Google+ publication by La Marca del Este.

This entry it's also available in the following languages:
Castellano Català

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