Saturday, December 14, 2013

Review and Commentary On The People Of The Pit Adventure From Brave Halfling Publishing Adapting It For Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea

 Get It Right
I have a long and storied history with this module over the last couple of years. Its by author and designer Alphonso Warden. There is some really interesting artwork by artist John Bingham and the maps are quite nice.  Its based partially on the A. Merrit story/novella the People of The Pit . Mr. Warden also gave us another Lovrcraftian effort in The Nameless City Available HERE. I'll be doing a review of that module in the near future.
 According to the Drivethrurpg write up: 

"The People of the Pit" is an excited adventure module for 4-6 player characters of levels 5-7 and has been designed for OSRIC(TM), but is easily compatible with the Advance Edition rpgs. The module was written by Alphonso Warden and features art by John Bignham.

Susurrus Profundi
Several millennia back, the peoples of the mighty Kingdom of Merritt entered into all-out war with their long-time nemesis, the People of the Pit, a nefarious race of slug-like creatures hailing from a vast subterranean city lying on their northern border. Though the battle was hard fought, with both sides initially incurring heavy losses, the Merrittians in due course gained the upper hand, almost wholly exterminating their foe. Even the very god of the People of Pit was banished to the lower planes by a cabal of Merrittian magic-users and clerics, or so they thought. Recently, the evil within the city of the People of the Pit has surged yet again, and it is up to you to see that it doesn't spill out into the surrounding lands.
 This is a 49 pais a follows the A. Merrit story from 1918 pretty closely but has been adapted into a full adventure peppered throughout with very nice artwork. Through the module are quotes from the novella and are used to very nice effect.
The adventure is a pretty solid fit into the world of Hyperborea but the levels of the characters would most likely be 3-5 on average. There are a few spots where lower level PC's might have a bad time. The encounters are very solidly balanced, the combat very swift and deadly and the renewal potential very high.

According to the Drivethrurpg add:
"People of the Pit" was designed to be run with a minimum of preparation, and can be integrated into the Game Master's home campaign with little effort. Even though the adventure is designed for 4-6 players of levels 5-7, it can easily be modified to suit lower and higher level parties with the NPC tables in the appendix. It contains 41 pages of text, 12 pieces of original art, 4 new monsters and 5 pages of maps.

The adventure gives us a deep look into a horrid society of people who serve beings from outside the PC's universe. Lovecratian slug gods who enslave an entire race of beings to anchor themselves into our universe. There are weird hybrid slug peoples, horrors from beyond the pale of  man, weird treasures and a real sword & sorcery lost race vibe that clearly marks the adventure as something truly different. The twelve pieces of orginal artwork are perfect for setting the tone for the players here. The maps clear, very concise, and easily convertable to any OSR style game. They're really very well done. The DM is going to need to read the novella however. Each and everytime I've run this adventure, because the writer/designers have done such a nice job with it the novella has served as a good bridge gap for players to really get the feel for the experience.  Fortunely the novella is easily downloadable from Project Gutenberg Austrilia right over HERE 

Reprinted in Fantastic Novels, Jan 1941

 All in all this adventure really brings home a completely different underworld then the usual D&D suspects and instead puts the PC's in the middle of a race of A. Merrit weirdness that will give the players a totally different megadungeon and grand underworld experience then the usual D&D tropes.
The module in my humble opinion is perfect for Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea or any retroclone where the spotlight is shown on weird adventure, sword and sorcery, and the potential for extended play in a mini campaign that might stretch into a couple of weeks or months. Right now the adventure is on sale at Drivethrurpg and is a really horrid present for your favorite DM for Christmas! 


  1. Great review! I always was fond of this one and thought that it never got the attention it deserved.

  2. I just got back from work and found your lovely comment Johnathan Bingham. There's some great art work in there! I've run this adventure more then a few times and each time the players enjoyed it. I don't think its appreciated the way it should be nor gotten the exposure that it needs. Let me see if I can do something to change that.
    Thanks for the coment Johnathan Bingham!