Saturday, September 9, 2017

A Review - The House of the Broken Sky

I recently purchased Forged Locale #1: The House of the Broken Sky by The Forge Studios.
The Forge Studios can be found on Facebook, Patreon and DriveThruRPG.

The House of the Broken Sky was written by Douglas Zielsdorf and the interior art by Maciej Zagórski. This is a true system neutral adventure and/or campaign. There are NO stats whatsoever; which is actually great because this could easily be used with OSR systems, 5e, Pathfinder or any other fantasy or sci-fi (will explain later) system!
This is a PDF only product for $2.45 which is a great deal for how much you will get out of this.
The PDF is a total of twenty pages. Eight of the pages is history/lore and detailed information about the adventure. One page for the title, one page for the credits/legal jargon and the rest of the pages are handouts/maps. The only page that is in color is the title page so everything else is printer-friendly. 

1. Handouts
There are a total of nine handouts and they are:
 - Map of the overhead view of the area AND the same map with a squared grid over top of it.
 - Map of level 1 of the structure AND the same map with a squared grid over top of it.
 - Map of level 2 of the structure AND the same map with a squared grid over top of it.
 - Map of the cave area AND the same map with a squared grid over top of it.
 - A great drawing of a side view of the structure to show the players as they approach it.

The maps are wonderfully drawn. There is great detail within the structures and it is pretty clear what things are even with it being black ink only. I'm sure anyone with photoshop or any other program that is similar could go through and add color to the maps for personal use. I'm also a fan of having the two different styles of maps: With and Without Grids. I'm more of a Without Grids kind of guy and I know there are others out there that prefer to have Grids on their maps. 

2. Content
The eight pages of content is really all that is needed for this adventure and/or campaign. There is the history/background of what exactly is The House of the Broken Sky that takes place two years before the adventure. The background and setting can easily be placed into an existing world with or without a name change here and there. The background could even be used in your campaign as something that is currently happening and then future sessions could lead up to the aftermath (which is the adventure). The adventure is covered in only four pages. A page for each location being described: Overland, Level 1 & 2 of the House of the Broken Sky and Caves. The maps for the House of the Broken Sky are not keyed but rather there is information on what is going on in that level and what is in that level. The overland and caves are the only maps that are keyed but even then it is just to point out key locations. Then there is also information on what's going on in those locations and what's in those locations. There is a pretty strong foundation that can be used to create the adventure and/or campaign as you see fit. And I keep saying, "campaign," because as I read through it I can already see how this small but extremely useful PDF can be constructed into a larger campaign.
There are also two clear factions within this adventure and one of them is already playing the other. So this could lead to some very interesting story development depending on the GM and the players. 

So, what's in the House of the Broken Sky? The Others. What are the Others? Otherworldly Beings. Or are they....? This is why I am a fan of this product. There is just the perfect amount of information that can be easily manipulated to fit your campaign.
This could also be used as a great tie-in for those that play Swords & Wizardry to introduce White Star into their fantasy game. Or the other way around. Taking your White Star campaign onto a new planet that is filled with Swords & Wizardry. 

3. Overall Score
Honestly, I would give this 5 out of 5 stars. I love the story/background and I'm already a fan of splicing/mixing fantasy with sci-fi. A huge bonus for me is having the maps with no grids on it. It also feels like it is in the style of my OPAs by giving you the foundation to work from. Rather than giving you every detail that you must feel like you need to memorize before running the adventure. So go purchase it. Less than $3 so you can't really go wrong. Even if you don't want to use the adventure the maps are really good to be used in your game for something else. 

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