Dark Wizard Games is at again! Or I should say still at it because Mark puts out some great stuff. This time up, Dread Swamp of the Banshee.
I guess the best place to start is what set of rules is this written for? Well, old-school rules. It really isn’t written for specific set or version. The Dark Wizard does say that it was written based on the OSRIC rules. But that doesn’t mean you have to use those. All of their modules can be played with just about any of the retroclones. IMHO, if you want the least amount of conversion then go with Old School Essentials or Labyrinth Lord. If you’re an old hat at Swords & Wizardry then that works fine too.
So what is Dread Swamp of the Banshee? Well, it’s a mid-level adventure. It’s part hex crawl with some mysteries thrown in. Since there’s some mysteries, I’m going to do this spoiler free.
The very first thing I like is that it’s not for beginning characters. So many hex crawls are designed for levels 1 to 3. This one is for characters levels 4 to 8. Much more of sweet spot when it comes to character abilities. It doesn’t mean you can’t start off with low level characters but there’s a darned good chance that there will be at least one TPK in the mix.
As a hex crawl, it’s pretty good. There’s a place for the characters to hang their hats and plenty of odd and interesting encounter areas and factions to keep the characters interested and on their toes. And you can’t have a new module without a few new monsters like the Bog Zombies, Lagoon Creeper, and Murder Hornets.
Like all of Dark Wizard’s products, Dread Swamp of the Banshee is written and designed with strong dose of old-school flavor and just the right amount of humor. The module is organized much the way your standard old-school module is. If you’ve read or played with any of the original classics like Keep on the Borderlands then you understand what I’m talking about. Sure there is some boxed text but it’s not overwhelming and still leaves the GM plenty of room to maneuver. And the maps. Well, how about those old-school blue maps? Yep.
I know this review is really, really vague. But I’d rather be spoiler free. But I will say that yes there is a banshee. Personally, I’d take this module and put it right next to Tegel Manor.