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11 May 2015

The Overrun Mines (OSR Adventure)

What do you need to know?

The Overrun Mines is an old school adventure for Labyrinth Lord and thus compatible with a whole lot of OSR rulesets. It’s aimed at low-level characters. It’s released by Shane Ward from 3 Toadstools.
The product is PWYW and available at Onebookshelf. DOWNLOAD HERE (aff)

What’s the deal?

The module was designed to be open-ended in the sense that you can plug it into an existing campaign. That means that it is a generic fantasy dungeon crawl. The hook is that the mines were overrun (duh!) and the PCs are asked to clear the mine. The PDF comes at 15 pages total (including cover and OGL) and has two pages of hand-drawn maps. Illustrations are open content and fit this small product. In fact, this module is a prime example for the DIY approach of the OSR scene. Shane is just a dude who realized that he could make his modules available to a general public by releasing them on Onebookshelf. The Overrun Mines is a trip back to the 80s where your level 1 characters explore a dungeon, find traps, secret rooms and encounter monsters. The module can be pretty deadly, thus optional resurrection rules are provided.
All in all, it’s a good balance of exploring, fighting and can even have a roleplaying encounter. It clearly takes inspiration from old adventure modules.
While the adventure background is pretty unexciting this makes for a great one-shot with minimal prep for the GM or (as intended) a nice dungeon for an existing campaign.
In the end, this adventure does exactly what’s expected: a hands-on dungeon crawl with little twists or surprises. What do I like?
The adventure has a random table for Miner’s Rumours and optional rules like Resurrection Rules and Underworld Day Rules. Additionally, four pre-generated level 1 characters are provided. The module comes with no surprises but also doesn’t disappoint on what it promises.
When I tested The Overrun Mines solo it was a fun romp.
If I’d run a sandbox I’d be grateful for such a fleshed-out module which I can just use straight-away. What would I’ve liked to see?
The good thing about this product is that it is a generic fantasy dungeon crawl. The bad thing about this product is that it is a generic fantasy dungeon crawl. I’m personally more inclined to buy products which have a more overarching theme. (Another nitpick I have with modules of this kind is that they don’t provide information for the GM to help the players to make meaningful decision out-of-the-box. What do I mean by that? For instance, after the second room there is a junction where the PCs can choose between 3 directions. Without reading the adventure carefully, there is no information about what differentiates the corridors. So in the end it somehow doesn’t matter which way they go because they can’t make an informed decision. Yes, it’s a small nitpick, I admit. It’s the nature of dungeon crawls and if the GM prepares the module properly she can provide the necessary information.) The Verdict:
The Overrun Mines is a solid old school compatible module for low-level characters. It’s a bit generic, but that can be an advantage, too. Disclaimer: Originally, the adventure cost $1. The author provided me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Links: The Overrun Mines (aff) 3 Toadstools @RPGnow (aff)