Friday 31 March 2023

Original Scenarios Resurrected VIII: The Devil's Quagmire (1980, Andrew Ravenscroft)

Welcome to the eighth entry in the series Original Scenarios Resurrected, wherein D&D scenarios from the 70s and early 80s are republished with the permission of the authors, usually together with extra contemporaneous material. Today is the turn of The Devil's Quagmire by Andrew Ravenscroft, with illustrations by Quentin Manley. For all entries in the series see here.

The Devil's Quagmire, published in The Beholder #16 in June 1980, was the last of Andy Ravenscroft's three published D&D scenarios, all illustrated by his friend Quentin Manley. Thanks to Andy I've already republished Clearwater Caverns and The Temple of Psaan, but in this third effort he really raised his game both in the quality of the content and the scope of the adventure. 

There is perhaps no better way to introduce The Devil's Quagmire than to quote a recent review at Prince Of Nothing of the adventure:

"Throw this in your campaign RIGHT NOW."

Read on to find out more and download it...

Friday 10 March 2023

Warkworth Castle - 10' squares turn out to be more historically accurate than we all thought

From the very earliest days of D&D people have criticized dungeons and castles that conform to 10' x 10' squares: that it's unrealistic that any castle or dungeon would be built to conform to a grid. Indeed my extensive visits to many Medieval Castles in the UK seemed to confirm that they were all anything-but designed to a grid.

Last summer whilst on holiday in Northumberland we visited Warkworth Castle, a fantastic medieval castle dating from the 1200s. It is fairly ruinous, but the late 14th century "Great Tower" only fell into disrepair in the 17th century and was restored less than 200 years later so is in remarkably good condition.

Warkworth Castle

At first glance Warkworth Castle appears to be as irregular any other castle, and there is certainly no regularity in the layout of the curtain walls.

As always I purchased a guidebook, as since childhood I have collected maps of all the castles we visit. Many of these maps are disappointing affairs, often very small and lacking detail such as the different floors. The Warkworth guidebook has a reasonable foldout map at the back (and a larger "pretty" isometric map inside which clarifies how the stairs connect) - but what attracted my attention was a note and a diagram in the margins that shows that Warkworth Castle was drawn to a grid, just not a 10' x 10' one, and not at all for the reasons you'd expect...