Tuesday, June 28, 2011
I don't buy RPG products anymore, except for the occasional low-cost PDF. There's so much free stuff available on the net; clones, adventures, generators, blogs... plus, I've got a crapload of old TSR modules and a few modest ideas of my own, so I just don't have any need to spend cash on D&D. However, one of my favorite retro blogs is Patrick Wetmore's Henchman Abuse, and when he made his publishing debut with The Anomalous Subsurface Environment, I had to get me a copy... and I love it!
Grognardia has an excellent review of the product here. I agree with all the points there, except this: don't let the weird science/gonzo futuristic aspects of the work deter you, even if you are a diehard "traditional fantasy" aficionado. Personally, I like having some rayguns and such in my game. Including such has really been a great way to add some fresh excitement to a genre I've finally grown bored with after 20+ yrs of gaming. Still, if this doesn't mesh with your campaign world, such features can easily be "reskinned", adapted, omitted. A computer monitor can easily be described as a Crystal Ball, an electric switch becomes a mechanical lever, a powered light source can be a Continual Light Spell, etc. As James at Grognardia writes, "Buy This If: You're looking for a science fantasy spin on the classic megadungeon or don't mind reworking one for use in a more traditional fantasy setting."
If you do get it, make sure to take advantage of Mr. Wetmore's generous and considerate offer of the free PDF of the ASE Map Pack (larger, detached version of the maps found in the module)