Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Gaming Libray: Buffalo Castle

Today I've decided to take a look at a classic, Buffalo Castle from Flying Buffalo, copyright 1976.

Buffalo Castle is the first of the solo adventures which T&T is so known for. I don't know if this is the first solo ever, according to Rick it might very well be. The designer of this dungeon is Rick Loomis, and it is one of the few adventures by Rick. There's one in a FreeRPG Day booklet as well. Being the first solo it is very charming to see so many of the tropes that later became staples of dungeon designs everywhere. We have odd games of chance that can lower or raise your stats willy nilly, we have teleporters, monsters to fight and treasure strewn for grabbing which look ominously unguarded. Last but not least is my favourite, a grassy plain with a big herd of buffalo! What! That's some castle.

I love this little adventure! I got mine as a pdf in the 7th ed box, and printed it out and played it a lot. Sadly I noticed first afterwards that the original was significantly smaller that letter size, so I only have tiny print in the middle of the page. The illustrations are all drawn for the adventure and they depict some of the denizens of the castle, some treasure and signs you might find, and similar things. They are all done by Liz Danforth and all have that "Danforth feel" and atmosphere her pieces are well known for.

This solo takes us back to a time when the hobby was very young, and in the introduction Rick Loomis describes the idea behind it as a way to try out T&T and see what it's all about. Incredible enough he also says "or for Dennis Hall, who lives in Alaska and doesn't have enough people nearby to play group games like T&T". Very informal, indeed.

All in all it's a marvellously fun romp. Unlike Keep on the Borderlands it's not very usable as a start of your own campaign, but in the minds of all T&T delvers it compares as the first place where they encountered fame and fortune. Some later solos took the art form in multiple advanced directions, and some of them had both intriguing stories and locales usable for campaign play (like City of Terrors, for example). This on the other hand is at the core just what good old exploring for fame and gold is all about, it oozes fun out of every pore.

I've saved the best for last. Rick Loomis have generously put The castle online, for free! Try it out and have some fun!

2 comments:

  1. I have to laugh at the "Dennis Hall in Alaska" comment. In Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau, gamers abound.

    And have for decades.When I've not had a group, it's been by choice. Even when living 25mi outside of Anchorage in a community called Peter's Creek, I had a group. Ok, my rommate's kids and a buddy of mine from middle school who lived 2 miles away, and walked down to game...

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