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Thursday 25 August 2016

RPGPundit Reviews: Into the Demon Idol

This is a review of the system-neutral OSR adventure, "Into the Demon Idol"; written by Jobe Bittman, published by Bloody Hammer Games. The review is (as always for my review) of a print edition; in this case an 18-page staple-bound booklet. the cover is colour (albeit mostly shades of purple); the interior is black and white, with a few simple illustrations, and a two-page central map of the "Demon Idol", which as it happens is a dungeon within (and below) a giant statue.

The module also comes with a large bookmark, containing statblocks for the various creatures.  Being a system neutral game, the stats are provided for DCC, Labyrinth Lord, and Swords & Wizardry.  There's also a table for certain creatures to provide some slight variations of the monster encountered.  I like how it was provided as a separate aid, meaning that you can look at a given encounter location without having to flip back and forth along the pages to get to the 'monsters' section.

As usual with adventures, I'm going to avoid getting into too much detail here, since I don't want to be responsible for spoilers.  In brief, there's a premise, albeit one that the author makes clear that a GM could completely ignore if he wanted to.  Even so, I would say that if you do completely ignore this premise, it will turn the adventure into a very bog-standard dungeon crawl.

As to said premise, it's as follows: a borderland region is being threatened by a large army of lizardmen.  The PCs get wind of a ruined temple with the form of a grotesque demon statue which they think might have some magic items capable of helping to turn the tide of the lizardman invasion.

There's a small overland map, hex-style, for the PCs to travel across to get to the Demon Idol. I'll note I spotted an error in the map key: two of the names of the human forts were switched around. Luckily, this becomes evident when you read the descriptions of the various locales. Once they get there, the PCs will find that the temple has a number of dangers, and a secret which could (if the PCs are smart enough to figure it out) allow them to save the endangered human villages.

The adventure also features a potential side-trip to a labyrinthine outer-plane, and the end of the book features some very basic mass-combat rules in case the adventure veers into large-scale battles with the lizardman army.

So, overall, this adventure is short and you can't exactly expect something too epic from it. It's in many ways a standard type of D&D adventure (with a touch of nostalgia as the 'demon idol' is evocative of the D&D demon-statue that was found in the cover art of the AD&D books), and features a couple of neat little twists added in for good measure. I could certainly envision myself running it at some point. I don't imagine it will blow anyone's mind, but it's certainly not a bad choice if you're looking for something to run in any of the OSR games.


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Poker + H&H's Beverwyck

(note: at the time of writing I was unaware of this, otherwise I would probably have determined it doesn't fall under my rules for what I review, but apparently the only way to purchase Into the Demon Idol is by ordering it directly from the author, sending him an email with your address and $6. But well, what's done is done)


  1. Beautiful map. I think I remember that being one of the one page dungeons.

    1. That's right, the author comments that this module was an expansion of his submission to that contest.