Ok Prince/Malrex, the marketing training in me has to ask the question: what makes this adventure so different from the others? Why should I buy?
Not asking for snark; genuinely want to know what's going to be so awesome about this one.
In terms of writing/Atmosphere
it has the following USP's:
* It was written by myself, a man of above average literary ability, combined with a comprehensive knowledge of Fantasy fiction. The style is powerful without being verbose. Images leap out, atmosphere is cultivated. Short, evocative description is key.
* The style is horrific and weird but combined with HARD Sword & Sorcery influences, a rarity in the OSR that I intend to correct. Palace is infused with all the corrupted splendor of a Clark Ashton Smith short story combined with the enigmatic horror of something like Hodginson's The Night Lands. Mummified guardians studded with gems, murderous pleasure automatons of fine glass with hair of electrum, hard-bitten mercenaries in gilded chainmail. I do not boast when I say it is unique, unlike anything on the market.
* Chris Cold and James Vail are spectacular artists and they manage to capture my writing in imagery in a way that few people can. Xas Irkalla is the most Black Metal game ever made and one need only look at the palace cover to see Cold's splendidly oppressive genius. They are fit artisans to forge for Palace a fell body worthy of its tenebrous spirit.
In terms of Adventure Design
* The advantage of reviewing hundreds of adventures if that you get a comprehensive view of all the possibilities and subtleties, which you can see in Palace. If you go in expecting a straight fight you will get slaughtered. You will NEED to master elements of your environment, bizarre new magic items and different factions of murderous NPCs if you want to have a chance of reaching Uyu-Yadmogh's Vaults.
* I hate adventures that are banal and shallow so there is deep lore in it but its all woven into items, features, hinted at but never spelled out or thrown at you in unsightly boxed text. If your players like getting immersed in something Palace has a plethora of horrific secrets to piece together, if you want to run it as a straight-up beer-pretzels dungeoncrawl that's perfectly possible too.
* There is an evolution of dungeoncrawling elements that I think DCO captures but few others do in that the gameplay evolves as you progress further. You enter doing straight up tomb-crawling but this quickly expands into a nightmarish labyrinth of investigation, faction war, horror and puzzle-solving, to conclude in the Crescendo, the Palace itself, where you will have to use EVERYTHING AT THE SAME TIME.
* I made Palace for my homebrew Age of Dusk setting (but it can be used anywhere and meta-data is added to help you adapt it) and as such virtually everything in it is unique. I mean new monsters, new magic items, NPCs you name it. Write what you know, and I understand this fantasy world because it is mine own, living inside my head, yearning to take shape in ink and parchment.
* Palace is a passion project. It wasn't made by a guy trying to make a living off of it. It was made because it had a burning need to get out, for love of this hobby. We worked over every sentence and it is no joke to say that without Aaron there is no way in hell it would have come out in this shape, because he'd push me, challenge me and always kept me going. This is a work of obsessive dedication, visible in every encounter, made not for cash but for love of the art, a roaring challenge to the standard of adventure design and a living demonstration of our approach to gaming.
* It's pretty cheap for a 50 page PDF or POD. Our rates are really very affordable.
Of the top of my head, I think that's about it. Short answer: Because its really very good. If you liked Red Prophet Rises you will probably love this.