The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=21589.
The ossuary is a site that serves as a final resting place for human skeletal remains. The battlemap itself depicts a church sitting on rocky grounds with the ossuary beneath its grounds, near where everyone is worshiping. While the battlemap itself lends itself well to a number of genres, the biggest influence I find is horror due to the general ambiance created by the battlemap. Even the cover depicts a depressing sight.
The Ossuary battlemap is a series of rooms that connect to form the greater grounds of the church and ossuary. It is a multi-level battlemap with the church and temporary “burial” site (although no one is actually buried, rather there are sarcophagi lining the room) with a couple towers on the ossuary itself. The map also includes an overview of the outside while the front cover depicts the whole scene as seen in a 3-d fashion.
This battlemap is a little creepy, in a fantastically good way. Seeing a sarcophagus is bad enough, but when multiple ones are lined up and a few skeletons spew out of them, you get the sense that something’s not right. And who on Earth would want to worship on top of this? That’s why I think this battlemap works so well with a horror-influence setting. It has that creepy appeal with loads of potential for adding NCPs to terrorize your PCs.
Publication Quality: 8 out of 10
The battlemap itself looks beautiful and is laid out well. The overview is a bit confusing considering the placement of each room. This could be remedied by using the included virtual tabletop JPGs and arranging them in the same fashion as they are actually arranged in the site. The overview of the battlemap does not arrange them as such compared to the outside overview, making it a bit confusing. There is a written explanation, but that too can be a bit confusing. It is a bit like a puzzle and when you figure it out, it all makes sense and gives you that “aha” moment.
Visual Appeal: 10 out of 10
The Ossuary is a wonderfully rendered battlemap with excellent textures and a eye on detail. The walls and floors look great but more importantly are the sarcophagi and skeletons and the little details added to them. One thing that really supports the theme of the battlemp is the coloring. The dark brownish-grey textures add a horror-like ambiance to the entire battlemap, giving it a visual appeal that not only matches the theme but also the dark purpose of the ossuary.
Desire to Use: 10 out of 10
The Ossuary is truly a unique battlemap and location for encounters. It can be used in a number of ways from an old, abandoned building that is now haunted, to a the total macabre where heretical deeds are performed daily. This type of map would go great with a supernatural-hunting adventure, leading the PCs to a monastic temple on the cliffs of the sea where hideous creatures have been known to originate from.
Overall: 9 out of 10
While it is a very purpose-driven battlemap, you probably wouldn’t stumble upon this church and find a quest waiting, but it is superb in its “function”; especially if used within a horror setting. With that in mind, a number of horrific encounters could be created simply around the purpose of the ossuary without having to actually enter it. Let the PCs walk inside and they may be in for an treat they later regret.
[5 of 5 Stars!]