Role-playing reviews

Reviews related to role-playing games, with a focus on Gods & Monsters, and a bit of superhero gaming.

Gods & Monsters Fantasy Role-Playing

Beyond here lie dragons

The Dream of Poor Bazin

Jerry Stratton

What if the Three Musketeers were journalists in Washington, DC? What if journalists were swashbuckling, swaggering, hard-drinking warriors of truth? Find out in Jerry Stratton’s The Dream of Poor Bazin.

Lamentations of the Flame Princess indie publisher

Jerry Stratton, October 14, 2009

In my quick review of Fight On! I said there were three places I go when I’m looking for stuff to use with our Gods & Monsters game. Number three is my favorite old-school indie right now, Lamentations of the Flame Princess. I’ve got the first two Green Devil Faces and recently picked up Death Frost Doom.

I ordered directly from James Raggi, before Noble Knight Games started distributing his work; the shipments came from Finland faster than some orders from the mainland United States. I’ll be grabbing Green Devil Face #3 and No Dignity in Death soon, and am looking forward to Insect Shrine.

Death Frost Doom

Death Frost Doom is a 23-page adventure with a wrap-around map, just like the old days. It’s A5, which makes it like a 6x8 book. The cover is a removable map—just like the old TSR adventures. The front of the cover has very nice art by Laura Jalo. She also has a sickeningly well-done piece at the end, which you can see in the preview at their web site. The map (which I assume is by Raggi) is a bit hard to read because the underground is not filled in; impassable rock looks just like open hallway.

Doom is meant to be a moody horror piece with more (dungeon) investigation than fighting. The list of inspirational authors indicates Lovecraft and his minions were the heaviest influence, but on reading it is obviously inspired by Evil Dead. Since I read front to back, I didn’t see the “thanks to Sam Raimi” until I got to the back cover.

It reads like a well-written Judges Guild module. It can be used in any of the old-school D&D clones, and can definitely be used in Gods & Monsters. Like the adventures of old, there is no flavor text, so more preparation is required to ensure I don’t describe what’s not immediately obvious. It’s meant for 1st to 3rd level characters, which means I won’t have a chance to run it for a while, but I am adding it to my short list of third-party adventures.

The book also includes a short, deadly, 4-page adventure at the end, a version of which appeared in Fight On 4.

Green Devil Face #1 and #2

LotFP’s1 Green Devil Face #1 was originally “Fantasy Fucking Vietnam”. The entire 26 page booklet is one adventure, a satirical quagmire of the OD&D dungeon.

17. Jailer Room

The door to the north is labeled “3tards,” and the door to the west is labeled “4ons.”

I’m sure I’m not getting all the jokes; most of them are quite funny in an enjoyably sophomoric way. I can’t but like an adventure that includes references to an old guilty pleasure from college:

Two odd features about this place: If anyone utters the words, “I don’t know,” then a green slime automatically falls on them from the ceiling. Note that the D’footians will never say this phrase, as they know everything.

If a character says, “water,” then he will be soaked by a falling stream of water.

There’s also a library where the characters find rulebooks; reading the books is likely to bork a character’s abilities.

Issue 2 is dedicated to the idea that “the best traps are left in the open, daring the characters to come play with them.” After watching Owen fall for the spirit attachment, I agree. This issue contains short traps from multiple contributors. Most are still Raggi’s ideas, including one that looks like a Frogger trap. Jeff Rients contributes “Yet Another Stupid Giant Chessboard”.

The whole thing’s a lot of fun, a more friendly version of Grimtooth’s, if you remember that ancient series. Some of them are just plain weird, in a Lovecraftian sense. Raggi seems to be a pretty big fan; his “Hallway that does not exist” reminds me of Lovecraft’s Quest of Iranon in some vague indescribable way.

Both of the first two Green Devil Faces are OGL documents.

Portions of this appeared in Alarums and Excursions 405 and 408.

  1. <- Fight On!
  2. Horror Houses ->