Thursday, October 15, 2015

Review: Crimson Dragon Slayer

Purple, now Crimson. +Venger Satanis could have had a whole color theme going here.

Continuing with my reviews of the products of Kortthalis Publishing. Today I want to look at Crimson Dragon Slayer.

I had pretty high hopes for this one. I am part of his target audience, I enjoyed the 80s, enjoy a gonzo edge to my games, and I don't mind mixing my genres a bit.  I also don't mind doses of humor in my games.   But....well maybe I just didn't "get it" in this one.

I want to start off with the things I liked. The book is gorgeous and I am happy to see that VS is spending his money on art than say orgies dedicated to Cthulhu.  No idea though he might be doing both.  But the art is great looking in this book.  It is basically three varieties, the "Lovecraftian" art found in earlier products (ex. on p. 23), the sword & sorcery (p. 11) and the humorous (p. 14).  My favorite though is on page 4. The layout is fantastic and the character sheet on page 41 is a gem.  Plus that cover art. Really, really excellent.  If the arrt was a problem for you in his other products then take heart here.  There is nothing here that isn't PG, and dare I even say it, G rated.  Even the scantily clad barbarian and maiden on page 11 are still covered more than a swimsuit issue.

While reading this I am struck with how this is the RPG version of the Heavy Metal story "Den". In the movie a kid from earth is transported to a sci-fi/S&S world where he become a might thewed (and bald) barbarian.  Not a bad idea really, and something I could do more with than say Carcossa. But it is also riff on the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon.

The book itself is a bunch of house rules.  Again, this is what was advertised.  Many were hinted at in previous books. Some are good, many I have seen in one form or another elsewhere over the last 35 years.  A couple things jump out at me.
Infernal Elf: I have to admit I rather like this idea and it is something I have been toying with myself since listening to Kim Harrison's Hallows series.  In that book Elves and Demons are ancient enemies, but are a little closer than they would like.  This works right in with that.
Robots: Hmm. No. Not really my thing, but I get why it is here.

The chapter on magic is interesting and something I might adopt.  At this point I am imagining Thule as not some distant planet, but as a mystical island just south of Hyperborea.

There are some magic items, some notes on converting monsters and even a small cavern crawl.

All in all the book is fine, but nothing really extra special. Maybe I was expecting more or something different. I don't know.  I am not quite sure it lived up to my expectations of it.


Venger Satanis said...

Reading CDS, I can see where you're coming from. It's short and not revolutionary at all. Playing CDS, on the other hand, is a different story. Do me a favor and run a one-shot sometime. It'll grow on you. That's the Venger Satanis guarantee!

Timothy S. Brannan said...

That sounds totally fair to me!

Timothy S. Brannan said...

That sounds totally fair to me!