Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Seasons in The Abyss

A while back I talked about how my players in the Order of the Platinum Dragon are splitting off for one level (14 to 15) to do something different with each of their characters.  We have jokingly referred to as a "vision quest" but in the Mythos of my game world it would be more appropriate to call them "Secret Journies".

They are trapped in the Abyss and each one will visit a different demon world before they hook back up on the Demonweb.  I have no issues with them finding each other across the Abyss; they just will.  A random encounter with a Chaos Stone has them all linked with a minor form of telepathy.

In one case one of the Paladins and the Fighter will be visiting Liberation of the Demon Slayer. The sorcerer will be going to Têhom, the Abyssal layer that had belonged to Tiamat.  Likely he will bring her back to life.  And the others... I have no clue yet.
I know I need one that is a savage world, maybe one with Dragon-lords.

So I dove into my archive at DriveThruRPG to see what might work.

Liberation of the Demon Slayer
The adventure is six levels and 70 pages. VS suggests using 3 0-level characters per player and let everything work out, or a large party of 1st level characters. Nothing is mentioned on how many players, but I am guessing 6 to 8.

There is some background given about the world this adventure lives in. They are all optional, but it does set the mood for the rest of the book. I found the bits about Snake-men and elves to be interesting. The adventure is steeped in a lot of Lovecraftian tropes and we are introduced to some of the "Old Ones" here, albeit with different names.

If you, like me, love eldritch abominations and dark magic then this the adventure for you. The adventure itself "sounds" simple enough. Retrieve a demon-killing sword from the caves to stop the demons attack your village. Easy peasy. Trouble is that the author grew up when dungeons-as-meat-grinders were a thing and everyone was afraid the big bad devil was going to get you. This adventure though is closer in tone and danger to the Hanging Coffins of the Vampire Queen than it is to most Lamentations of the Flame Princess products. With the right DM this could be a great and dangerous adventure where the party could live. Sure they could all easily die too. One can read this and imagine that all of the author's games are a bit like it.

I have known the author for a number of years and yeah this is exactly the kind of things I expect in his games. I think the difference here with this adventure and some of his earlier material is there is a maturity here to accept the absurd. This adventure can be played straight or with a dash of dark humor. Think of it as a horror movie, even the scariest have a touch of humor to them; it sets you up for the bigger punch later down the road.

In my own games I do have an epic weapon for killing demons. In my current world state this sword is lost and a quest is needed to recover it. Maybe this is what I need. If so then the value of this adventure just increased ten-fold for me. I am going to have to spend some quality time with it and a pencil to see if it can be recrafted into something that fits my world a little better.

Lair of the Demon Princess
38 pages. Full color.
This is an older adventure designed for D&D 3.0/d20.
Part 2 of 2 adventures it can easily be run on it's own.  The positive features of this adventure are some new monsters, and use of old monsters in interesting ways.  In fact one of the things I liked most about this was the creative use of use of a Vrock and a Succubus as the main bad guys.  This adventure reminds us that demons need to be played as an intelligent monster.  Bloodthirsty agents of rage and destruction, but intelligent.
The adventure is fine, I think it might be a bit easy for the listed levels of 8-12.  The layout of the module could use a little more work and some the art comes out as blurred or pixelated.

Against the Cult of the Bat God
A while back my players ran into the Demon Bat-God Camazotz.  He managed to get away with the what he thought was the heart of the Sun God (it was his liver).  Since then my players have been itching for a rematch against him.  This adventure might just be the thing.
While the creature here is listed as "Servant of the Bat God" a little tweaking and I could make this into a coastline being terrorized by the Bat God himself.
The characters have three days to complete their task, so it's a nice tight adventure, exactly what I want, and it weighs in at just under 60 pages.
In any case there is a lot of good stuff here to use.

B1 Journey to Hell
I bought it on a whim based solely on level and "hell". First off you get a lot of adventure for your buck. 45 pages of adventures and maps (granted it is the same adventure twice, but still). The artwork is great, coming primarily from sources like The Inferno. This is quite fitting given that the adventure itself is quite reminiscent of Dante's great tale. It does include some art from the Larry Elmore CD that was out years ago, but doesn't properly cite it in their OGL page. It is dual stated for the OSRIC and Altus Adventum Role-Playing Game, always a plus in my book, but it can be played with any number of OSR systems or their fore-bearers.

Gods, Demi-Gods, and Cults #1: Chaos Queen of Ants
After dealing with the Queen of Spiders, maybe the Queen of Ants would be fun.
This 21 page (cover, OGL, and 19 pages) book is the first of the GODS,DEMI-GODS, AND CULTS series. This one features Khraliche Karinkhamür the Chaos Queen of Ants. Presented here is plenty of detail about the cult, the sub cults and the important figures. Worshipers are detailed and discussed. We also get some new spells for both Wizards and Clerics and some new monsters.

BTL005: Brave the Labyrinth - Issue #5
An OSR Zine, but filled with more useful content than some books.
We get a new Elvish-Demon Lord, some elf-sub races and a castle to adventure in.  I immediately decided that all of these are connected and the Demon Lord, Erebus has these elves in his castle.
There are some patron saints of Good. Some magical tools and some new lycanthropes.

Going Through Forbidden Otherworlds
Going Through Forbidden Otherworlds, or GTFO (cute huh) is again a case of me getting something that is exactly what I need.  While I am not going to play it as-is, there is a tweak mentioned in the book itself that works perfectly for me.  In fact, a lot of this book works perfectly for me and my next set of adventures.  I can't believe I am saying this, but I will turn up the gore factor in this Lamentations product for my needs.
Not a real fan of the art inside but I see why it works for this.


There are plenty more.  I just need a few.   One for the cleric/paladin and fighter, one for the Dragonborn paladin, one for the Dragonborn sorcerer, one for the two elves (a thief and ranger) with maybe the half-pixie NPC (Brave the Labyrinth is looking like a good choice for them).

This is going to be a fun winter!

1 comment:

Venger Satanis said...

Thanks for the Liberation of the Demon Slayer shout-out, Tim! Incidentally, the author of Hanging Coffins of the Vampire Queen reached out to me after reading LotDS because he enjoyed my adventure and thought there was a similar vibe between them.

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