The new and improved defender of RPGs!

Thursday 25 September 2014

RPGPundit Reviews: Forgive Us

This is a review of "Forgive Us", an adventure (actually, one full-length adventure and a couple of micro-adventures) for the Lamentations of the Flame Princess RPG.  It was published by LotFP, and written by Kelvin Green, who apparently also did the illustrations.  The main adventure is ostensibly designed for 4th level characters.

Its a softcover book, 45 pages long in all, of the standard size for LotFP books (that is, small in height compared to most other RPG books). The front and back covers have illustrations in black, white and red, while the interior art is entirely black and white.  I have to say, it might have been a bad call for Mr. Green to do his own art; its one thing if you're Zak S. doing Vornheim or whatever (his art style may be odd, but no one can doubt its quality), but Green's is just average.
Yeah, not shitty, average.  The problem is that LotFP consistently creates really above-average art for its products.  Green's art would probably not look off in a lot of OSR products, but here it kind of surprised me; my impression at first glance just looking at the cover was to think "wait, this is an LotFP book?!"

Anyways, all that matters only to the degree to which you give a fuck about art in an RPG product, and I don't very much.   So let's look instead at the content itself.

As I said above, there are technically three adventures in the book, but the latter two would count, at best, as micro-adventures.  They are each only five pages long, and both are what you could call 'nega-adventures', in the sense that they're a trap for adventurers, and even in the best of circumstances provide no treasure (well, the second of the two provides an utterly negligible amount of treasure).  They're pretty well forgettable.
While keeping with my policy of not revealing spoilers in adventures, I can say that the premise of these two are, in the first case, a village with the promise of some treasure seems to have some kind of strange problem with a ghost. The author tries to claim that its inspired by "silent hill", seriously, I don't think it does nearly as good a job of that as Pete Spahn's less-contrived less-pretentious "Inn of Lost Heroes" did.
In the second case, the death of an old friend leads to a rumour that he'd hidden some kind of treasure before his demise; his daughter has gone missing and some 'tax collectors' that don't seem like tax collectors at all have come looking for money that they say the deceased stole.  In both cases, there is a complete red herring and a situation that leaves the PCs either a little screwed, or very screwed.

With those 10 pages out of the way, that leaves us the first 35 pages and the main title adventure.

The main adventure is centered on the PCs arriving at a situation that is to a certain degree already halfway messed up.  A gang of thieves stole something from some powerful people, but when they got back to their headquarters to check out the loot they accidentally unleashed.. something.  The thieves closed up their base (which consists of a number of interconnected buildings that take up an entire town block) in a valiant effort to prevent the spread of the monstrous thing they had unleashed, even though it was at the cost of their lives.

By the time the PCs show up, no one has seen or heard from the thieves in quite some time; its assumed the PCs will enter the thieves' complex, either out of altruism or motivated by the possibility of helping themselves to the thieves' treasure (and unlike the other adventures, and many of LotFP's adventures, there actually IS potential treasure to be had there!); and at this point they will find a series of macabre scenes that lead to a terrible confrontation with the horror the thieves unleashed.

The adventure itself is, in many ways, more traditional than many of LotFP's products.  It follows a pretty familiar structure, it has a dungeon style layout, combat encounters (some of which are very tough, but ultimately survivable), and interesting monsters.   On the whole, considerably better than I would have hoped!

I should mention that all three adventures are theoretically set in the vicinity of Norwich in 1625; but really, there's little that would prevent it from being set in most any typical setting.  Unlike certain other LotFP adventures, there isn't even a particularly heavy element of religious details that would require conversion.

So, on the whole: while there's about 10 pages that didn't really need to be there, and while the art is not up to the usual LotFP standard, on the whole the main 35-pages or so of "Forgive Us" proves to be an adventure that is likely to have the right mix of creepy while still being noticeably D&D, and not just a 'negadungeon'.  This is one worth checking out for that.


Currently Smoking: Ashton Old Church Rhodesian + C&D's Crowley's Best

No comments:

Post a Comment