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Thursday 21 September 2017

RPGPundit Reviews: Trinity of Awesome +1

This is a review of the RPG supplement-anthology "Trinity of Awesome +1", written by Venger Satanis, published by Kort'thalis Publishing.
The book is a 56 page softcover book. The cover is full color, featuring a crazy quasi-Lovecraftian monster reminiscent of a giant toad. The back cover, also full-color, features what looks like some kind of pulp scene with a guy in a trench-coat and a slightly slutty broad in the middle of what looks like a Lovecraftian Tentacle-Apocalypse.

The interior is black and white, moderately illustrated ('moderate' in quantity, not character) with a variety of images, including some maps, but mainly bizarre, Lovecraftian, and/or smutty art.  The art is certainly R-17 rating, including a few images with visible female nipples and some suggestive mermaids, among others.

The Trinity of Awesome is a trio of supplements in a single book. What's more, it appears that each supplement is for a different Venger game: one is for Alpha Blue, another for Crimson Dragon Slayer, and a third for The Outer Presence. Plus there's a fourth (smaller) bonus supplement, which is playable for either Crimson Dragon Slayer or Alpha Blue.

The first part of the book is "The Slaves of Tsathoggua". It starts off with a random table to determine "how much of a peasant are you", supposing that this is a party's first adventure. Then it jumps into plot, with the PCs travelling for some time before arriving in an isolated village. It turns out that the local priest has just died, and there's a mystery related to a cave.

This being an adventure, I won't go into full details so as to avoid spoilers. I will say that there's quite a lot of exposition. But it does get to a cave-crawl adventure with a twist. The caves have random tables to determine what type of caves there might be; and also a random table for what's inside random creatures. There's also a set of preset encounters with weird rooms full of different ranges of very weird creatures, including humanoid fruit-monsters. The cave-complex itself is easy to get into but very difficult to get out of.  If the PCs survive (and that's a big IF) there's a totally random table at the end to reflect how the caves have changed them, which range from serious PTSD to beneficial qualities.

The adventure is made for Crimson Dragon Slayer, one of Venger's house-system games. It isn't as such compatible with OSR play. However, the only details that are tied to the system are the basic statblocks of the monsters, and so an OSR GM could theoretically run the caves by improvising a conversion of those monsters.

The next section is called "A Green Jewel They Must Possess". It's a detective story adventure, and the section starts with a random table for determining character sub-plots (things like "just got out of rehab", "knows his brother is a serial killer", "in love with the wrong woman", etc.).
The adventure is set in Chicago in the 1970s. The PCs are investigators and they're contacted by a guy needing their services. There's an optional table for determining the contact's connections to given PCs.

He reveals that he's interested in an occult artifact (a crystal orb of unknown material) that is connected to the Outer Gods. He wants the PCs to help him steal the sphere from the Chicago Museum of Antiquities.

There are options for the PCs to look for more information, and of course details on the break-in if the PCs pursue that venue (there's an option available if the PCs turn down their would-be employer).

Again, to avoid spoilers I won't go into more details, but there's a secret society involved, and other details.
It's a pretty decent occult-modern adventure.

These first two sections both have a little of that quality most of Venger's products have, this line somewhere between quirkiness and goofiness, useful creativity and nonsensical silliness. Neither have any significant amount of the sort of smuttiness that some of Venger's products feature.

But then we get to "Slippery When Wet". It starts with an essay that, well, is basically about how to sound seductive when playing NPCs engaging in sexual propositions to player characters. Obviously, this is in relation to Alpha Blue.

What follows is a series of disconnected sections. You get a random table of "futuristic exclamations" (stuff like "curse your third eye" or "well, color my hole black"). A set of rules about bringing in an alternate-universe replacement for a dead PC, and includes a "multiverse malfunctions" table.

After this, there's a rambling sort of Alpha Blue adventure which, I guess, is called The Mentad (I say I guess, because that's the header of where this adventure very suddenly starts, without any indication that we've moved out of 'random rules tidbits' section and into an actual adventure).
The adventure involves a human computer, some evil insect-aliens, a world at war (with a random table for things that can happen to you on a battlefield, and another for looting the battlefield), details on a seafaring vessel (including floorplans), the aforementioned sexy mermaids, a city called "Aqua Vulva", and a villain named "Darth Facepalm".
There's gonzo, and then there's absurd. I know my own DCC campaign sometime crosses that line too, but never at the "darth facepalm" level.

In some ways, the adventure is OK, if a bit of a jumble (for some reason, Venger always gets more jumbled when he's writing Alpha Blue stuff). But you'd have to be willing to enjoy a very high level of Silly to consider running it.

The final section is "Death Race: Fury Road". It's described as a "post-apocalyptic gonzo competition to see who's best and who can survive". The races are organized by a "collective of evil wizards who rule from the comfort of their base known as the Hive".  It's taking place on an alien world whose "environment was raped by the mega-corporations" (seriously?). It's meant to be used with either Crimson Dragon Slayer or Alpha Blue.

The section opens with some random tables: first there's a "Why race?" table, a wager table (to see what someone is betting on your odds of winning, dying or surviving the race), and a random table to determine the effects of traps/ambushes during the race.

There's a mechanic for resolving the racing. It involves a series of d100 encounter table events. There's a separate mechanic for resolving who wins the race; this is totally random, which I find unsatisfying, it means that, as far as I can see, there's nothing the players can do to make their character fare better or worse in the race.

There's also mechanics for governing whether you get laid during the race, for no good reason other than Venger is the guy writing this.

There's also a totally random saving throw table. Which, again, for the same reasons as the race results mechanic, seems unsatisfying to me.

Honestly, Fury Road seems to me to be a good idea executed poorly. You could say made in haste, perhaps.

Anyways, in conclusion, I'd say that Trinity of Awesome (besides being technically incorrectly named) is a bit of a mixed bag. If you are already familiar with Venger's stuff, and you like it, you're probably going to be able to use at least two or three of the four separate parts of this book. If you don't and you are looking for a mixed bag of mostly-gonzo stuff in different genres, you might find some utility here.


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  1. Sure we will be happy for you to incorporate it into our DCC Sessions ;)

  2. That's why it's called Trinity of Awesome +1. Thanks for the review, hoss!