Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A Red and Pleasant Land, and Death Frost Doom revised.

I have been looking forward to getting my greedy little DM fingers on these two books. They became my present to myself for the holiday season.

Death Frost Doom
I have read most of Death Frost Doom and have a solid grasp of just how good this adventure meets the horror criteria and easily functions as a pivotal event in a campaign. The book, and it is a book; hard bound; 6 by 9 format; new art; and updated material that puts a keener edge on every story element and encounter within; is a great example of how adventures should be written, even if they aren't apocalyptic. Everything within is tight and worthy of player attention, and it meets the definition of adventure - DANGEROUS!

DFD is the start of an undead apocalypse or close enough to one that as it says, the PCs that survive will have a lot of work ahead fixing or at least mitigating the damage caused. The smile on my face at several points in the reading of the adventure was that of a rat bastard DM loving the potential in the pages. If you have the kind of players that enjoy moral dilemmas, and love horror elements done right, then Death Frost Doom is worth the cost.

WARNING - Death Frost Doom is not suitable for crybabies unable to handle character death. In this adventure it is likely that some player or players, will lose their character if the group is not sharply aware, and/or take too many risks. Some things may be tough to avoid, but can still be mitigated by a party on their toes. Besides, what fun is there in being too cautious!

A Red and Pleasant Land
What if Lewis Carroll and Bram Stoker somehow mated and bore offspring, then made an RPG setting based on their wickedly strange family? This might be that outcome, channeled through the mind of Zak S. of Playing D&D With Porn Stars.

While I have not finished reading the beautiful book, my skimming of A Red and Pleasant Land convinced me that it is a work of art, even more-so than its predecessor Vornheim. It is full color, full of art, and full of wonderfully twisted ideas mixing Alice in Wonderland and Vampires to create a very playable campaign setting. The bits and pieces, all of them, easily lend themselves to cannibalization for use in other fantasy style campaigns.

The Alice character class is unlike any character class I have seen in decades of RPGs. In this setting, it fits perfectly with the whimsy and twisted reality of Voivodja, though outside the setting it would be incredibly out of place and possibly less effective. During the progression of the class, random rolls move development along peculiar paths, all useful for navigating the chaotic social and political structures of the vampire warped pocket of existence and all based on some aspect of Alice in Wonderland.

ARPL is another of those RPG books that is very worth having and reading even if you do not plan to play in the setting, or might make a brief detour through it during your regular campaign.

The first printing/first edition (3,000 copies) has sold through and a second printing has been ordered. The reviews that have come in so far include glowing praise from the likes of China Meiville, Ken Hite, Monte Cook, and others. Get it, quickly, do not hesitate, or you may regret not having a copy for your gaming book shelf.

I may have more to say when I finish reading this amazing book. The only drawback, if you can call it one, is the very tiny bits of gold glittery material that ends up on your hands and other objects while you handle this hard bound, cloth covered treasure.

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