Saturday, September 26, 2015

Commentary on Ash vs The Evil Dead's Trailer and Featurette For Your Old School Campaigns

Listen up you primitive screw heads, just in case you've been living under a rock and haven't seen the trailers for Ash vs The Evil Dead let me enlighten you. Bruce Campbell is back as Ash and kicking undead ass and we're due to see this coming out very soon. In fact right around Halloween night on Starz! So as an Evil Dead fan this has had my attention right from the first announcement. So what the hell does this have to do with OSR role playing? Well, besides the Halloween season and the classic movie tie in that seems to ignore the horrid 2013 remake (well sort of). This series states something that's been floating in the back of my mind for quite sometime. Just because your PC has reached a high level doesn't mean that they're any less of an every man jerk.

Ash isn't interested in saving the world, he wants to get on with life and party on. But circumstances of being a hero and fate just won't let him this is a situation that we see time and again in classic mythology from the legend of Beowulf to Odysseus's journey back to Ithica. Fate never let's a hero rest and often the journey is picked up long after the end of the tale. Here we've got Ash causing the Necronomicon Ex Mortis to release its energies and summon back to the world the corruption of the Evil Dead.

This new show adds a few new ripples into the crowded universe of Evil Dead, you can zip over to here and check out the cast of characters in the Evil Dead films right here.  

So what does this say about high level D&D & retroclone PC's? Quite a bit, we've got a characters who even though they reach the upper end of their adventuring careers still fall prey to fate and the forces of the supernatural. That's one of the things that get's me about the D&D and its tropes, the dark forces of the supernatural are eternal. They'll wait for the PC's guard to drop and then move in for the kill. These forces can also be set in motion by the PC's themselves after all they're messing around in ruins, tombs, and dungeons where the forces of darkness and the damned multiply. The Evil Dead films has a great example of an artifact or relic that ties the entire franchise together in the form of the Necronomicon Ex Mortis. The Evil Dead is a great example of a series that can adapt to circumstances or genre as required.

For a DM this is just the sort of adaption that will enable a dungeon master to twist and bend adventure elements as they see fit into OSR adventures. So if we take something Marvel Super Heroes or the like there's Marvel Zombie vs The Army of Darkness limited comic book series. This series of evens is far, far, outside of normal Marvel and Evil Dead continuity allowing a DM to bend adventure elements to their whim. This is the way it should always be, never ever be a slave to a series or game's continuity.

High level campaigns don't make things any easier in the long run and in point of fact it puts far more pressure on the heroes. PC's are going to be drawn into the clutches of fate regardless of their circumstances and the Evil Dead films have proven that the forces of weirdness & darkness are uncaring as well as relentless in their drive to destroy the hero and all he holds dear. Several retroclones take full advantage of this fact but Lamentations of the Flame Princess has done this in spades even at low level PC adventures. In point of several of Task Boy Game's adventures including The Manse on Murder Hill  Tranzar's Redoubt
using the Lamentions rpg system evokes the sort of echoing the creepy weird sentiments of Ash & The Evil Dead. So I can't wait till this premiere's on Staz to see where this series is going to take an older ASH and his crew of adventurers into the machinations of the Evil Dead. 

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