Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Commentary & Review Of Stairway of V'dreen For Crimson Dragon Slayer Or Your Favorite Retroclone System

"Find a place to hide! Luckily, such a place happens to be nearby.
Approximately 50' away from where the adventurers currently stand is a half-buried hunk of metal the size of a small village. Various metallic parts of the thing are halfway sunk into the ground. The large metal structure is tilted slightly downward."
The PC's find a mad scientist Dr. Ebzub in the middle of an   experiment will
open a gateway to "a place the gods have forgotten." the forbidden
Stairway of V'dreen

So I've been laid low by a vicious head cold but that's not going to keep me from reviewing The Stairway of V'dreen From  Kort'thalis Publishing. You can think of the  Stairway of V'dreen as a mid level adventure/setting  for Crimson Dragon Slayer rpg & its easily adaptable to any  OSR retroclone rpg system. This adventure is a throw back to those Eighties setting books that we got for many old school system games. The overview from the adventure's Trinity of Awesome Returns Kickstarer best describes the other dimensional setting;"

Each PC will have his own reason for visiting V'dreen - a random table will personalize every character's desire/need.  Reaching the stairway, V'dreen's greatest treasure, will not be easy - alien, mutant dreamland hazards bar the way!
This location will be the most bizarre thing I've come up with yet.  The main Kickstarter picture above gives you an idea of what's in store. But I've got some additional details and a b/w illustration directly below...
Fruiting bodies.  The scent of V'dreen is that of a corpse blooming with strawberry and apricot preserves.  A fragrance that one cannot easily forget.  Pungent jam and jelly intermingling with the sweat of human fornication.
Rumored tales of V'dreen: a magical timepiece is buried in the ground, preventing this place from aging, neither evolving nor decaying.  However, some believe the timepiece to be broken in some way - or perhaps it had always been corrupted - because slavering demons roam free, wizards scry and watch and influence life on V'dreen with their little knobs and levers and buttons... my God, even the tentacles have tentacles!
The stairway leads to an even more distant realm.  It is a personal voyage... the discovery of self-annihilation, where travelers lick savage dreams and ride bareback upon the sparkling-scaled magenta snake-thing with golden eyes coiled at the heart of eternity."

So basically this is a part setting, part adventure location that echoes with the Eighties horror/sci fi Lovecraftian horror that Venger loves to mix with his rpg systems. The Stairway of V'dreen is a type of adventure that rarely comes along a mix of dark fantasy, comedy, & lovecraftian weirdness all around the usual Venger quality. It clocks in at nineteen pages & reminds me a bit of the Eighties film 'From Beyond'  with a bit of body horror mixed in with an old school style adventure. Because of the very nature of the dark fantasy of the  The Stairway of V'dreen  
its really useful for other OSR systems such as Lamentations of the Flame Princess or other OSR systems. This is partially because of the random monster generators & the random magic items that can be created from similar generators. The vary fact of this unpredictable  factor is going to keep those jaded & long time players reaching for their Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master's Guides. I can easily see adding in the The Stairway of V'dreen  to a game of Lamentations of the Flame Princes as adventure location or a game of Labyrinth Lord. The setting technically could be used as a twisted Lovecraftian  domain for Adventurer,Conqueror, King. But I would using this as an adventure location for Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea. The pulpy flavor is very strong in the the The Stairway of V'dreen .

The Stairway of V'dreen is the type of setting that you could potentially drop in a bunch of Mutant Future PC's or any old school adventurers into & not break it at all. There's the usual Venger Satanis sleaze but much of the setting is far more geared toward the dark fantasy/Lovecraftian vibe. Its well written and balanced for a far more experienced group of PC's to come into in my opinion. I really enjoyed thumbing through this one. Can't wait to subject my players to this adventure/setting. Five out of five.
The Stairway of V'dreen  Is Available Right Over HERE

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