Sunday, August 12, 2018

Old School Review & Commentary The 'Pay What You Want' Adventure - Nick LS Whelan's The Bloodsoaked Boudoir of Velkis the Vile

I was doing some research for a short, brief, but solid adventure today after work. After getting the usual beer & OSR local town chatter at my favorite watering hold. I was surprised that Nick LS Whelan's The Bloodsoaked Boudoir of Velkis the Vile adventure slipped right past my radar. Damn it this is actually a solid & very well constructed ten page dungeon. Anyone that really knows me knows that I love liches & undead of all types. Velkis isn't the usual lich however & comes across as your favorite uncle or the friendly old man whose a bit nuts next door. If next door happens to be a small pocket universe with a number of weird secrets.

Tightly written adventure doesn't do this module justice & the brand of vile weirdness going on here is very dangerous to a party of inexperienced adventurers. Velkis could become a major NPC power in the course of a campaign & he's got a lot to offer in such a small package. Don't turn your back on him for an instant because he's got a lot to offer the dungeon master willing to put in some time with reading between the lines of the NPC. The cartography is good in this module but the rooms & the tricks & traps are better.

Head of old man in a coverlet. Marble. Mid-1st century B.C. Rome, Vatican Museums.
The picture is by shakko but this what Velkis looks like in my imagination.

There's advise on running Velkis & using him effectively, surprisingly its actually good advise & with a bit of work on the dungeon master's part this could become a down right dangerous semi immortal NPC. He's the kind of villain that would fit perfectly into any Lamentations of the Flame Princess game, a Weird Tales themed campaign or even a Sword & Sorcery game. The thing is that he's surprisingly effective for a first through third level challenge. He's effective, dangerous, down right insane, & the kind of villain that if done right will have the players talking for years or he'll be stalking their PC's for years to come.
This adventure is effectively a monster lair as  adventure location with lots of hooks, bells, & highly dangerous whistles. Played right & this adventure could have player's PC's playing or dying to Velkis's tune. He's had some of the angles of immortality figured out before he went completely & utterly insane. There's lots of indications of his power through the various treasures & objects d'art within his pocket dimension. Make sure to have a few PC's on hand though because Velkis has the power potential to end a multitude of PC's lives. He's a very serial like murderer going about his business because he has to. He knows what he is & the most effective way to deal with PC's.
All in all I was really happy to find this adventure & have it shoved my way with a beer or two.

Velkis is a perfect sort of monster to drop into any number of OSR settings. I can see him as being a great fit for Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea second edition. He's a hold over from another era. He's got great potential for a setting such as Greyhawk or even Blackmoor or the Wilderlands of High Fantasy.
I can also  see using this complete adventure as a funnel for Dungeon Crawl Classics or even as a side quest for an on going campaign of Lamentations of the Flame Princess's Europe.
This is not surprising considering that this adventure was specifically created for that system.

The Bloodsoaked Boudoir of Velkis the Vile adventure  could be used as a starting point for any of the B/X Dungeons & Dragons systems. Mystara could actually support the module for there are fare number of Gothic horror themed places within that old school setting.  I give this one a five out of five for simple, effective design, a tightly constructed adventure, & a fantastic NPC worthy of your attention as a dungeon master.

You can grab a copy of

The Bloodsoaked Boudoir of Velkis the Vile adventure right here. 

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