Sunday, August 10, 2014

Commentary and Review Of Dreams of the Lurid Sac (Psychedelic Fantasies #4) From Geoffrey McKinney

Dreams of the Lurid Sac (Psychedelic Fantasies #4)

 Grab It Right
Dreams of the Lurid Sac, is a dungeon reminds me of a comic from one of the  early issues of Heavy Metal magazine. In that issue there was European comic about a living alien base and the 'heroes' exploring the base. The heroes faced down alien monsters and eventually reached their goal. This turns out to be the small intestine of an astronaut.
Dreams of the Lurid Sac is a great old school adventure location module that can be used with ANY edition and is diagrammed out with an entire 

'Sac' based ecology to challenge PC's. There's a ton of high weirdness going on within the Sac itself and the location can be placed anywhere within a campaign world. There is enough material here to expand the Sac into its own mini campaign if necessary. Paul Keigh the author does a very solid and concise job with the whole adventure. And yes there's plenty of 'treasure' that any wizard would give their eye teeth to have as well as horrors to challenge a party.
 This isn't simply a gonzo joke one shot adventure module, there's actually a very clever old school location adventure that can be added to any science fantasy style pulp campaign lurking between the covers here.

According to Drivethrurpg :
Dreams of the Lurid Sac is not "about" anything. It is the purest location-based module I have ever seen. Not one word is about anything other than the titular Lurid Sac. That's your location.Think about where Han Solo flew the Millennium Falcon in The Empire Strikes Back. Or, more precisely, into what he flew it. The Lurid Sac is freaking alive! The whole dungeon is one giant monster. And what a monster! The Lurid Sac is nothing less than the most amazing monster ever published in a fantasy game. I cannot tell you how cool the whole thing is. Summaries fail Dreams of the Lurid Sac, which is tightly and precisely written. It is weird that the author was able to use such exacting language to describe something so fantastic, so outre, so crazy. He has raised the bar with this one. I think it is one of the single best (and certainly one of the most imaginative) modules I have ever seen.
The adventure is well done, solidly constructed, and only three dollars at the moment on Drivethrurpg or Rpgnow. The maps really do reflect the ideas of the module and allow the really 'cool idea' to actually be played.
The monster's inner ecology has some really interesting twists and turns that can grind a party into gut meal really quick so a DM is going to have to adjust his system accordingly. On the whole I think that Dreams Of The Lurid Sac has an original and slightly different take on the ideas of dungeon ecology.

Using Dreams Of The Lurid Sac As Fodder For Your
Old School Science Fantasy Campaign
Dreams of The Lurid Sac brought to mind an old movie that I love, 'Fantastic Voyage'. There are some great moments of weird adventure in the movie that seem to echo through Dreams of the Lurid Sac in my opinion.
The dungeon ecology and the dungeon itself are one in the same as are some of the monsters. This  lends the location more then a passing Lovecraftian vibe.
The adventurers are no more important in the scheme of the 'Sac' then any other germ or infestation. 

This makes the 'Sac' an even more dangerous location then some other dungeons. As I said this adventure reminded me of 'Fantastic Voyage' in more then a few aspects. 

The Sac exists for its own sake and generates its own lure for PC's. There's a ton that can be done with this location and fixing it into a campaign might seem hard at first. But actually its quite easy, for a game like Carcosa add the adventure right into what hex you might like.
 With a sword and planet campaign the Sac can easily become its own location within an asteroid field or other planetary location. Is it the ancient vestiges of some Lovecraftian god? The last remains of some fallen deity that is slowly regenerating through the machinations of the Sac's monstrous inner minions?
For Lamentations of The Flame Princess, the Sac could well be a dimensional location or an wizard's play thing gone horribly wrong. There are myriad uses for the location for LoFP and all of them very nasty and dangerous.
 In the post apocalyptic wasteland, the Sac might be a scientist's nightmare gone horribly wrong. The location is an artifact itself simply preforming is pre-programmed  alien and mysterious task throughout the centuries. The secrets and artifacts of it; just waiting for a gang of mutant adventurers to stumble upon its fabled and legendary location out in the wastes.
Alternatively the Sac might be encountered as a level aboard the Warden. This location would make a perfect and highly dangerous level for Metamorphosis Alpha first edition and it could  be a foreshadowing of far more dire things to come in a campaign.
 There is a tremendous amount that Dreams of the Lurid Sac can do for a traditional OD&D style game. The location is going to challenge PC's to an internal battle among its rooms and magic might become a problem for PC's at certain points. Have PC sheets standing by.  
When we begin looking at Science Fiction or Fantasy campaigns with this adventure then the Sac could be a vast alien life form or god. A complete ecological niche system where the PC's are the germs and the horrors of the location are only beginning. Or the Sac might be some ancient as well as powerful bio mechanical device left from some long forgotten war across the planes.
There is a trend among the Psychedelic Fantasies line of adventures. Stripped of the so called gonzo label, these adventures would make an excellent old school Lovecraftian campaign. Dreams of the Lurid Sac for example would make a great tool or left over weapon of the Elder Things. Using Lovecraft's At The Mountains of Madness as inspiration this is just the sort of artifact that the Elder Things might make. Why was it left behind? What other secrets might this horror hold? This and many of the other adventures in the line of products could easily be adapted into a whole string of Mythos inspired campaign material. 
The Lurid Sac can be whatever is needed for a solid old school campaign adventure with dip into the pool of high weirdness and danger. Don't let the title fool you this is a tight and very well done adventure location. Grab it and get to work playing around in a location that your players will be talking about for years to come!
 I enjoyed reading the hell out of this one and can't wait to stick a party into the Sac and see what happens. 


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