Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Review and Commentary on The Crimson Dragon Slayer Rpg System From Kort'thalis Publishing As Old School Campaign

   Crimson Dragon Slayer is a D6 based retroclone fantasy rpg that emulates certain bad sword & sorcery movie ideals, throws together weird Saturday morning late 70's and 80's cartoon aesthetics, brings together elements of 80's horror movies, video games, and products of your imagination thrown into a Cuisinart set on Satanic Panic! The breakdown is based loosely on the world most popular fantasy role playing game sort of. Imagine that an event happened and suddenly the modern world of 1986 or '87 was thrust into a space time vortex and all of the elements of high fantasy and sword and sorcery became reality. This is sort of the backdrop of Crimson Dragon Slay. Basically this game takes all of those totally awesome elements and pours them out into a fully functioning retroclone.
Add in your favorite heavy metal hair band record cover for adventure ideas and gather your friends, quickly roll up some PC's and your off and running. Yes its made to that simple and that off the cuff dead easy to use.

Grab It Right Over 
This game emulates everything weird, woolly, and wild in middle school style cafeteria campaigns. You know the type? The one we don't talk about because old school D&D has somehow become an art. Well forget that noise, this retroclone takes all of those terrible games made and plotted out from 80's music videos and high weirdness into a usable game. A very good usable game actually. This weird retroclone action clocks in at forty pages of awesome weirdness that hits lots of nostalgia and never existed buttons of imagination. I found myself reading this game going boy do I want to run this.
According to Venger: 
Re-watching bad/cheesy 80's fantasy films like The Dungeon Master, Deathstalker, and Tron fueled the narrative.  After all, thousands of RPGs hand you a bunch of rules and drop you in a vague setting conforming to the genre or, conversely, slathered in meta-plot.  I just wanted an interesting framework and then back off to let the Dragon Master and players take it from there.Lastly, I wanted to showcase my sense of humor.  Why not make it kind of funny... an occasionally silly self-parody of what we consider old school fantasy roleplaying? 

Everything here is based on a D6 roll. So you can scale it as needed. You roll multiple d6s, the higher the better. All of the tradition favorite races and classes are here. If you've played OD&D or AD&D 1st edition there aren't going to be any surprises here. What is different is applying a semi modern or weird fantasy twist aspect to the material. You get a setting that can fit your favorite horror or 80's trope mixed in with all of the elements of traditional VHS sword and sorcery. A good example of the sort of semi science fantasy movie that might work as inspiration from the 80's is My Science Project. Weird space gizmo tears away the walls of physics and reality allowing the party to gather together and to get right into the thick of the adventure.
Since I've been a party to the creation of this game by the G+ Crimson Dragon Slayer group. I've seen Venger go through multiple versions, rewrites, and drafts of this the finished product. A good many of the revisions were to get the project to this point. But does it succeed in its mission? Well I believe that it does. The game works on multiple levels at the same time. While using many of the tropes of horror, sword and sorcery with added in comedy. This is a game that balances itself with a sense of high stepping weirdness. Read it and you'll find yourself going through movies to throw into your games. There's a good sense of the absurd about the game. I found myself gravitating to the HP Lovecraft horror love letter movie  From The Beyond from 1986. Between the weirdness of Crimson Dragon Slayer and slime drenched ethos of the film. I found myself outlining a campaign in the world of Crimson Dragon Slayer. 

This isn't a game if your looking for a serious retroclone. This is a great pick up game that allows a party to dive into the deep semi consciousness weirdness of a campaign someplace between 70's trash newpapers, wrapped in trashtastic VHS's horror view point and jacked off to a bad paperback fantasy novel. In this way Crimson Dragon Slay succeeds quite nicely. This is game with all of the numbers in the right place. Now I can hear the cries and nashing of teeth over the price because this sucker clocks in at only forty pages. Now this book has wall to wall artwork most of it quite good at evoking the tongue and cheek sword and sword  adventure goodness the game does well. This is of course a Venger Satanis game so there's plenty of T&A here and there. Not that I'm complaining at all because if you take stroll through the isles of any video rental stores back in the day it was wall to wall fighters in loin cloths and damsels in various states of distress.  Shrugs.
This is a game that can emulate Zor The Hunter From The Future or have your party facing down the slavers from dimension Z with little effort. Add in some public domain zombies and your good to go for a complete evening's entertainment. The system is tight, the PC design is loose and able to accomidate a player's high or low fantasy concepts with no problems. There's very little reason why this game be retrofitted in through the backdoor of your other favorite retroclone to add in even more action.
In closing Crimson Dragon Slayer  adds more then a few new tricks to the D&D style adventure game by added in both humor, high weirdness, and old school sword & sorcery in equal measure. Grab this one, some friends, and throw on some great times at the old school table with a throwback campaign of adventure and grand weirdness in the old school tradition.


  1. I'm flattered by your review, hoss. Thanks!

  2. I think that Crimson Dragon Slayer fulfills a niche and works on several levels to fill in and plug into many of the things that were 'awesome' from the 80's & 90's. The fact that this is an actually playable retroclone system and set of adventures is an added bonus and not simply a total comedy fest of an rpg is something that I think that Crimson Dragon Slayer does very well.


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