Thursday, October 1, 2015

Review & Commentary On The OSR Adventure - No Escape from New York From Kort'thalis Publishing For Your Old School Campaigns

No Escape From New York is one part sourcebook, three parts adventure, and one part Crimson Dragon Slayer rpg goodness.The plot line is one warped by the events of Crimson Dragon line; You'll be adventuring in a parallel world of New York City, circa 1983. After a short but calamitous global thermal nuclear war, the urban landscape became a burned-out wasteland of ruin and mutation. Survivors congregate in the city that never sleeps, making it their nightmarish playground… a shi*hole of degeneracy and wickedness.

So the other night I get home to find a copy of No Escape From New York from the slime covered pen of Venger Satanis. Venger basically wrote a love letter of an adventure to The Warriors, Escape From New York and every urban twisted Italian post apocalyptic movies that came out in the 80's.  This adventure clocks in at twenty four pages and features some very nice artwork. I was listening to the Warriors soundtrack and downing a beer at four am trying to compile what I like about No Escape From New York. Is it the four dollar price tag for what is essentially a source book that can be used independently of any other post apocalpytic or D&D style game or add it to the on going gonzoness that is the awesomeness of Crimson Dragon Slayer. The game features one of the most iconic cities in pop culture Eighties. But is the damage adventure playable? Yes it is and features a plot line straight out of an LSD nightmare fueled with lots of nasitiness for your adventurers to content with;The adventurers begin on their home-world of Thule.
Eventually finding themselves in a parallel universe of New York City, the characters must contend with
street gangs, vampires, serpent-men, and much,much, more to contend with. Sure that's all there in twenty four square pages of Crimson powered adventure but its more then simply that. This is a source book as well with lots of opportunities to take your PC's into the darkness and depravity of Thule along with a version of the city that never sleeps that will challenge PC's from across space and time.
Your going to have PC's and NPC's at each others throats with swords at the ready at every turn. Sure the gonzo factor is up to eleven in this adventure but this is a New York City with one part Eighties Saturday morning cartoon, three parts of a moldy VHS three A.M. movie coming in over cable, all filtered through the lens of Venger Satanis's imagination with lots of opportunities for PC's to get themselves in trouble.
Sure this adventure can add in plenty of room for your standard fantasy adventure types of classic D&D PC's but its more then just that. You see this is a New York of foulness and science fantasy weirdness.
New  York has always been a blender and melting pot but add in mutation, lots of depravity, and glatorial combat and you've partially got what this adventure is about. This is the place that has been featured in a ton of late night action films. In fact its always night and there are reasons for this given in the adventure; 'Interestingly, this New York is always night. Occasionally,
there will be a few minutes of dawn or dusk at odd intervals, but mostly it's constantly nocturnal -
just the way they like it. If any of the players ask, tell them it's because of The Torth Effect'. And this is only the start of it, given the gonzo background of CDS. This is the sort of an adventure setting that PC's from Mutant Future, Labyrinth Lord, etc. or your favorite retroclone would be at home in. In point of fact No Escape From New York City could be used to act as a bridge gap into the world of Thule for your favorite OD&D or retroclone PC's. This is another reason why the adventure works because even though its gonzo and quite over the top with some adult themes it works. And it works well, this adventure doesn't punish the adventurers for being in its funhouse pop culture world. It exploits them at every turn with weird, wild, and strange stuff straight out Satanis's imagination. Not only are going to meet this guy but he's going to turn your PC's into a Popsicle if your A. not careful and B. take a wrong turn. Make no mistake just because this a glorious gonzo cheese fest of a setting its not deadly. It's quite deadly with lots of monsters, horrors, and demons waiting for your PC. But in point of fact its a gloriously playable cheese fest just waiting for PC's to enter in.

Right I should mention that this is a Venger Satanis book and there's lots and lots of adult themes, tables, etc. things such as the random prostitute's encounter chart on page ten. Extra dice and cash for obscene acts with bonuses and like all of the other Venger titles this one is so outrageous and over the top that none of this to be taken seriously at all. Demon zombies are another hazard along with a ton of vampires. The place is crawling with em. This is  New York just waiting to exploit the hell out of your PC's and its perfectly suited for what it does. I can actually see this setting being perfect to exploit the hell out of your Dungeon Crawl Classics party. The sheer weirdness factor alone makes this a must buy for the DCC crowd, it should be an easy conversion for a dungeon master with some time on their hands. The influences in this product fly fast, fun, and hard. There are so many send ups and Easter Eggs that make this one fun. Can't even begin to tell you which one was my favorite. Dungeon master this one well and this adventure could be used as fodder for years and years to come. There's so much potential with this adventure that its so much fun to think of the possibilities. Do I think that this adventure could and should be used for Crimson Dragon Slayer? I think so in spades but I also think that this adventure has a huge use as a way of exploiting the hell out of a D&D or retroclone party of adventurers to have a blast with the CDS New York setting. If you have a twisted and weird sense of humor that goes to eleven. Bojan Sucevic's art in this suits the product as well and presents a theme that works very, very well. Do I want a copy of this as a physical book? You bet I do. Four out of five for this adventure and a really nice addition to the Crimson Dragon Slayer line.

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