Sunday, March 6, 2016

Review & Commentary On Green Devil Face #1 From Lamentations of the Flame Princess For Your Old School Campaigns

While everyone has been  at GaryCon, I've been revamping one of my OSR campaigns on the side and taking a look at Green Faced Devil issue#1 the folks at Lamentations of the Flame Princess. There are reasons for taking a look at the fanzine for Lamentations of the Flame Princess from its creator James Edward Raggi IV. Because its not at all what it appears to be instead Green Faced Devil is actually Fantasy $%#$ing Vietnam under a new title with a new coat of paint. So what is it? Well, its a balls to the walls crazy fun house dungeon, a place where players have to deal with the insanity inch by inch while dealing with all kinds of craziness. "Green Faced Devil is a funhouse dungeon adventure by James Edward Raggi IV featuring over 50 detailed areas to be used as-is, or custom-fitted for your traditional fantasy game." but it actually breaks D&D tropes and conventions by making fun of them from a distance. The basic introduction goes something like this;The village of the Erehps-Ogolb tribe are in trouble! They used to join their neighbors, the D’footian tribe, in worshiping the Mad Mage, who had traveled in their lands years ago. But now the D’footians have taken the Shrine to the Mad Mage and are refusing access to the Erehps-Ogolb. Now the Erehps-Ogolb tribe implores the PCs to go adventuring in that shrine and teach the D’footians a lesson!"

Now believe it or not this isn't actually a half bad dungeon and it can be used with all kinds of OSR or retroclone systems. There are actually all kinds of possibilities for this fun house dungeon and what we're talking about here is straight up oh my God weirdness right off the bat. This entire dungeon's basis is in the DM's hands literally.

This is not a dungeon to be taken seriously at all or is it? This is a dungeon with turnstile blocking the passage to enter, prop house, and more straight out the author's warped imagination and this is a fun house dungeon with factions, NPC's, inside jokes, and more. But don't let any of this fool you this is a very, very, lethal exercise in death dealing right out of the gate. Through out this bizarre adventure is the Mad Mage an NPC who seems to weave his way in and out of the in house jokes and encounters. Some of these encounters DM's can  use the following adventure elements and have players;

• See a microscopic basilisk
• Help a stoneworker understand carpentry
• Explore the Hall of Many Pains
• Meet Arne and learn about his son
• Travel through time to the Vietnam War
• Discover secrets of the Mad Mage!

Yes all of this stuff really is in between the pages of Green Devil Face but is it actually useful for a retroclone system or rpg? Yes and please hear me out here; because this is a perfect adventure to use as a Dungeon Crawl Classics funnel. Green Devil Face has all of the over the top gonzo elements that make it perfect as a DCC adventure. This is an adult adventure with all of the trimmings to keep things moving. Hell, it could be used as a meeting point between a post apocalyptic game such as Mutant Future and an OD&D style adventure setting  because of the inclusion of modern technological anachronisms and relics in the adventure. Add it into one of the hexes on Carcosa or World of the Lost as a side adventure or quest. There's enough meat here to keep a mini game going for at least three or four weeks of play.  This isn't an adventure that takes itself seriously and gonzo level is way past eleven. I can honestly see using this adventure with another retroclone style of game such as Crimson Dragon Slayer and the conversion wouldn't be too hard. The game is keyed for use with; "Originally written as a 0e adventure, Green Devil Face #1 is compatible with Advanced, Original, Basic, and Expert fantasy RPGs published between 1974 – 1983 as well as modern “Clone” games including Labyrinth Lord™, OSRIC™, and Swords & Wizardry™."  Because of the very gonzo  nature of this adventure it could be connected with another megadungeon or old school adventure really up the stakes for the PC's a twist they won't be expecting at all.

So is this a perfect dungeon? No far from it but its a dungeon with lots and lots of potential for a DM to customize and run their players through it. There's a lot of early Lamentations ethos in this adventure and its not been with with controversy to say the least but there's lots of interesting bells and whistles here for playing around with. Another side note is the fact that Green Devil Face is as much comedic OSR manifesto as adventure and satire but that doesn't make it any less entertaining or deadly. Personally I would run it as one more over the top weird OSR adventure. I give it four out of five for the sheer balls to the walls volume eleven bit of fun for a dollar fifty.

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