Saturday, July 9, 2016

Review & Commentary On The "One Hour Game" for The Crimson Dragon Slayer From Kort'thalis Publishing

Alright so you may have noticed a number of posts International Crimson Dragon Slayer's day on July 11th, and I've supporting it with a number of tables and what not. Well there is a reason for this Venger is offering a free PDF of a lean and much more meaner version of Crimson Dragon Slayer as a free PDF. According to a recent blog post;"Sometimes, it seems like we're re-inventing the wheel a thousand times over.  Yet, I believe there's value in what Erik is doing with his Swords & Wizardry: Light.
That's why I've been taking a little time off from Universal Exploits to create an even shorter, streamlined version of Crimson Dragon Slayer.  It will be a free PDF with professional layout and cartography by +MonkeyBlood Design (Glynn Seal).  This should be available by July 11th, which just so happens to be Crimson Dragon Slayer Day!"
‘The southern border
has always felt...

Gone is the jokey & tongue an cheek gonzo weirdness of Crimson Dragon Slayer instead we get a combination of dark & slightly sinister Eighties with touch of the stranger horror romp movies meets sword & sorcery. This is a stripped back Crimson Dragon Slayer with only Human, Elf, and Dwarf as racial types. Warrior, thief, cleric, and wizard as the character classes and VS6 system. So what is the VS6 system?
Well its a task resolutation system that is simple, easy and flexible plus it works quite nicely with OSR style games;"VSD6 This system uses six-sided dice exclusively. When 1d6 is mentioned, it means roll one six-sided die. When 2d6 is mentioned, it means roll two six-sided dice. When 3d6 is mentioned, it means roll three six-sided dice, and so on. Occasionally, one may be asked to roll 0d6. In such instances, a player will roll 2d6 and take only the lower of the two results. Roll 0d6 when there's tremendous difficulty in achieving some action, such as picking up a small horse and throwing it a short distance. Similarly, if the village idiot tries to read a wizard's cryptic notes, he would be asked to roll a dice pool of 0d6, as he would be ill-prepared for the task. Roll 1d6 when there's great difficulty in achieving some action, such as convincing a guard to shut his eyes for a few minutes without a bribe of gold or something of similar valuable. If a sorceress tried to pick up a sword and slay a foul creature from the Outer Darkness, she would be asked to roll a dice pool of 1d6, due to her specialization of magic rather than conventional arms. Roll 2d6 when there's reasonable difficulty in achieving some action, such as sailing the high seas in a pirate's ship during a storm. Similarly, if an able bodied character tried to climb up 30' of rope wearing chain mail armor, he would probably be asked to roll a dice pool of 2d6.Roll 3d6 when there's not much difficulty in achieving some action, such as sneaking around in the dark if it's a moonless night and the sounds of nature are all around. Similarly, if a wizard attempted to cast a trivial spell, such as igniting a torch, he would be required to roll a dice pool of 3d6."
The magic system is handled in the same sort of free form system, this game doesn't use the Vancian fire and forget method of spell memorization. Instead we get a dice pool system that suits the role of wizards from a dark Thundarr style world; "Wizards must force their will upon the universe, changing reality as best they can. Their sorcery is freeform, there are no spells to memorize or prepare.
Though magic can be used in combat, it cannot destroy or even directly harm a living creature,without calling upon the energy of a blood sacrifice, though indirect harm or destruction is acceptable.
For instance, if the adventuring party is facing several fire elementals, the wizard may attempt to flood thechamber with water. Neither can wizards heal mortal wounds. Healing powers are granted by the divine. Only clerics may restore a character's Health. Clerics can usually be found in the great cities, but only occasionally in towns and villages.
The more ambitious the spell, the lower a wizard's dice pool. That means a spell merely trying to nudge reality a little bit here or there would probably qualify for a dice pool of 3d6. Medium sized spells that affect small areas and/or are far more than mere coincidence probably qualify for a dice pool of 2d6. Spells that attempt to greatly change reality would get 1d6."
Like I said this is a lean and mean approach to the Crimson Dragon Slayer game and its in line with the vision of the author at this point. In case I haven't explained this is a one hour from the ground up game that Venger is going to be running.

The heart and soul of the International Crimson Dragon Slayer give away is the adventure called The Curse of Xakaar Abbey;"The southern border has always felt… "witch-haunted", for lack of a better word. For centuries, that part of the land was stained - tainted by an unnatural
corruption. At the obscene heart of this malevolence is none other than the half-demon sorcerer Xakaar.
Ensconced in his ruined abbey directly south of your village, Xakaar traffics with forces from Outside. For the last few decades, the half-demon demanded an annual sacrifice. Apparently, that is no longer sufficient. The sorcerer grows impatient for more victims! Several of the villagers - people you know well and see every day - have fallen into some trance. Mindless, they shamble to Xakaar Abbey, and are never seen again.Last night, someone close to you was taken by that devil Xakaar! That made up your mind. Someone has to stand up and fight… even if it means your death. Yes, it's time to take up the blade and spellbook, to use cunning, imagination, and courage to slay the evil one in his ruined church." Basically in eleven pages Venger manages to get all of his essentials down into an actually decent workable sword & sorcery game. The adventure locations and descriptions read like something that came off of every Eighties metal band album cover but in this case that's a good thing. A special mention for the great artwork and cartography. Layout and Cartography by Glynn Seal of Monkey- Blood Design & the artwork by Craig Brasco is definitely up the quite of efforts that we've seen from these artists before. It really suits the themes and ideas of Crimson Dragon Slayer's new direction.  This is the sort of direction I was exspecting Crimson Dragon Slayer to take when it first came out. This new sword and sorcery Eighties metal twist is going to be a lot easier to hook up with the Alpha Blue rpg system as well. Thule is a very dangerous and menacing setting if you read between the lines of the game. This direction cements that deviant  direction from CDS's past incarnation.  But it really comes across as a playable game system and I do approve of the new direction. The whole idea is to bring new players and blood to the table and in this I do think that this latest incarnation of Crimson Dragon Slayers might succeed. Five out of five for a new incarnation of Crimson Dragon Slayer rpg system and its place in the Kort'thalis Publishing line.

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