Friday, May 5, 2017

Review & Commentary On 'Pay What You Want' OSR Adventure 'The Monkey Business' From Disoriented Ranger Publishing For Labyrinth Lord & Your Old School Campaigns

"Something steers deep in the jungle. Rumors of a strange drug start making the rounds … and then things start getting really hairy. Even the cannibals are upset. Monkey Business is a wild ride for Labryth Lord or other OSR retroclone compatible games."
So in the last twenty four hours I've had the patience of Job dealing with a few things at work and the very nice author/designer Jens Durke. This is a viciously fun old school adventure with lots of added on extras including random generators, a whole boat load of bananas dungeon location setting material, and some apetastic drug dealers, smugglers, and more. Monkey Business is available through Drivethrurpg as a pay what you want OSR title for Labyrinth Lord.

This module is packed with lots of neo OSR weirdness and right off bat your lead down the ape hole;"an OS compatible mostly setting agnostic sandbox module about ape organized drug traffic and flying feces. It
got way bigger than I thought it would and I hope it’ll bring you some joy. I’ll use Labyrinth Lord TM as the goto system here and it’s more like an adventure location instead of an adventure.
There will be some hooks to get the players involved, too. I’d like to thank Mark van Vlack for giving me the inspiration, an ear or two and his pen (plus his Random Monkey Table, check
out his monkey table in Appendix 5!).
This is not a work of science but a work of pulp. Don’t expect biological accuracy or anything. Indian, Amazon or African jungle? I don’t care, it’s all one hot mess. Easy enough changed
if you know better (and care), easy enough ignored by the rest. But, you know, this also has drug dealing apes and mushroom pygmies that want to get eaten and some magic. There is even a dinosaur somewhere in there, so going with “pulp fantasy” on this one is a safe bet anyway." "
And that's exactly what it is part adventure location setting book/part adventure with a wild ride of strangeness that has far more in common with "The Juggle Book" on acid then it does with Planet Of The Apes even though it does remind me of that classic film in some respects. This is balls to the walls gonzo done with an even old school lethality & a dangerous balance. The material here is Labyrinth Lord or  B/X Dungeons & Dragons style oriented towards a mature audience as the author sometimes uses the 'f' word with some regularity and lots of drug culture references. The adventure design is tight and centers around the effects of one drug as it filters its way (sort of) through out the adventure, its locations, its environs, and its NPC's. The artwork is public domain throughout most of Monkey Business but not all. There are a few pieces that really bring home the gonzo over the top nature of the adventure but not in a bad way. This makes Monkey Business a perfect add on for both Mutant Future and Apes Victorious but there will be a bit of adjustment needed for some of the encounters because of the possible inclusion of modern weapons and technologies from those Goblinoid retroclones systems.

Because Monkey Business has been created for Labyrinth Lord its easy to adapt and twist in many ways for your favorite old school or retroclone systems. The plot is part adventure tool kit & part setting book with a healthy dose of adventure thrown in. There is lots of uses for this one. For value this is one of the best 'pay what you want' titles to come down the pike in a while. I'd give this one a healthy five out of five. Its that good and that nice.

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