Wednesday, November 1, 2017

OSR Review & Commentary On Flower Liches of the Dragonboat Festival From Kabuki Kaiser For Your Old School Campaigns

"When omens portend ill fortune for the city, the priests call upon a Dragonboat Festival: a racing competition gathering swift boatmen from all over the continent. Their ancient chants call forth the powers of the undying, waking the Flower Liches from their distant graves. For a week, the liches roam the city freely, and oversee the race, taking the losing crews as tributes and sacrifices. Once the Dragonboat Festival is finished and the liches disappear, the city's prosperity is magically replenished, and all the monetary wealth the citizenry had before the festival — player characters included — is doubled."
I was recently sent a copy of
  "Flower Liches of the Dragonboat Festival" From  Kabuki Kaiser  
is both adventure & setting  resource book that can be dropped into your home campaign. The adventure channels as much of the Wuxia ghost vibe as it does the Asian pulp Dungeons & Dragons vibe as the author can pack into one of his efforts. This is an adventure that dips liberally from its sources & the warped imaginings of its author. Much like his Mad Monks of Kwantoom   OSR campaign & setting book the mythological/pulp Asian world of  P. Crespy  Flower Liches presents a world & adventure that is both familiar & utterly new. In point of fact both of these products would work extremely well together.

The artwork, lay out, & presentation is a bit different then other efforts of the author/designer, in this adventure everything dovetails into a seamless product that presents a world of the weird & very dangerous centeral to its setting. There are things to do, experience, and dangers ever present within '/The Flower Liches of The Dragon Boat Festival'. This adventure centers around the party circling and creating weirdness for the party to get themselves into all kinds of trouble.

If presentation is everything within an adventure then this one has some stunning writing, plots, and OSR artwork. The combination reminds me of a Saturday afternoon Kung Fu theater flick. Slick on its presentation and long on its adventure hooks! Everything is double downed on in this adventure from the Kung Fu action to the supernatural horror.

Here's an adventure where the dangers to PC's pale in comparison to the weirdness infecting the adventure throughout. PC's are going to have their hands full and clocking in at ninety five pages there's plenty of dungeon and supernatural action to be had. This is a Labyrinth Lord adventure but it has the look & feel of a Lamentations of the Flame Princess line effort but without the lingering adult nonsense to get in the way of play.  'Flower Liches of the Dragon Boats' is clearly easily adaptable to any OSR game.

There is a sense of whimsy but deadliness about this adventure & it stands to reason that it would given the writer's passions for Asian culture & pop culture Kung Fu. The fact is that dungeon master has another full stop world book & source book in this adventure for a full South Asian style setting. This works as a set up for a full campaign starting city point in such a campaign. From hirelings to starting equipment 'Flower Liches of the Dragon Boats' is clearly designed for such a purpose & very well designed to do this at that!  'Flower Liches of the Dragon Boats' works with both Labryth Lord & The Advanced Companion in equal

The real strength of 'Flower Liches of the Dragon Boats' lays in the fact that it serves as a fantastic source book for  'Mad Monks of Kwantoom'. In this regard its a great source book & add on for this or really any pulp Asian flavored style campaign setting. But it really fits into the world of 'Mad Monks'. Because of its mini game included the adventure has some solid replay abilities. The hirelings, background, encounters, etc. are all inductive of a popculture far East and it works.

I can also see
'Flower Liches of the Dragon Boats' being used for a post apocalyptic world such as Mutant Future in which cultures are looking to the 'Ancients' for their divine inspiration. The liches take full advantage of the gullible human fools & the result is the world spot lighted in this adventure/source book. 
Another possibility that  'Flower Liches of the Dragon Boats' could be used for a human centric land in 'Apes Victorious' where these humans have used the power of the liches to resist the onslaught of the advancing ape army. So adjustments will have to be made to use
'Flower Liches of the Dragon Boats'  with Apes Victorious. Another possibility for campaign use is to drop the setting of 'Flower Liches of the Dragon Boats'  into 'Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea second edition' whole sale again there is a bit of adjustment as a possible South Asia analog. For Sword & Sorcery play this is an excellent book & tool kit to add such a mix.
In closing is this isn't a perfect to kit to add to the mix of campaign play for old school style campaign. It clocks in at ninety five pages & to tell the truth I wish there was a bit more fluff connective tissue with this book. There needs to be more here and it I want to know more about 'this' world and not simply use this book as another drag & drop book for campaign play. So in closing a solid four out of five for
'Flower Liches of the Dragon Boats'. 

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