Monday, August 3, 2020

Review & Commentary SERPENTINE - Oldskull Serpent Folk By Kent David Kelly For Your Old School & OSR Campaigns

Slithering from out of the depths of Yoth and dread N’kai, they rise …

Poisoning dreams, crushing the weak, conquering kingdoms,

And your game world will never be the same.

So I've been puttering around Drivethrurpg in my library & apparently when I was on a Sword & Sorcery bender buying spree I had picked up SERPENTINE - Oldskull Serpent Folk By  

Kent David Kelly

. Now I do love serpent men to a fault as NPC villains but to tell you the truth the race has been overplayed in my eyes going back to the D20 Conan days. Right?! Well in a word SERPENTINE - Oldskull Serpent Folk  does bring a lot to the table. This book brings a lot of the Appendix N & Lovecraft circle writers into the mix & distilled so that their works brim into a serpent men cohesive mythology. But its this tool box approach that seems to work so well for Oldskull products. The upshot is that Oldskull includes Lord Dunsany in the mythological mix here. The same approach is used for the serpent man PC generation & its this attention to detail that really brings home the subtleties of the race. From the serpentmen name generator to the abilities & modifications for PC's things are geared for the reader. The fact is that all of this can be applied to NPC's as well. 
Next we get down into the base coat of the forty one pages of Serpentine madness with the religious section open with the usual subject such as Yig,Set, &  Tsathogga. Its in the religious section that we get into the mindset of the serpent men. This is a well done section mirroring the flavors of myth & legend. 
There is a ton of public domain artwork used but used very well throughout SERPENTINE - Oldskull Serpent Folk. This isn't a bad thing & actually adds to the conspiracy laden nature of the mythology of the book. 

This Engraved stone plate from the 
Mississippian culture of 
sort of vibe that echos in SERPENTINE - Oldskull Serpent Folk 

Kent David Kelly

. Its the type of artifact that has the same feel of the serpent men overshadowing the cultures of prehistoric Earth. No that this artifact does appear but it could! 

And its this overarching feel of 'what could be' that SERPENTINE - Oldskull Serpent Folk 
does well. It makes a coherent whole cloth of the serpentmen's culture & impact on the world that they appear in. This makes  SERPENTINE - Oldskull Serpent Folk 
a very useful book to both the players & the dungeon master. The possibility that lurking just beyond the fires of civilization are the last remains of the Serpent men waiting to rise up & take back what was theirs! 
The section on using traditional classes as options for PC's is pure class & done very well. Its here that we get a look at the Soul Slaver class. This is one Hell of a nasty option for an NPC villain. Its straight up something that would fit the era of Conan or the hallow caverns of Yoth. The class is well done & presented in a ready to go fashion for your Sword & Sorcery adventures! 
We dive deeper into the serpents den with all kinds of radical modifiers, Serpentmen powers, special abilities & more. The section on Serpentmen magic is especially well done with relations with dragons & its very revealing in how the two monster species interact.They have more venom for each other that sets off nicely how adventures could lined, hooked, and sinkered with the Serpentmen/dragon relations at the center!  
SERPENTINE - Oldskull Serpent Folk is a well done book in forty one pages only a dollar fifty! 

How to use 
SERPENTINE - Oldskull Serpent Folk  With Your OSR & Old School 
Sword & Sorcery Games 

Sandstone disk found at Carthage, Alabama. Horned serpents (rattlesnakes) tied together in a loop, with an eyed hand in the center from 'The Antiquities of Tennessee', by Gates P. Thruston, Second Edition 1897, Cincinnati: The Robert Clarke Company. Figure 236.

Now Tim Brannan of the Otherside of the blog goes into a deep review & overview of SERPENTINE - Oldskull Serpent Folk By  

Kent David Kelly

. We're gonna go into a totally different direction here. The serpent men in this book make excellent antagonists for the dragon born of James Mishler's Dragonborn OSR book! Everything lines up & these two are destined not to get along! 

The other book to use as an OSR  book end for SERPENTINE - Oldskull Serpent Folk By  Kent David Kelly is Neo plastic Press's 'pay what you want' Obscene Serpent Religion. With all of the random tables, serpent cult unpleasantness, & even deeper dive random table details these two books are meant to be used to generate the terror of the Serpent Men!

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