Monday, December 7, 2020

Review & Commentary On 'The Octagon of Chaos' by Tony Fiorito From Theatre of the Mind Enterpr For The Second Edition Stormbringer rpg box set


"In the time of Sadric the LXXXVI, the Bright Expire was experiencing a time of peace belying the decadence and retrogression that has gripped the empire. Imperial garrisons in the far-flung Southern Kingdoms are brought home to Imrryr, the dreaming city, their need apparently past. Upon this vacuum the greedy theocrat of Pan Tang cast a crafty eye. He was not known to waste his time on trifles. In another place, a faceless Duke of Chaos contemplated the coming slaughter." 

In the middle of 
 Game News (Issue 11 - Jan 1986) was an advertiment for a new adventure for the Stormbringer rpg. 'The Octogon of Chaos' by Tony Fiorito hit the stands in '86 & was real change from the Stormbringer adventures that preceeded it. And that difference straight up is that this is a human centric adventure. There are no Melibonians allowed! 

Now we own a few Theatre of the Mind Enterprises, Inc adventures but this one is more then a bit different. This adventure focus of 'The Octagon of Chaos' is within the Young Kingdoms itself but as a fodder for the adventure & its place as a legacy of the Meliboneans.  'The Octagon of Chaos' takes place twenty years before the events of Michael Moorcock's "Elric of Elnibon√©'' & so this module could be used as a prequel to that book's events within the campaign;""For ten thousand years Melnibone ruled the world.
Elric, the 428th Emperor, seemed destined to see that era come to an end. An albino, sustained by rare drugs, it fell to him to confront the rise of the Young Kingdoms, of the monsters and sorceries which were threatening to overwhelm him and his ancient crown.
The Elric novels have already become classics of heroic fantasy and future projection. DAW is proud to present them to an eager public in new editions, corrected and revised by Michael Moorcock. ELRIC OF MELNIBONE is the first."

 'The Octagon of Chaos' by Tony Fiorito isn't a light weight adventure & requires six players dealing with four to six players running eight to twelve PC's. Of those half of those should be warriors easily. Hell, I would add in here that the players may sprinkle in another one or two just to deal with some of the encounters of  'The Octagon of Chaos'. This is a solid & dangerous module for the Stormbringer rpg. And it deals with two things that the players will not expect  a faceless Duke of Chaos & the greedy theocrat of Pan Tang. And a dungeon master running  'The Octogon of Chaos' is going to need to take full advantage of White Wolf: Temples, Demons, & Ships of War. Both for some of its military rules & the ship rules. I certainly did to deal with some of the nastiness that the PC's encounter. We get a very detailed description of Bakshaan & its environs. 

 'The Octagon of Chaos' takes full advantage of the rpg resources of the Stormbringer 2nd edition box set dealing with the material in spades. This is both a module & a potential resource that the DM should take full advantage of. We get a full cast of NPC's, factions they belong to, full background, & full on adventure time line. Personally if as a DM I  was going to run 'The Octagon of Chaos' with fourth edition Stormbringer, I'd grab my copy of 'Sea Kings of the Purple Towns'. 
The reasoning is simple, there's fully fleshed out addional  rules & guidelines for sea travel. 

There's murder, intrigue, and plenty of chances for double & even triple crosses within 'The Octagon of Chaos'. The material within this adventure reminds the players that their PC's are on the 'date card' for a chaos lord. For an Eighty Six adventure There's murder, intrigue, and plenty of chances for double & even triple crosses. 'The Octagon of Chaos' is a very progressive adventure for Stormbringer in the fact that it teases, uses, & exploits the PC's. 
Even the encounters can be scaled as needed. 
'The Octagon of Chaos' presents a few opportunities to really go to town with this concept. The DM is going to have his hands full but this doesn't mean that 'The Octagon of Chaos' is a bad adventure far from it. But it does take advantage of both the players & its target audience. 'The Octagon of Chaos' isn't simply any old module this is a mini campaign unto itself. 

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