Every Week It's Wibbley-Wobbley Timey-Wimey Pookie-Reviewery...

Saturday, 23 January 2016

One Night's Slice

A Single, Small Cut is written by Michael Curtis, the author of The Dungeon Alphabet and Realms of Crawling Chaos: Lovecraftian Dark Fantasy for Labyrinth Lord as well numerous adventures for Goodman Games’ Dungeon Crawl Classics Roleplaying Game. It is a short, bloody adventure written for use with Lamentations of the Flame Princess Weird Fantasy Roleplay and is published by Lamentations of the Flame Princess

Designed to be played by six Third Level characters, it can be easily adjusted for use with larger or smaller groups, or indeed characters of a higher or lower Level. Equally, it can adapted to another gaming system of the Game Master’s choice with relative ease. Both Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay and Shadow of the Demon Lord would be suitable fits here. The scenario is relatively easy to set up and the Game Master really does not have to do much in the way of preparation in order to bring it to the table.

A Single, Small Cut takes place in the early modern era, much like more recent scenarios from Lamentations of the Flame Princess. It is set somewhere with mountains and dark forests to the southeast that are known to be home to pagans—pagans who practised the Old Ways and used magics and artefacts of great power and evil to protect their lands against the forces of the Church. In ages past a martial order called the Order of Kites took up the mantle of protecting the region and driving the heathen witches, sorcerers, shaman, and priests back over the mountains. It is a duty that the Order continues to uphold, but it is not what once was, its members being recruited from those desperate or mad enough to join, thus finding sanctuary and anonymity whatever their past deeds in return for butchering pagans. This attitude extends to the loot taken from the pagans. If it can be used against the ungodly, then the Order of Kite has no qualms in deploying its ‘Satanic’ trophies against the enemies of the Church. It is one of these trophies that drives the story in A Single, Small Cut.

The trophy, a bell cut from a single red garnet. When rung, the bell summoned a bloody creature known as ‘The Corrector of Sins’ and just as the heathens had used it against the forces of the Church, the Order of Kite used it on the heathens. Yet only the then leader of the Order could use it and when he died, the bell was buried with him underneath St. Gothard’s. It is the location of the bell that brings a wizard—ambitious to increase his power and willing to do whatever it takes to obtain it—to the church, whilst the need to rest and obtain healing is what brings the player characters to St. Gothards. Of course this is just about the same time as the wizard and his mercenary thugs have been busy searching for the red bell. If the player characters are hurt or are suffering from some strange condition—diseased, paralysed, poisoned, and so on—then they are likely to find respite in this nasty sidetrek encounter.

A Single, Small Cut is well presented. At just eight pages long with separate card cover, it is very nicely done. Unfortunately, it does need another edit. That said, its horror and tone are not as strong or as blatantly ‘in your face’ as with other releases from Lamentations of the Flame Princess. This is no bad thing though, as it makes the scenario a little more accessible and a little easier to adapt to other settings or games. Then again, there is nothing to stop the Lamentations of the Flame Princess Weird Fantasy Roleplay Game Master from adjusting the horror and tone to his liking.

A Single, Small Cut is a good one-session encounter that showcases the consequences of the attitude that  ‘the end justifies the means’. In single encounter like this, the reason and background to those consequences may not become readily apparent, but the background is there should the Game Master want to develop the events of A Single, Small Cut and feed them into his campaign. As a single scenario, A Single, Small Cut does feel over produced, but it does highlight that Lamentations of the Flame Princess Weird Fantasy Roleplay can handle this short style of adventure or encounter as much as it can the long one. Perhaps then, an anthology of Lamentations of the Flame Princess Weird Fantasy Roleplay short scenarios and encounters might be a good idea?