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

Thursday, 12 May 2016

The Wrong Father's Day

Although there is no scenario in the rulebook for Shadow of the Demon Lord, the first RPG released by Schwalb Entertainment following a successful Kickstarter campaign, one of the excellent decisions upon the part of the designer has been to release support—and release it early—in the form of scenarios for the game. This way a gaming group can get playing quickly, even if they are just using the core rules presented in Victims of the Demon Lord: Starter Guide plus the adventure. In addition, the publisher has also released Tales of the Demon Lord, a complete mini-campaign that takes a party of characters from Zero Level up to Eleventh Level. In the meantime, the eighteenth adventure is Feast of the Father.

Feast of the Father is written by Jason Bulmahn, co-author of various titles for Dungeons & Dragons, Third Edition and the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, most notably Expedition to the Ruins of Castle Greyhawk. It is the sixth adventure written for characters who have entered the Expert Path, that is of Third Level or higher, and comes as an eight page, 13.22 MB PDF. It is designed as a standalone adventure that slots easily into a campaign as an encounter when the player characters are travelling, especially near the coast or other large body of water.

It takes place in the small fishing port of Argron’s Dock, a settlement whose isolation has forced the inhabitants to their own traditions and faiths to keep them safe. For the people of Argron’s Dock, their faith is placed not in the Cult of the New God, but a god they call The Father. Every few months they hold a holy day upon which they give thanks to The Father for his bounties from the sea and receive further gifts. It is on one of these holy days that the adventurers find their way to Argron’s Dock. It is not a welcoming place. It is run down, parts of it have burnt down, and its inhabitants are a slovenly, lumpen lot, suffering it seems from a lassitude. Nevertheless, the player characters are invited to join in the festivities by the locals.

As a scenario, Feast of the Father is little more than a single session in length, its structure and plot echoing that of so many other scenarios in which an isolated village turns to another faith and becomes a nest of cultists, unguided or otherwise. In fact, the scenario could all but be described as a cliche--and in various ways it is. That said, Feast of the Father lifts itself above such clichés with a strong vein of body horror and the sense of listlessness that pervades the community. Over all, a short but enjoyable combination of the bilious and the sluggishness.