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Friday, 28 February 2020

Friday Fantasy: The Teuthic Temple


As much as we get out of our hobby and as much fun as we have, it is often the case that it does not support its creators as well as it should. So when disaster or tragedy strikes, it places the creators in positions of unexpected financial difficulties above and beyond the difficulties caused by the disaster or tragedy itself. Such is the case with Sarah Newton, the author and publisher of Mindjammer – The Roleplaying Game: Transhuman Adventure in the Second Age of Space, Capharnaüm – The Tales of the Dragon-Marked: Fantasy Roleplaying in a World of Arabian Nights, Argonauts, and Adventure!, and Monsters & Magic Roleplaying Game. This is in addition to the numerous supplements and scenarios she has written over the years.
Unfortunately, and sadly, Sarah lost her husband of thirty years last year and as her many friends can attest, this has understandably affected her a great deal. In terms of the industry, it has hampered her ability to write, develop, and publish the imaginative and interesting gaming content which she is known for. In order to help support Sarah continue writing and creating the games we love, as well as support her through this difficult time, Solipsist RPGs has published a scenario from which all monies raised will be given to her.


The scenario is The Teuthic Temple. It is a one-page, molluscular scenario being sold ‘pay what you want’ and written for use with Sarah’s own Monsters & Magic Roleplaying Game. This is a retroclone which combines classic Dungeons & Dragons-style play with its Effects Engine to essentially bring narrative elements into the Old School Renaissance, almost as if it was ‘Dungeons & Dragons does FATE’. Despite the presence of these narrative elements, they do not mean that The Teuthic Temple cannot be run using the retroclone of the Game Master’s choice. To that end, notes are included to help the Game Master adapt the scenario and even add Squid or Octopus characters to a game. Certainly the squid and octopus-themed scenario should find a home in any aquatic or weird setting. So Green Ronin Publishing’s Freeport: City of Adventure or some link to The Squid, the Cabal, and the Old Man for Lamentations of the Flame Princess Weird Fantasy Roleplay from Lamentations of the Flame Princess. And given the nature of the scenario in The Sea Demon’s Gold from Arc Dream Publishing, it would certainly work as an equally odd companion to that too, and so bring it up to date for Dungeons & Dragons, Fifth Edition. Alternatively, rend it into the past and add it as an underworld location in the D1 Descent into the Depths of the Earth, D2 Shrine of the Kuo-Toa, and D3 Vault of the Drow trilogy of modules for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, First edition.

Designed for a party of characters of First to Third Levels, The Teuthic Temple is built around a dungeon, the Teuthic Temple of the title. It is stunningly presented in full colour, just nine locations, but laid out like a squid and given a suitably crustacean, aquatic environment. It is an ancient ruined shrine, once a place of worship for the now dead Octopoi gods—who are definitely molluscular and octopoidal rather than Cthulhoid in design. Nevertheless, fanatical Octopoi priests and their Teuthic followers now guard the site, rather than going out and prothletising. Given the size and shape of the temple complex, it should be no surprise that it is fairly linear, but each location has a purpose and there are opportunities for both roleplaying and combat. As written, priest and wizard type characters are likely to get the most out of the adventure, it being a temple, but there is plenty of treasure to be plundered as well as Octopoi secrets.

As well as providing the dungeon itself, The Teuthic Temple provides six motivations or hooks to involve the player characters. These range from seeking an ancient artefact, such as the Sceptre of Fish Control or the Crown of Aquatic Command (possibly complete with Summon Fish spell?) and rescuing an abducted child to hoping to discover knowledge within the temple which help against a greater evil or needing to appease the spirit of the long dead god.

Physically, The Teuthic Temple is a five-page, 2.72 Mb, full colour PDF. The page count suggests that the scenario breaks its ‘One-Page’ concept, but this is not the case. Rather that it devotes one page to describing the dungeon itself, one page to map and scenario hooks, and one page to describing Teuthic characters—both Octopi and Sepoi (or squid)—in terms for both Monsters & Magic and other Old School Renaissance roleplaying games. It should be noted that both the front cover and the map are gorgeous pieces of work.

The Teuthic Temple is a simple straightforward adventuring site with plenty of gaming potential. Built around a pleasingly thematic dungeon, it comes with plenty of hooks to get the player characters involved and is perfectly setting neutral that the Dungeon Master can add it wherever she wants. Lastly, The Teuthic Temple is available as ‘Pay What You Want’, but best of all, all monies raised from its purchase go towards helping Sarah Newton make more games.

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