Thursday, October 2, 2014

Review and Commentary On The Lamentations Rpg System 'Death Love Doom' 'Pay What You Want' Adventure For Your Old School Campaigns

Grab It Right Over
*Just in time for Halloween comes this OSR adventure but the explicit content warning is spot on. Not one for the kids.
So this afternoon I downloaded James Raggi's Death Love Doom and I was expecting some freak show horror adventure with adult themes. Well it is that but there's more here in just twenty two pages. This module is an exploration and re-definition  of what makes up a weird horror adventure. This is an adventure with some very strong sexual themes, disturbing art work, and weird reworkings of horror conventions by James Edward Raggi IV.
Well yes and no really. This is more of an exploration of one family's descent into a level of depravity and madness with a structured OSR adventure that uses many of the deliberate transgressions and taboos of  one family by an artifact of incredible maleficence and horror. The PC's are along for the ride and no power in Heaven can help them. This is an adventure that uses baroque bodily transformations allied to an almost demonic reverence to the carnal within the bounds of an adventure location. In other words this adventure uses the conventions of weird erotic horror in the likes of Clive Barker,Ramsey Campbell, and other modern 80's and 90's horror writers. Its a very dark homage to the imaginative echos of Clive Barker's film Hellraiser in some respects. I wasn't shocked because I've played plenty of the Kult rpg back in the early 90's and this adventure reminded me of the better adventures that came out for that game.
This is a vicious and horror filled adventure not for the faint of heart and it contains a horrid adventure location that the PC's will be lucky to get out of with their lives and souls. This isn't simply a haunted house of a survival horror adventure redressed for OSR gaming. This is a highly charged horror run through and gauntlet for a mid level party of adventurers that you want to shake up with a series of adult highly charged encounters.
 This isn't Ravenloft with a new coat of paint, this is Gothic horror adventure with gore and sex themes  center stage. I've seen other Call of Cthlhu adventures with much adult themed as well as weirder plots and twisted paths then Death Love Doom. But I haven't seen the material framed as well as this one.

 Using Death Love Doom For 
Your Old School Campaigns 

One of the themes here is sexual and bounded alienation done against the painted gore and twisted horror of the NPCs as well as the adventure location here, the mansion of the center stage here.  This adventure should be run when the game campaign is at a bit of slow period and the players agree to something different. This is where players and DM's have to have an understanding of the level of adult material in the twenty two pages. I'm not talking about about the 'shocking' art work and adult themes of the adventure. I'm talking about the whole of the level of weirdness that this adventure evokes in those that play it. This is one that sticks with you long after you put down the pdf.

Elements of this adventure involve the whole range of taboo events that take place within the mansion and how those supernatural elements transgress against the natural order leading to a Lovecraftian build up and execution of this adventure. A DM running this is going to be left with a feeling of having run one of Satra's plays like No Exit, here the Hell really is other people. The family and NPC's ultimately are a part of a series of events of horror where the themes of the mundane and supernatural exist side by side in a reworked and deconstructionism of the usual D& D tropes. One part Shining and one part Hellraiser style old school  Barkerism where the journey not the end will change a party one way or another.
My advice is to run this with a group of players who understand and appreciate 80's & 90's horror movies and are out for a good time with lots and lots of Raggi style twists,tricks, and traps against an entire cast of NPC's that not even the cast of ER can put together again.
In the end this is one very twisted adventure location that can be dropped into a campaign and will drop a party into an adventure that they will not expect and much less survive without in some respect be changed and touched by the madness, depravity, and insanity of Raggi's vision and writing. This isn't a light weight module but a blue print and tool box of how to do a very nasty old school weird horror adventure. All not too bad at all for twenty two pages. 

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