Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Review and Commentary On The Pale Lady Adventure By Zzarchov Kowolski From The Lamentations of the Flame Princess Rpg System

"Deep in the woods, every woods, there seems to be a monstrous child stealing witch.
Every spring more and more children go missing never to return.
Two years ago one returned from his absence and is telling tales of vast riches, monstrous servitors, and the way back to her accursed domain."


  So I read through the blurb of 'The Pale Lady' adventure for Lamentations of the Flame Princess rpg system. Now I approached James Raggi about a review copy and I didn't know what I was getting into. I'm familiar with the writing of Zzarchov Kowolski from a number of his rpg products over the years but the Pale Lady is very something very weird and a completely different avenue from what I was expecting. The rpg title refers to an incredible goddess or witch of incredibly strange alien power. The module concerns a mini adventure that surrounds her, her followers, her children and much more. Look I don't want to spoil this module but it addresses a prime concern of mine with the Lamentations of the Flame Princess system. What do you do with the Elves and Dwarves in the Lamentations system. Call it a Tolkien hang up but trying to wrap my mind around the concepts put forth for the 'Fey' powers has been problematic in LoFP. Not any more,this module tackles some of the pseudo historical background of the issue and does it with high weirdness and gusto as well as style. 
This module touches upon the classic Hammer horror and pulp trappings of dark sorcery and witchcraft whipped to a seething froth of high weirdness in a European countryside. The backdrop and setting fits in and dovetails very nicely with the rest of the adventure. There is some dark and disturbing goings on,and much of the plot as such reminded me of some of games of Kult from back in the 90's. Yes there is a child snatching witch and horrid murders but there's dark goings on in the name of the old religions of the region and more.
The adventure for all of its mature content is a seething cauldron of dark magick and forces bubbling out as part of the deep countryside and its a very messy adventure waiting to splatter your PC's in whipped gore, odd happenings, and more.
The writing is well done and possibly as well done as anything that I've seen from the pen of Mr.
Kowolski. The artwork is evocative and even though the pieces are b/w they set the tone nicely. This adventure is sort of like stumbling upon a gem of dark 80's horror popping it into the VCR and coming away feeling like you've found another favorite horror flick as the screen is drenched in gore, guts, and intelligence. That's the type of quality I see in this adventure. 
On the price,you can think of it like this. As a comic book fan, I've paid through the nose for quality pieces of artwork,graphic novels,etc. Well this isn't simply another thirteen page download of low quality crap.What this is a thirteen page adventure and kit that fills in as nice and horrifically weird adventure for a party. Although this adventure can be run as a one shot for LoFP, this adventure serves better as a build up on an existing European campaign set in historic Europe. Personally wait till there's a frequent sale on Drivethru if your worried about the price. For me it was worth the admission. 
The context here is a nice divider into some of the events of Raggi's 'Better Then Any Man' and other Lamentations adventures. The Pale Lady touches on the powers of magick that came up during the witch trials of the 1600 & 1700's across  Europe spun through a darkly pulptastic aesthetic and set into to weird dark common to Clive Barker novels of the fantastic.The content here is a blood drenched mature rife with murder,mayhem, other elements that you'd come to expect from the Lamentations line.
So what's 'The Pale Lady' about? Its about  encounters with ancient powers beyond the ken of mortal men where tales of this  horror are still told around camp fires across the region of your campaigns. Mothers clutch their children and families look over their shoulders as the sun sets as they watch for the coming of the 'Pale Lady'. 
I really enjoyed the hell out of the 'Pale Lady'. A great addition to the Lamentations of the Flame Princess line. 
Four out of Five for weirdness and packing in the horror as well. 

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