Friday, May 5, 2017

Commentary Running The Outer Presence From Kort'thalis Publishing Using The Silent Legions Rpg System Rules By Kevin Crawford - Actual Play Event

"The world is broken in hidden ways. The truth is concealed for the sake of mortal minds. The unendurable reality that boils behind the stars is veiled by the pleasant blindness that human sanity requires. Yet every comforting shroud must fall in time, and for these investigators, that time is now."
So let's peek behind the shroud of Silent Legion today!

So like a couple of years ago the Silent Legions rpg  had its kickstarter. This OSR game by  Kevin Crawford was successfully funded then it was put on a shelf someplace along with a myriad of very positive reviews. For months now I've had the pdf sitting on the dark corners of my hard drive & its time to do something with it. So what does Silent Legions bring to the table? A number of things that might look familiar to Stars Without Number dungeon masters.
  • Tools for creating eldritch gods, alien races, black sorcery, unique Lovecraftian magical artifacts, fantastic demi-planes of dream, and unspeakable cults of foulest evil. Make your players afraid of the dark again- give them an enemy that's a genuine mystery to them!
  • Guides for the creation of horrific monsters, building them from basic templates elaborated by unique qualities and special flavors of horror. Use the example templates for a quick abomination or flesh them out to be a special nemesis for your players.
  • Region creation tools for building your own sections of demon-haunted Earth, including sixty location tags to define the special torments of your land. These tags are largely compatible with the other tags found in Sine Nomine products such as Stars Without Number and Scarlet Heroes, so you can mix things up for even more dread chaos.
  • Adventure templates for quickly producing an investigative adventure suitable for sandbox use. You can create "blank" templates out of raw plot elements and then drop them on top of your region; the blank spaces in the template interlock with the location tags to create an instant adventure no matter which location receives the template.
  • Cult rules that adapt the popular Faction system from Stars Without Number for the dark machinations and secret feuding of the malevolent cults you create. Keep your world in a steady downward spiral whether or not the PCs are there!

    So mechanically how cross compatible is Silent Legions with other OSR systems? Well according to the author's comments on Drivethrurpg;"

    Silent Legions, Other Dust, Stars Without Number, and Spears of the Dawn all share the same system, albeit with a few genre tweaks for the individual games. Scarlet Heroes uses its own system built for one-on-one gaming, but even there, it remains basically compatible with the SWN series, trading the skill system for "traits" and using a slightly different system for saves."

    I did a quick review of the beta rules way back in 2014  after a few edits & some tweaks the game was out in the wild for sale by Kevin Crawford.  And that's all I've done with the game system. Sigh. The problem has been that players are used to Call of Cthulhu, Chill, Trail of Cthulhu, etc & don't seem to realize the strengths of the game system that make up Silent Legions as an rpg. Its far easier to get OSR or old school players into a game of Dungeons & Dragons then it is to get them into horror game but that's not all there is to Silent Legions. As an OSR  source book well that's where this is one of the strengths of the game. It actually works well to enhance other old school & retroclone systems and can be used as a fast replacement system for Call of Cthulhu. But what does this mean? Well it means that your Fiend Folio 1st edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons book just became a go to horror monster source book. 

    Now I've heard it argued that OD&D & AD&D 1st edition are horror games which to a certain extent is absolutely true depending upon the tone & take away of the campaign setting. But when you incorporate a family of berbalangs who are straight out  of Filipino myth into a modern or a Dark Ages fantasy game using the bits that Silent Legions brings to the table well now your onto a full  blown horror campaign. Several of the monster from the Fiend Folio are perfect fodder for the dream realms of Silent Legions ala HP Lovecraft's Dream Lands.

    Just the other week I ran a group of my regular D&D retroclone players through a modified version of
    The Outer Presence From  Kort'thalis Publishing using Silent Legions. The results were both horrific and very satisfyingly from a dungeon master's perspective. The by play went very well as the players dealt with Miskatonic University and quickly headed to Papua New Guinea set during the 1600's. The results were a TPK but things went off very well. The players were very happy but wanted a bit more meat to their PC's then simply the profession rules of the Outer Presence. Sometimes less is not more especially for experienced players.

    I'll be back with more commentary on Silent Legions as I get into the game a bit more but it looks like I'm going to be needing a hard copy of this game sooner then later. Well get more into some of the deeper aspects of Silent Legion next time.
    Until next time keep em rolling!

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