Friday, November 30, 2012

Fear & Loathing In The Metropolis Sourcebook For the Kult Rpg

Fear & Loathing In The Metropolis Source book For the Kult Rpg 

Here's where we tear into the infamous Metropolis Sourcebook for the Kult Rpg the whole thing follows the usual formula. 
We've got the Cracks in The Lies Chapter which are short adventure hooks that allow a DM to throw caution to the wind & really simply screw the PCs over bringing them into the reality of Metropolis.
Like the usual White Wolf/Horror cum games of the 90s there's a boat load of intro fiction to get you into the mood for the game. The book is a glorious Gnostic train wreck that takes you break neck into the world of Kult or at least the American edition. 
The Structure of Madness takes you deep into the background which is 50 miles of bad horror road with no end in sight. That's part of the problem there's very little room for PC survival if the book is used as is. That's not actually how its supposed to be used through. More on that below. 

This is a book with lots & lots of handouts there are way more then the Call of Cthulhu game rule book but their actually a part of the flavor of the game. We get into the Lairs of Power & its here that the book really takes you into the hints that were given in the rule book & expands on them. This part of the series is megadungeons of the Archons. Temples, skyscrapers, & more! 
The Cogs In The Machine chapter provides places, settings, and even more megadungeons of horror action. This chapter presents some of the greater crossover potential within the book. 

The book gives lots of the power structures  cosmology, and mysteries of Metropolis but there's enough to work with that a DM could use it all & still not have enough. There's that much material here. 
The Scalpel of Game Use 
This is a deep end of the pool book for a DM to get into. The setting is very deadly & very stylish. With the right group this book is a perfect party maker or party killer depending on the horror that the DM is willing to unleash. 
The book is like Carcosa & could be used with that setting with little problem. The ideas presented are mature & very well thought out. Bottom line is that this a good solid book to get because its relatively inexpensive! 
There are lots & lots of crossover potential here. The book is designed like a tool kit for the DM to dip into and get his hands very dirty with PC blood. 
The secrets within the book are laid out & the places allow one to take the horror into either a trippy Barker direction or a Silent Hill screw job. The setting could make Planescape look like sunny brook farm. Its not an easy one to use with the wrong group its cosmology is very unforgiving. 
There's lots & lots of weirdness for a campaign here infact several if your willing to work the cosmology into the structure of an OD&D style game. A metric ton of cults are just waiting for the PCs to visit here. 
The book blows Metropolis out as a setting but for the average PC its a meat grinder waiting to happen. 
The horror here is  straight up balls to the wall urban horror with a capital H. The monsters are very,very unforgiving & nasty. 
  1. Its easily adaptable to any system & accessible for a DM 
  2. Lots & lots of fluff 
  3. A metric ton of adventure locations 
  4. This setting could be used for disaster/urban city crossovers
  5. Basically mega dungeon a go go here  
  6. Weird Techno action that could be used with any retroclone game 
  7. Plenty of weird monster potential 
  8. Time, space, higher dimensional appearances of the setting for any game 
  9. Lots of weird alternative powers, gods, demons, spells, etc all under one cover 
  10. Its not all that well known by players today 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Wrestling With The Legions of Darkness From Kult ~ Review & Commentary

Legions of Darkness for the Kult rpg is considered by many players to be essential reading if not the best expansion book for the game. It continues the bleak Gnostic inspired cosmology first seen in the main rule book. 

The game comes with a warning for the reader but does it live up to it? Kinda, sort of, not really. The book was/is essential to the game the whole thing is laid out that the material within really fits the twisted cosmology of Kult. 
 The Table of Contents provides more then a handy reference for the book it consists of the the paths that the book takes. Basically it takes all of the material laid out in the fluff/setting section of the role book & blows it up in even further. 
 We get a fully realized backgrounds on the Kult baddies & there's lots of them. This is an urban horror game where the various gods, angels, death angels, etc. are all essential to the setting & the PCs stumble into the plots head first. 
 The adventure hooks, plots, etc. all tie directly into  the setting so much so that we get a full spectrum view of the workings of the world here. This is a God sent in a way for the DM wanting to construct adventures but a hazard for those wanting to inject a bit of their own here. 
 There's even more here for the DM willing to impart this information on the PCs in his game. New cycles of power, spells, items, & ritual magic are all here. The Gnositic background clouds, adds, & gives meaning to the powers within the book 

The Hows & Whys of The Legions of Darkness 
 Here we have a typical layout for the book consisting of the power, the envoy, the complete background, & even a symbol for the the stertorous cult. 
 Then we're thrust into the minions, monsters, & the power's locations including a map of the lair of the creature. 
 The maps here are something that a desperate survivor or victim might scratch out on a piece of paper. The world & possibilities are all there. 
 There are other powers, gods, & various monsters etc. I've seen the book described as "Kult's Monster Manual". But really this is a more essential book. This is the expansion that allows one to flesh out the world of Kult. This book is a path way to adventure & horror. Its one of the best monster books of the 90s for a horror game. 

 Here the false front of reality is cracked & breaking down completely. The monsters are not only crawling through but their rule upon this world is almost broken. 
Because of the way the book is laid out the whole package allows a DM to interconnect adventures in such a fashion that an almost unique history of a PC organization might be easily be built. Chill was the only other game to have such a thing until the printing of Delta Green for CoC  
 We've got evocative styles, easily adapting of the material, a fleshed out history, & horror adventure just waiting for the PCs to be dropped into it.

Uses For Retroclone Horror 

 This is a well organized, easily adapatable setting with lots,lots, of monsters who are waiting to get their claws into your PCs. There are powers. backgrounds, a metric ton of locations but how to adapt it? 
 Once again I'm turning to Mutant Future for the adaption because the PCs are more robust  the mutations are adaptable as powers, there's a ton of grade Z movie material that's floating out there that can work in this setting & unlike this game I like PCs to survive.  

 Remember earlier that I had talked about that warning! Well here's why, there are monstrous child killing cults, weird gods, cannibalism, torture, magic,etc. all set against the background of a Gnostic ritual magic setting. In other words nothing that you don't see on the nightly news. The really weird part is the cosmology which makes our everyday reality very, very, depressing except this isn't our everyday reality its a game setting with an intelligent Dave Lynch/Clive Barker world very seen the eyes of a conspiracy nut. 
 There aren't simply monsters in the book there are powers & backgrounds that can be adapted with little ease into a variety of other settings. The cults, monsters, etc can go all the way back to 1000 to 2000 BC and beyond. Lots to use here 

The Ins & Outs Of Legions of Darkness 
The book is easy enough to get a quick hunt around ebay will produce at least three or four copies at very low prices. There's even a number of fan sites that still support the game. The fact is that its about the only place that you'll find new material. The game is long long out of print & long forgotten. 
The Last Cycle was my second home back when White Wolf imploded the Old World of Darkness 
Ten Reasons to use Legions of Darkness 

  1. The book is well organized, fantastically easy to use, & its mostly forgotten by role players. Grab it & go. 
  2. The expansion of cults, monsters, etc all blows up & out the world of Kult easily bringing it to your table 
  3. The material with some work could be applied to any horror based game 
  4. The book is a great pathway to horror adventure & the hooks actually are quite useful 
  5. The expansion of rules, rites, etc are worth the price of admission alone 
  6. The material is mature but handled in a reasonable, well set down way making this one to use over & over again. 
  7. The introduction to the cosmology of Kult allows one to rip, mine, fold & dissect whatever the DM wants 
  8. There's acres & acres of weirdness here to play with 
  9. The book isn't pretentious or high minded it simply presents the material & allows one to get to the heart of  the horror 
  10. Its cheap & easily available 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Diving Between The Sheets With The Kult Rpg - Review & Commentary

My association with this game has been like an on again off again ex wife. The whole affair began in 1997 shortly after I got into WOD and OD&D was a distant memory. The whole game was very, very different from anything out there at the time. Kult is a dark horror rpg game set against the contempory world. The contemporary world being tissue paper for the false front of conspiracies, counter conspiracies, & cults which reign over all. 
The game isn't pretentious as other horror games of the time so much as "We're going to rip your illusions" apart cosmology. The whole thing is bleak in the cosmological & theology department. 
The whole game is like a false front in which modern society is one false front set up against the Clive Barker style cosmology. The hidden masters are back there doing their OZ thing & we're dancing to their tune. 

Wiki does a decent job of describing the setting : 

In the game, the world we see is an Illusion which is unravelling to reveal an even darker backdrop which in the game is called Reality. This Illusion was created by the Demiurge to hold humanity prisoner and to prevent mankind from regaining the divinity it once had. The notion of an originally divine mankind being held captive by sinister forces is borrowed from gnosticism. In the game's cosmology humans can regain their lost divine status through a game concept called Awakening in which characters with an extremely high or low mental balance are no longer restrained by the rules of the Illusion. See more about mental balance below.

The Heart & Souls Of Kult 
Kult itself is a mess of  number of very cool occult ideas laid against the background of a game that actually works but there's issues there. The combat is well done, the system is one of the storyteller style character archtype of things but there's lots here that can be mined as well. 
There are extensive modern equipment lists, weapons, & lots of flavor that can be ported over to your favorite retro clone. 
 Also for those of us in the know there's this little tid bit from Wiki:
"Some symbols and creatures appearing in Kult can also be seen in other Swedish games to which the Kult authors and production team also have contributed. The Mutant Chronicles universe (created by Nils Gulliksson and Michael Stenmark) its spin-offs share creatures such as Nepharites and Razides which appear in the game." 
Kult can do survival horror, straight classic horror, philosophical horror, & even Hammer style modern horror which is one of the ones that works best with this game. 
The game really shines using ritualistic quisi historical ritual magic. The magic is dark, strange, & dovetails right into the reality is a revealed with the pages of the game. 

There are character types that really go into the meat & patatoes of the magic setting as well. 
False Flag Settings & Weird Horror Sets 
Kult is built using setting upon setting material revealing the inner workings of its world like a weird horror movie itself. The game dives into the deep end of its own horror setting.

That being said it creates quisi cults at the heart of the game with their very own divinity based on the Gnostic model. Its very dark stuff & not a happy world that the PCs live in. Behind the false front survival becomes that much less likely.  

The deeper into the setting of Kult you go the weird & more darker it gets. This is setting stacked on setting material within an urban frame work. There's touches of David Lynch, HP Lovecraft, & Fritz Leiber's Our Lady of Darkness in here. 
Time, Space, Etc. all breaks down within the the frame work of urban & spiritual decay. As I said this isn't a happy game at all. Nor should it be. These themes, adventures, creatures, & the cosmology can all be added to any retroclone game to throw the PCs in the deep end of horror.

 The Bottom Feeding Of Kult Into RetroClone Horror 

The Kult Rpg could without question be used with any retroclone rpg. The game needs to be brought into the retroclone movement. I've talked with lots of folks in my area of New England & the surrounding environs who have done just that. 

 Take the game, use the PC types, grab the gats, the gear, the guns, & go with it. Serious you could marry the setting into any environ and really take your players for a ride. This isn't a game for the kids. This a game for a group of players who are used to a CoC Delta Green game as well as OD&D that want something in a contemporary game. Seriously this isn't a game to take seriously at all. They used the same monsters for Mutant Chronicles as well for God sake. 
Ten Reasons 
Here are the Ten reasons to mine Kult 
  1. The cosmology is really screwed up & will keep those Lovecraft snobs in your group guessing when running an adventure. 
  2. Power levels are really comparable to a Mutant Future enabling PCs to survive easily. 
  3. The game can be run with anything from a Hellraiser vibe to Street Trash as a movie bench mark
  4. A metric ton of adventure & treasure locations right within the framework of the game 
  5. The weird magic items alone are worth the price of admission 
  6. The magic system is very occulty & can could with some work be used for a number of other games. Really make those wizards work for their sanity. 
  7. Realms of Chaos could be used to frame the gods, demons, & weirdness from Kult 
  8. The world of Kult could really play with a group of high level PCs. Think cross over here 
  9. Think cross over with Carcosa here as well 
  10. The game rocks & is cheap on Ebay or other places if you know where to look "

     The game is very mature content consider yourself warned. Next up Legions of Darkness