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Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Liche is Back!

And we thought Tomb of Horrors was scary...

That was a long time ago, when we learned, after several attempts, to cheat egregiously. It could never get that bad again, because we were smarter - and we started using systems which not only made more sense, but which enabled us to learn from our failures as well as our successes.

Welcome to a new place, one which is not Tomb of Horrors, nor even an emulation of it. For one thing, you're going to walk into it expecting, at worst, a band of brigands and raiders under the direction of some dim-witted ogre. Dangerous, yes, but less so for you and your hardy band of highly-seasoned warriors, specialists, and wizards. Human and non-human you be, and you've never tasted defeat nor fear.

That was before you discovered the secret of the Forest of Maugaral and the mausoleum it hid. And that's just the beginning of your trouble --- no, this is not "Tomb of Horrors for Tunnels & Trolls." This is its own nightmare -- and yours.

"Deep Where the Liche-Lord Lies" is Andy Holmes again proving that he can send a shiver or two up your spine. Disguised as a simple hack-and-raid mission, this adventure holds secrets and puzzles to keep your group occupied for at least three sessions, if not more. And they WILL keep coming back, because Andy has the knack of throwing JUST enough at the PCs where they think they have a good chance to press their luck just One More Time.

Plus, of course, your players' characters realize that they're in it all the way now, and that backing out is worse than suicide. The various monsters and traps aren't the real challenge; that real challenge is to the players...What will they decide at different moments, different places?

The only thing to fear is fear itself.....they say.

Inviting your presence is Vasarax himself, on the cover by Simon Lee Tranter. The liche looks almost neighborly, having decomposed comparatively little. He seems cordial and friendly. Chilling!

Inside, illustrator Jeff Freels strips the facade away. Your more pleasant foes have a look of greed and vice to them which is truly disturbing as you study their features - for some reason, it's what Jeff DOESN'T include in the portraits and settings which is unsettling. Don't dwell too long on the frontpiece for Level 6. If you thought Jeff's humorous cartoons were "cute," don't be surprised that he turns that impression against you.

Tavernmaster Games continues its impressive output with this high-level adventure that is designed for Tunnels & Trolls - but suitable for anyone you want to feel the crush of despair.

Available in PDF or hard copy through the following:

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Everslow Traveller - not a review of an SF game

It came as no surprise to me to learn that my name, Chester, indicated "traveller" (from various forms which meant a camp of soldiers or soldiers on the march). What surprises me is that it doesn't also mean "slow" and/or "procrastinator."

Which is my excuse for how often (or the opposite of "often") these posts appear or shall appear. I could blame illness (I have a letter from my neurologist which gives me excuses for clumsiness and short-term memory failure.) I could blame other demands of my time.

But it's not really "my" time, and excuses aren't what you're here to read. Therefore, I solemnly promise to update this blog as frequently as I can, except when I forget.

Return of the Gamesmen: a look at "When Good Games Go Bad"

(This review originally appeared at which is where all those backslashes came from.)

     A solid hit. It\'s going over the center fielder\'s head! It\'s going - it\'s going!! It\'s GONE, right out of the park!! A solid HOME RUN!!

Sequels are rarely as good as the originals. Hardly ever do they TOP the original! I can only think of two in the movie field: Bride of Frankenstein and Spider-Man 2. As for games, there\'s this, the sideways-sort of sequel to the Gamesmen of Kasar - and a partial answer to the riddle of what IS the motivation of these Gamers? And who are they?

You\'re a person of some note in this solo. That is, you\'re of interest to the government (such as it is) of the planet, and they\'d just as soon jettison you into the nearest star. But if you can solve the problem/mystery of why the bizarre building, which houses an arena or something (No one really knows.) has gone berzerk and sent out robots to kidnap citizens -- well, that\'s just unseemly! And the robots and building being impregnable to their enforcement agents -- that\'s a disaster in the making!

So you courageously (?) walk up to the entrance, announce yourself as another of the many who used to play their game in their arena, and wait to be show in --

To what?

Robots, aliens, monsters, and a big honking -- no, I shan\'t reveal it. But one of the most glorious of the classic monsters can be yours for the low, low price of taking the wrong turn.

And you\'ve got to love Jeff\'s art - If H.P. Lovecraft merged with Earl Otis and had a pawkish sense of humor, this is the art he\'d create. To make it even more bizarre, Jeff is blind - and still one of the best artists in the business.

This solo opens up what may be a campaign, and delivers more mystery even as it answers some of the mystery of the Kasar solo.

Roy Cram has been absent from adventure creating for far too long! His return with \"When Good Games Go Bad\" has us excited for further adventures in this series.

Creepy as it might be.

(Did I remember to add a Comments section this time? If so, don't you want to leave a comment?)