A monster on the verge of eating an adventurer.


Review: Blood in the Chocolate

by Ramanan Sivaranjan on January 24, 2017

Tagged: osr lotfp kickstarter kiel

Broodmother SkyFortress: Buying any other adventure is just throwing your money away

Alongside Broodmother Skyfortress, the brains at Lamentations of the Flame Princess also published Blood in the Chocolate. Kiel Chenier did the writing, layout, and maps. The art is by Jason Thompson, notable for his Family Circus style maps of adventurers exploring infamous dungeons. The premise of the adventure is quite simple: you are a group of adventurers tasked with breaking into a mysterious chocolate factory run by a Spanish countess and absconding with details about her operation and samples of her ingredients. The most obvious inspiration for Blood in the Chocolate is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and there are nods to that story throughout the adventure.

If you have read any of Kiel’s other adventures I would say this one is more or less exactly how I would imagine a Kiel LotFP adventure might look like. There is violence and horror and sex, but it all comes off as fun and a little bit goofy. Also there is a hot fat woman.

I helped Kiel play test the adventure several months ago with his regular D&D group. We met up again shortly after the book was released to play the now completed adventure with the Toronto OSR posse (#torontOSR). Both games I played involved some amount of scheming to break into the factory, followed by sneaking about in search of clues for how this countess was producing her chocolate. In the second game a few of us were poisoned (a likely outcome in the factory) and so we spent part of the adventure trying to find a way to cure our compatriots of their creepy affliction. We managed to win over one of the pygmies, who was so enamoured with us he ended up helping us explore the factory and find a possible cure. (There are rules for how to win over the pygmies presented in the adventure.) Both times playing this adventure were a real blast.

Kiel produces well laid out adventures. This book continues that trend. Kiel’s books are great examples of what people should be doing with the works they produce. Like The Hell House Beckons, this adventure features cheat sheets for the rest of the book. The front end papers are basically the one page dungeon version of the adventure. The back end papers feature important random tables, and stats for the monsters you’ll encounter. There is also a handy pygmy tracker you can use to keep track the 150 pygmies the adventures may kill. The book opens with an overview of the module, advice for how to run it as a one-shot versus as part of an ongoing campaign, and an overview of the main villain and her army of pygmies. This makes up roughly half of the book. The second half is the adventure proper. There are cutaways of the map scattered throughout this section. Room descriptions are bulleted lists, and generally strike the balance between being terse, but not too terse. I do have the same gripe about room descriptions as I made in my previous two reviews: occasionally they spill over to subsequent pages. If you aren’t careful you might assume a room description is complete and not flip the page to see there’s more for you to read. That said, this is a small complaint and the layout is really is well done. This book feels designed to be picked up and run straight out of the book.

I like Jason Thompson’s art. The stuff that is going on in the book could be presented in a very graphic and gross manner. Thompson’s works convey it well but manages to do so in a way I think better suits the book. Many of his pictures are gross, but also not so gross. It’s a tricky line to walk and he does a great job. The PDF of the adventure also comes with one his walk through maps, which is, as always, fantastic.

Buy this already. It’s a good book and Kiel needs to eat. LotFP continues to kill it with their recent releases and this is really no exception. If you are bored or annoyed by some of the more avante garde adventures LotFP puts out, this is a nice solid dungeon crawl to win your heart back. Raggi is curating a solid set of adventures.


Into the Feywild

by Ramanan Sivaranjan on September 26, 2016

Tagged: kiel 5e

Kiel was all, “did you read my adventure about the Feywild?”—more or less—and in my head I was all, “man, I’m not reading an adventure about the Feywild”—more or less. And then I totally read it: when has Kiel let me down?

The Feywild is called many things by its inhabitants: the Bright, the Truelands, the Everwood, and so on. Only mortal outsiders, and fey who have spent an great deal of time in the mortal world, call it the Feywild. Most fey look at folk who use the word like backwards country bumpkins (imagine calling the ocean the “really big puddle” or a castle the “big stone house”).

For the 100th issue of EN5ider Kiel wrote an adventure set in the Feywild, the fairy kingdom of the Forgotten Realms. Now, that’s not really my bag, but I was curious to see what Kiel could do in a few pages: a fair amount. The adventure opens with a brief background of the Fedwild and the adventure. Thankfully Kiel doesn’t waste page count explaining what a magical fairy kingdom is. (You’re smart, you’ll figure it out.) Instead Kiel answers a series of useful questions that most GMs would probably ask when picking up any adventure: “How does this adventure begin?”, “How did we get here?”, “Who is this important NPC”, etc. This is a solid way to open any adventure, really.

The adventure takes place in Hedgegrove, the topiary hedge maze town ruled by Princess Dandelion. Kiel’s drawn a cool looking map of the site, though I’m not sure how easy it would be to use in play. (If I wrote better reviews I’d have played this adventure and told you how it worked out.) The most interesting part of the adventure comes next, the random tables: Random Fey Trade Requests, Random Shops, Fey Oddity (Mutations), and a Random Encounters table. All of these could be plucked up and placed in any campaign that contained a fairy themed site. The remainder of the adventure is spent describing some quests a party can undertake on behalf of Princess Dandelion in order to escape the Feywild.

Though the PCs’ excuses can sway Dandelion’s temperament, she invariable decides to be lenient with them—provided they can complete a grand collection of quests on her behalf.

Now this is the sort of sentence I don’t think you need to write. With most any adventure, any time you find yourself writing out that what the PC’s do doesn’t particularly matter you should just cross that right out. It’ll probably make the adventure better. That’s some free gaming advice for you! It’s also my only real complaint with this adventure.

It was interesting to see what is clearly a very Kiel adventure in a different context. This adventure is light hearted and whimsical. Kiel’s been writing a lot for EN5ider recently, so if you are playing 5E you might want to check it out. I’m surprised WotC isn’t doing something similar.