A monster on the verge of eating an adventurer.

Review: Tales of the Scarecrow

by Ramanan Sivaranjan on September 05, 2013

Tagged: jamesraggi lotfp osr

Tales of the Scarecrow by James Raggi is a little adventure module from Lamentations of the Flame Princess. Like the The Magnificent Joop van Ooms and Fuck For Satan it was produced as part limited edition print run. The adventure was published for sale at Dragonmeet 2012. I ended up with a copy because I backed the LotFP Hardcover and July Adventure crowd funding campaigns, and the books from those projects were running late. (So it was a, “I hope we can still be friends,” sort of thing.) I probably would have bought it regardless: it has a very cool cover.

The module, if you can call it that, is very short. It describes an adventuring location, a small farmhouse surrounded by a corn field. The set up is generic enough it would be easy to fit on most game maps. It would probably make a good entry on a random encounter table. There are a few NPCs, magic items, and a creepy new monster the players will have to deal with. That monster is the crux of this adventure.

The players will no doubt wander towards a farmhouse in search of treasure, traveling through the cornfield. It’s a trap, of course. A horrible creature lays under the house and field. It has some stats, but trying to fight the thing will probably be a giant suck. The players will likely find themselves trapped, alongside another adventurer whose friends are all dead. He has been in the farmhouse for days and has turned to cannibalism. (The corn is poisoned, as is the available water.) He has some treasure, and needs the players help to escape.

The Tales of the Scarecrow also includes a couple of interesting magic items. In true LotFP fashion they give as much as they take. There is a sword that appears to be quite handy in a fight until it starts hitting your friends as well. There is also a spell book full of such blasphemous magic the PCs will be hunted down once it is discovered they know about it, let alone have it in their possession. Finally there is the titular Tales of the Scarecrow. The book grants experience points to the player who writes up the best stats and powers of the scarecrow that sits out in the cornfield near the farmhouse. If the players make the creature too soft, they will lose out on a chance to win experience points. If they make it too hard they’ll have to deal with difficulty they create in the game. It’s a prisoners dilemma of sorts. James Raggi seems to enjoy including these sorts of “post-modern” magic items in his game.

The interior artwork (and layout) by Jez Gordon is really nice. The module is well written and clear. Sometimes Raggi can be a bit too wordy with his writing, but I don’t think that’s the case here. Each of the elements in this adventure could be taken apart and used individually. Tales of the Scarecrow is available for almost nothing as a PDF. I think it’s worth the price of admission.

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