Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Commentary & Review of 'His Flesh Becomes My Key' By Kort'thalis Publishing For Your Old School Horror Campaigns

One of the harder tricks to pull off is telling a modern  & engaging Neo noir/horror adventure with OSR overtones. Well, 'His Flesh Becomes My Key' is one part John Carpenter/Stephen King / mixed in with a simmering helping of Cliver Barkerish weirdness strained through the lens of Venger Satanis.

Alright this is the usual Outer Presence rpg included in the adventure package bit we've seen before & I'm going to go out on a limb here & throw that right into the waste basket.
" This is an eldritch pulp / investigative horror scenario especially suited for The Outer Presence roleplaying game. A serial killer case opens up before the investigators and leads to something beyond the usual detective story."
So after reading through this adventure which puts the PC's front & center of a murder investigation/slash horror story I'm going to say that this would make a killer horror story adventure for the 

Why? Because quite frankly this adventure has a bit of it all; 
  1. Viable underworld/sleaze encounters, a trail of madness & dead bodies everywhere. 
  2. Sex & weird reality warping world sex magick occult themes pepper throughout the adveture. 
  3. Darkness & dangerous cultists waiting. 
  4. Independent Venger Mythos action, if you know the Venger's other adventures then you know the drill here. He's big on working his own brand of horror that fits the same DYI horror ideal that Silent Legions adheres to. 
  5. There are not enough Silent Legion adventures & this one actually fits the bill very well. He's sort of toned down the T&A to actually tell a coherent adventure & it shows.
    "The Outer Presence RPG is about curtailing obscenity and darkness.  Horror = fear + revulsion.  Does that mean spectators, rather than participants, are just as subject to "mature content"?  Should reading or listening to the description of unwholesome things also be restricted to "adults only"?"
  6. Because he's toned down the sex Venger has upped the weirdness which makes this far more accessible as a dungeon master. 
So the PC's are on the trail of Richard Black a horror novelist & run smack into the back burner of a whole lot of unraveling pulp horror business. Sure there's plenty of bloods, guts, gore & more here. But this is a thinking man's adventure that can be played over several nights sessions. Sure it includes everything you need to get started and play through but I want more. I want solid pacing, plot/setting, and a set of rules that's going to give me extended modern OSR neo horror play. That's where Silent Legions comes in and frankly there aren't enough adventure modules to support at system but 
'His Flesh Becomes My Key' fills the slimy gap quite nicely. This really isn't Lamentations of the Flame Presence turf although there is this sort of thing,  ‘When his gaze meets that of  the investigators, the chartreuse-hued dweller of the cavern begins to melt into a pool of liquid flesh.’
Instead this is one part X Files twisted around an unraveling 'In The Mouth of Madness' with a good helping of Cthulhu & Venger's tendrils of horror. So yes its a good solid fit for a Silent Legions game.

What I like about this adventure is that its about holding back the darkness but it doesn't play cute with the subject matter. This adventure handles things in a quick & with a deft hand. Its the sort of thing to spring on a group that needs to be eased into the deep end of a horror game without the numbness that one sometimes finds with Call of Cthulhu. This is an investigation adventure that is quick, down, dirty and apocalyptic. 
Are there any complains? Well a few.  There needed to be more of this adventure & I don't mean padding. I mean there needs to be more encounters & more of a fleshed out world for the Outer Presence or perhaps not. The fact is that sometimes less is more and more horror and material might have bogged down  'His Flesh Becomes My Key' as an adventure. I really need to run this adventure to get the real gist of it as a DM. So with that said I'm still weighing in on that part of the adventure. 
The content itself is a step up and off for Venger as a writer/designer. Quite frankly I want to see more of this sort of adventure  from him. Now that I know that he's capable of doing this sort of Neo OSR adventure then I want to see this sort of a standard from him. 
Who should buy  'His Flesh Becomes My Key'? Those who are looking for a different take on the investigative horror adventure. Who shouldn't buy  'His Flesh Becomes My Key'? Stodgy horror dungeon masters  who would rather research obscure historical facts, timelines, and historical events rather then run an action packed Eighties horror inspired adventure. Grab this one if you want a quick jumpstart for an easy to run horror campaign.

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