Sunday, January 10, 2010

Review of People of Pembrooktonshire, Death Frost Doom, Green Devil Face 1-3, but mostly James Raggi's Stuff in General

Just to state at the outset--I bought these items, they weren't given to me for free so I could review them. Also, with the exception of one of the traps from a Green Devil Face, I haven't played with them in a game---yet.

Lastly, I don't really review anything on a professional or even pretentious-pseudo-professional level. I have been reading this stuff today, and had some thoughts I figured I'd share.

That being said, James Raggi's stuff is very different than most. It's some weird shit. Good weird shit.

Green Devil Face 1 is basically a module, but really can be read like GDF 2 and 3, as a collection of odd encounters and traps. They are good and could be helpful, especially if you are doing an old school style campaign where you want either odd/whimsical or tough traps and encounters.

I think Raggi comes into his own with the weird stuff. By weird I mean horror/creepy/WTF?!?! weird. People of Pembrooktonshire is a collection of statless descriptions of some of the most fucked up people you'll ever meet. From dopplegangers polymorphed into cows with their memories wiped, to a candle maker who has been dead for 12 years, anything fucked up you could imagine is in there.

Or maybe not. And I think that's what finally got me to write this. The point I wanted to make is that it takes a hell of an imagination to make this stuff up. It's weird. It's pretty unique. Most of what you buy out there is standard-fare material. It's cookie-cutter and lacks character. Raggi's stuff definitely doesn't lack character. It's very distinctive, in a style all his own, but definitely inspired by the Weird age of Fantasy---Lovecraft, etc.

One thought I had after reading through Death Frost Doom was that it seemed like the module itself was a short story which had been turned into a module. Not that it was railroady, just that it seemed a distillation of a story put into module form.

In the back of my head I thought that Raggi ought to write short stories like this, instead of, or in addition to, writing modules and supplements. After reading Pembrooktonshire today I am convinced he should. The "creativity of the weird" is obviously there. All he needs to do is put it all together in story form, rather than module or supplement form. Based on the level of his writing on his blog and elsewhere, I think he has the ability to be a great fiction writer. Hopefully he tries it someday.

As for the rpg supplement/module thing he has going on, if you want to incorporate some weirdness into your campaigns, you can't go wrong with Raggi's stuff. I am really interested to see the final product of the boxed set Weird RPG he is creating.

Go to this link for more info on him or his stuff, and for links to purchase some of it.

http://lotfp.blogspot.com/