Dead God Excavation


Venger As’Nas Satanis
Kort’thalis Publishing
Crimson Dragon Slayer
Levels 1-3

A fifteen page non-adventure calling itself an adventure. One door, one room, a couple of NPC’s to interacts with. Didn’t Venger write a “How to write adventures” book? Yes, yes he did. Exhibits A & B in the buying things from DriveThru. Really, the jokes on me. His pitch for a review was more manipulative than his usual “PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE REVIEW MY ADVENTURE PLEASE.” I knew it was a front and did it anyway. I just didn’t realize how bad it was.

So, yeah, it’s an archeology thing. Nobles and laborers are gathered around a recently unearthed big iron door. Carnivals, circuses, archeology expeditions, museums, post offices, DMV’s, sewers … it’s like the imaginations of the designers are bankrupt. I’m waiting for the circus archeology (or archeology circus?) adventure.

Which is not to say that the core social aspects of the nobles, sages, laborers, priest and sorcerer NPCs is bad. Quite the contrary, a group of fuckwith NPC’s each with different motivations hanging around the party while they do something dangerous tugs at my DM heartstrings. It brings the roleplay and involves a kind of push your luck mechanism with how much shit the party is going to take and/or how they are going to use the resources that a few extra bodies provide … Or, it COULD do that, if it were written well. Venger tries. You get that he’s trying to set this up with a bunch of different NPC’s hanging around, offering advice, getting in to trouble, etc. That is, if you squirt pretty hard and you see that. It comes across on a couple of pages, about a paragraph or so per NPC ending with a one line motivation. I’m going to address Venger directly now: Hey, dipshit, I know you read these reviews. Stop making the same mistakes over and over again. Put in a fucking summary sheet for the NPC’s. Stick in the name and a couple of words for motivation, characteristic, etc. That way I don’t have to keep turning back to the NPC pages and digging through the stupid text to find something worthy for them to say/do. See, if it were all on one page then I could attach it to my DM screen and look at it on the fly and see everyone in one glance and get some real nice interaction shit going on. And while I’m at it, if the NPC’s are supposed to be a big part of the adventure then give them a couple of things to do. Have the laborers smuggle in a couple of liquor bottles, or play the lotto, or a full tea service for the nobles or some such. You don’t need to drag it out, four or five words per. But its your job to help prompt the DM to action, giving them tools to work with. “Bob is a jackass.” is a little too open ended. Sure, it works, but if he’s a face talker with odious body scent/personal habits .. AND useful, all the better.

Ok, so, there’s this door. You open the door and there’s a room beyond with a dead god in it and a couple of other things to fuck around with. That’s it, that’s the adventure. Oh, and every fifteen minutes you take 1d6 damage from acid drips from the ceiling. And every fifteen minutes you have a 50% chance of just dying from some d6 table. That’s fun, right? Actually, I don’t mind the acid drips; it’s minor and encourages the party to find a way around it. The whole “evil effects while in the tomb” table, though, needs to go. It discourages exploration and interaction. Not cool. I get it, dangerous environment. But NOT exploring an erupting volcano is not fun.

Venger also puts shit in the wrong order. E’s got such a hard on for describing the dead god, and its effects, that he puts the room description elements FAR down in the adventure. Hey, first n the description is what the party see/encounters first. Then you expand it later on. You put what the DM needs first as the first thing the DM sees. Otherwise I have to read a page of text before I run the room. I’m not reading a page of your text at the table.

And what’s with the names dude? Miss Forgotten Realms much? Voss’th Ekk, Chanz Kol, grok-nods, Zirnakanan. I guess Forgotten Realms isn’t the only place where random letter generators are used for names. Next time try some names WITHOUT apostrophes in them?

He’s got some decent alien/demon magic items and At one point, when characters open a book, a woman screams at the same time … because she thought she saw a spider. Nice. That’s the kind of local colour I like to see.

Didn’t I like a Venger product in the past? Islands of Purple, maybe? Dude, what happened? Is this a money play or something else?

Get it together man. This thing needed a fuck ton more editing to tighten it up and expand it a bit.

This is $2.50 at DriveThru. The beginning of the preview shows your the NPC’s. They are not bad, they just need the summary sheet and a couple of prompts for causing trouble. The end of the preview shows you the “random death and damage” shit from when you are in the tomb. The middle shows you the, essentially, preprogrammed events at the start of the start when the party arrives. Sage touches tomb, gets headache, sorcerer shows up and warns everyone off, etc.
https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/232344/Dead-God-Excavation

This entry was posted in Reviews. Bookmark the permalink.

68 Responses to Dead God Excavation

  1. Edgewise says:

    “That is, if you squirt pretty hard and you see that.”

    How hard do I have to squirt?

  2. Do you fluff the guy about to fuck your mom in one of Zak’s pornos with that mouth?

  3. Handy Haversack says:

    Maybe the NPC kibbitzers are a sophisticated metacommentary on the pointlessness of the adventure itself? Maybe?

  4. I don’t want to see hyphenated fantasy names outside of Pern.

  5. PrinceofNothing says:

    Savage.

  6. YouDontMessWithTheJeff says:

    I think my next PC is going to be a barbarian named Grok-nod

  7. Vlad says:

    You did indeed give a positive review to Islands of Purple, and you were also fairly positive about Revelry in Torth.

  8. The Dungeon Analphabet says:

    From the author of “Adventure Writing like a Fucking Boss”. I think we all agree with 5/6 of that title.

  9. nevergeneric says:

    >Didn’t Venger write a “How to write adventures” book?
    Yes. Yes he did.
    I pity the poor sap who gets tricked into being his editing and layout person.

  10. Edmund Gloucester says:

    Dead God Exhumation is one of the few intelligent modules to come out of this OSR scene. Lynch’s blindness to its merits bears witness to his second rate existence as a critic, a resentful critic, an old woman sneering at a young woman’s beauty. Very disappointing review.

    • Edgewise says:

      “Lynch’s blindness to its merits bears witness…”

      Positively Gygaxian!

      “…an old woman sneering at a young woman’s beauty.”

      Terse AND evocative!

      With writing like this, I can’t believe that you didn’t get a better review.

    • Edmund Gloucester says:

      I did not get a better review because Lynch is a Presbyterian and he will have no truck with the Devil and his evil peccadillos. On the other hand I don’t know what you mean I am a neutral observer, an inveterate admirer of stout OSR material.

  11. Bryce Lynch says:

    Venger, man, I don’t know what’s going on with you, but I hope you’re able to pull out of it soon.

  12. Ice says:

    Reading a somewhat negative review of an obscuro nerd game thing and then seeing the author of the obscuro nerd game thing take it personally and throw a hissy fit has been one of my highlights on the internet this week. Thanks everyone

  13. Edmund Gloucester says:

    Now that time has passed, are you willing to review Dead God Exhumation correctly? If not I am afraid I will have to crush your wife’s male genitals with my tentacle.

  14. Grok'nod of Tsath'Oggua says:

    Eh Kent, finally over your break-up with StuPat? Bryce won’t take you in. You’re heavily soiled and damaged goods. And, as you noted, he is married, but his wife does not have male genitalia. That would be the wife of a certain Matt Finch, possibly. Or not.

    Ven’gar seems to have taken some of this criticism to heart. He is searching for new members of his creative team. Did he fire the previous people, or did they leave?

    Kent, you can apply for the cartographer position.

    Bryce, you can skip further offerings from Kort’thalis Publishing. Ven’gar does not appear to take criticism well. A major fault in a creative person.

  15. Decent Chance says:

    This is why comment sections are awesome.

  16. Bryce reached out to me privately, which was nice of him. But let me set the record straight, I’m not off my meds or binging on drugs or spiraling out of control. I’m fine. In fact, I’m better than fine. I’m keeping it realz.

    And here’s another record straightener – I didn’t manipulate you, unless you think that a GM manipulates his players by laying out the basis for a scenario. I simply told you that opinion was divided. As you can plainly see, there are both good and bad reviews of Dead God Excavation. I wanted to read your thoughts because I thought you were a marginally objective reviewer of old school shit. Someone both having and deserving respect.

    Your tone is overly familiar, condescending, and rude. It hampers the review to the point where it’s less about Dead God Excavation and more about your problem with me directly… whatever that might be. I assumed it was jealousy, but maybe it’s hatred for some imagined insult. Or perhaps you’re just a total asshole to people for no good reason? I mean, you called me a “dipshit” in your review. Publicly. On your blog. Here’s a piece of advice for you, my dude. Don’t ever fucking do that. Not to me, not to other authors, not to anyone!

    Oh yeah, and a summary for a 15 page book (minus 3 or 4 pages for art, credits, etc.)? Jesus Christ, man – are you out of your mind? Read the short adventure in 15 minutes and take a couple GM notes before the session starts if you’re worried about forgetting or page-flipping. If you can’t handle short descriptions of a few NPCs in a 15 page adventure, then just give up. You’re never going to make it in this game.

    Sincerely,

    VS

      • Um, ok… Let me try to dig out – or excavate – the buried essence of your video reply. BTW, don’t you just love it when adventure authors do that – bury the lead?

        I’m a liar? Am I lying about your piss poor attitude throughout the review? Am I lying about Dead God Excavation being an actual adventure? Am I lying about an NPC summary being unnecessary?

        Or perhaps I’m just a really good salesman… is that it, Bryce?

    • Edgewise says:

      Never complain about a review. It will not change anyone’s mind. If you want to engage particular points, that can work, but you didn’t even try that till this last comment, and you did it poorly.

      When you insult someone and they check if you’re OK, that should be a red flag. It means you’re acting in an obviously irrational manner – so irrational that they aren’t the least bit offended. There’s a reason that nobody here has taken your side. Take a hint, get hold of yourself.

    • Edmund Gloucester says:

      ====let me set the record straight, I’m not off my meds or binging on drugs or spiraling out of control.

      At last.

      Someone has the guts to stand up to Bryce Lynch and his campaign to remove those who are taking meds to extrafulgulate their imagination, as if there was an equivalent to steroids in Fantasy Roleplaying Games such as steroids.

      Bryce Lynchio, if you have not taken meds or smoked pot or eaten *wink* mushrooms, what credibility do you have to review the sort of garbage that sewers before you.

      We know we are shit. We know we are morons, but why are you reviewing us. Just leave us alone, in the PINK FLOYD sense.

    • Bigby's Affirmative Consent Lubed Fist says:

      I mean, you called me a “dipshit” in your review. Publicly. On your blog. Here’s a piece of advice for you, my dude. Don’t ever fucking do that. Not to me, not to other authors, not to anyone!

      Looks like somebody isn’t a champion of free speech after all. You’re not exactly covering yourself in glory, hoss.

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you trying to say that it’s actually about ethics in game journalism?

  17. I find the accusations of imaginary crimes against Venger vaguely bemusing but I will say that I had expected the “Final Boss behind the Final Boss of Internet Shitlords” to conduct himself with different standards when it comes to profanity.

    I will be checking out Dead God Excavation and reviewing it to see if there is any substance to his accusations.

  18. Fiasco says:

    I’d have thought Satanists and Shitlords would have thicker skins.

    • some dudes have never taken even gentle real criticism without having to change their underwear says:

      Hey, Venger has a VERY thick skin! It’s at least twice as thick as Zak’s.

  19. an actual quote regarding this page says:

    “As per usual, I give as good as I get (better in some cases). So, you can read my pithy little riposte in the comments below his review.” – Venger Satanis, 2018

    Can someone repost the pithy ripostes for me I can’t seem to find them.

  20. YouDontMessWithTheJeff says:

    That does it. My next bard PC is going to be named Pithy Ripostes

  21. Got through it pretty quickly. I can see where Bryce is coming from with it being far more of an adventure seed to kickstart one’s campaign then a fully fleshed out adventure (it doesn’t even have a map) and the NPC section could have been stronger (it’s more window dressing here) but there are like 5 NPCs with silly names, I cannot for the life of me figure out where the 50% of dying instantly from a d6 table comes from (I haven’t played crimson dragon slayer but the effects specifically allow both a saving throw or aid from a nearby party member that have a 1 in 4 chance of occurrence discounting saving throws doesn’t add up to 50% in any case).

    Bryce’s criticisms of the description seems off in other places. The God is the central feature of the tomb, why would you describe the two or three other features first?

    Its no work of genius, Venger’s response and subsequent posturing is inconsistent with his newfound shitlord membership and he should practice stoicism (Sto’ic’ism?), the verdict that this is more of a seed then an adventure is true but I think the position that Bryce is unusually critical is defensible (which is not to say it is well articulated).

    Like, no coverage of the tips for subsequent events and encounters, no mention of its potential as a session zero adventure, no mention of the atmospheric effects, hooks, monsters whatever.

    I’ll formulate my thoughts in an actual review later on.

    • Bryce Lynch says:

      I rewind your buttocks Sir!

      As a session zero or introductory adventure, having a Save or Die mechanic occur ever 15 minutes for each party member is not good. This is irrespective of my “die immediately” wording which I believe I am using to refer to the Save or Die mechanic. Further, adding to this the 15 minute “take 1d6 damage” acid drop effect only magnifies it. Sure. Dead gods tomb. But that’s not an excuse to just kill S0/S1.

      In the dead god description you are also wrong. The room description is nine-ish paragraphs across two pages. The first four describe the god, the impact of touching him, and NPC events. There then follows three separate paragraphs, each of which is devoted to a different thing in the room. This is wrong. Ideally, the initial description (we’ll say paragraph in this case) should focus on the ENTIRE room; the first glance. Subsequent paragraphs/sections can then focus on the “follow up” elements. Using the style he did forces the DM to read the entire page+ in order to offer that first description. Oh, yeah, wasn’t something supposed to happen in this room … what was that? Let me hut the wumpus again …

      Are there other points to rebut?

      • Edgewise says:

        Frankly, I suspect that Prince is grading on a (political) curve. Not having read this adventure myself, I can’t say for sure, but I can say that you (Bryce) are one of the few folks here who haven’t brought up matters unrelated to the product itself. That’s telling to me.

    • PrinceofNothing says:

      Let us begin.

      I disagree with the use of the term save or die mechanic. You mislabel both the probability and the effects themselves. Only two of the effects on the table can charitably be called save or die, but even these have only 1 in 4 chance of affecting any single party member and can be averted without ANY saving throw with the aid of a nearby party member. The effects are only a credible threat to a single unattended wanderer and serve mostly as flavor or atmosphere.

      The 1d6 acid drop mechanic is a fair environmental hazard and can be combated with credible mundane means and intelligence. You are contradicting your earlier statements in the review above by bringing it up.

      The tomb’s size is undefined since it has no map so it is basically up to the GM to figure out how long it takes for the characters to reach the center. The only mechanism the random effects interact with is the random searching for treasure mechanism on a 1 to 1 turn basis, effectively functioning as a sort of risk/reward mechanic.

      As for hindering exploration, as written there is nothing to explore. There is no description of the dungeon beyond its central environs. It is a narrative dungeon only.

      Would you care to shift your position to ‘random environmental effects are bad’ and continue or is there further contention?

      [Deadgod]

      Conceded. The way you explain it it would have made far more sense to do the description first, then stuff the GM might use. Labelling each element under a separate paragraph on the second page was an intelligible way of handling it. I acknowledge my error.

      You may rebut my initial conclusion:
      The room is not described in the clearest of terms, but it is but a room, a single page in a 10 page adventure. It is fair to gripe about the editing but a minority of the actual content of the adventure is tackled in the above review. None of the items, magic (throwaway sentence), descriptions, tomb effects, monsters, possible follow up adventures and potential as a campaign kickstarter are even addressed. Is it therefore unfair to conclude at first glance that your judgement here seems somewhat harsh?

      @edge

      Feel free to mention any adventures that you feel I have been biased towards based on political opinion, or any dishonest arguments or examples I have given. I have plenty of reviews so it should not be too difficult to find a biased one. I recommend you start with Blood in the Chocolate and when you conclude that my scorn is deserved I suggest you move on to Stuart or Zak. I’m not pretending to be some objective observer but I’ve reviewed over a hundred elfgames, I take issue with the fact I’d let my political opinion systematically color my judgement of what makes for a good game of make pretend. If I was inclined towards favoritism in this regard I would not have burned Eric Diaz’s freely given submission to the ground, nor would I have consented to do a little review project for Daniel Fox.

      • Edgewise says:

        Prince, I love your reviews, and like I said, I admit that I could be wrong. I’m basing my suspicion on the fact that you’ve commented sympathetically about Venger here and on your blog about things that have nothing to do with the adventure – two (1) positive Venger reviews right after his peculiar declarations seems like an odd coincidence. Did his stance motivate you to write these reviews, even if it didn’t bias your opinion?

        But again, let me stress that you write high quality reviews, and I enjoy reading them. I’ll also add that you’ve been pretty even-handed even when you review the products of people you have made extensive fun of.
        In this particular case, I withdraw my accusation, because you have a solid track record and I haven’t read this adventure.

        (1) I say two reviews since you announced above that you’re planning to review this one.

        • His upcoming Dead God Excavation review would actually make three (3). He reviewed both Liberation of the Demon Slayer and The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence a little while ago. Post-za’akier… however, he mentions the unfortunate timing in at least one, if not both, those reviews.

        • I particularly liked our long-term evil plan of writing the review in June and then you only commenting it on the 25th of November, just so we could get away with it.

          Also, Venger, stop shouting at everyone. It’s making you look foolish. I don’t think Bryce did a deliberate hack job or is jealous, he just didn’t like your shit and his review could have been stronger. Walk it off. It happens. Strive to improve. Do better next time.

      • PrinceofNothing says:

        @edge

        Appreciated.

        I initially came to this place to have a good laugh at the savagery in the comments section. I followed this up with a remark, to offset the accusations of transphobia, which I found bemusing and which I think do not accurately describe Venger’s position, while also pointing out that I did not approve of his response.

        If you want to check the timing on the Venger reviews, be my guest, I pointed out that I was in the process of reading Purple Isles when the shitstorm hit on my blog. You can check the timing on the posts if you want. I posted about the event on the 16th and did my review on the 21st. If you think I can bust through 120 pages of material and type out a review with that level of depth and quality in that timeframe I will take that as a compliment, but I average about a review per week for short supplements. You can see I reviewed Slügs on the 8th, posted about Venger on the 16th, then did the review on the 21st. Even if assume I already read all of his posts and am alerted to his every post, I still could not have read his shit sooner then the 15th.

        I didn’t say I would give DGE a positive review. I said it didn’t seem that terrible and that I found Bryce’s review to omit key elements that could lead one to conclude it was biased or rushed while carefully witholding judgement. Now I already emailed Bryce and I understand his position better so the discussion is one of technicality and the validity of initial premises, not one of genuine animosity.

  22. LS says:

    Oh gods they’re still here and they’re so very angry. Anybody got popcorn?

    • Gus L. says:

      Soon this thread will be longer then Dead God Evacuation. The question is will it be a more usable adventure?

      • syllable says:

        Is Dead God Evacuation like what happens after eating too many communion wafers?

        While hilarious banter has occurred here, I’m happy that the various parties involved here seem to be communicating behind the scenes.

      • YouDontMessWithTheJeff says:

        Now there’s an idea, Gus. An adventure based on the comments section of DGE.

      • @Gus: Indeed, with any luck at all.

        @Handy: Haha! 😉

        @Everyone: In conclusion, I’ve said my peace and consider the matter closed. Dead God Excavation is a strange scenario and I shouldn’t expect everyone to “get it” or even enjoy the damned thing.

        All I expected was a modicum of civility in the reviewer and a fair shake. I felt like I got neither, hence my outrage. But now I feel like we’re all wasting precious time at this point. I’ve got my next polarizing catastrophe-art to create and all of you… probably have other stuff to do.

        So long and thanks for all the sa’azcholat’zuhg!

Leave a Reply