Uh … I don’t know if I can review this.
This is a site based adventure with no overarching objectives or hooks. It’s just a place for you to dump into your game. I’m not sure, but I don’t think it’s breaking any new ground in any particular area. What it IS doing though is being committed to a vision. This thing has a core concept and it is FOCUSED on it. Elements of this adventure have been found in other adventures in bits & pieces, but no other adventure has, I believe, put them all together in one shell.
You’re adventuring inside of a creature, the titular Lurid Sac. Remember Fantastic Voyage? The interior sets looked … alien? Weird fibers, colors, flows, creatures. Well that’s what’s going on here. Most of the “adventuring inside a create” things I’ve seen have been half-efforts. There are doors, or stairways built in, or something like that. None of that is in this one. No stairs or doors or comforts of home brought in by travellers. This is a truly alien environment … exactly the way an alien environment should be.
Imagine a hundred overlapping bubbles, on maybe three layers. That’s the map. Where they touch you can massage the membranes to get through. Some of the bubbles have special purposes: the cortex, the mouth, the neck, the “sponges” that allow access to the outside, and so on. The rest of the bubbles are procedurally generated, as are the contents. There are random monsters, events, contents, humours … you get the idea. Most of it is simply enough to handle in practice.
Hmmm, that’s a description and not a review. Ok, review. First, the environment is truly alien. You’re gonna be confronted with having to understanding it, from what’s written, and in relaying it to the players. It should be worth it though; I’m not sure I’ve seen something so alien and so … committed, even with all the bizarro stuff I’ve seen in the 1-page contests and the weirder Finch stuff. This is good. Strange pools of humors, veins of humors, bulging membranes, this should all provide a unique experience for your players.
The creatures, while procedurally generated, are well done. They are, of course, unique. This is a feature of all creatures in Psychedelic Fantasies modules. While procedurally generated, each one DOES have 6 or so activities they could be engaged in. This is PERFECT. It takes, literally, 2 extra lines of text and provides the EXACT sort of springboard the DM can combine with the procedurally generated room in order to run the adventure. PERFECT. I say again: PERFECT. This is a monster table done right. There are also factions, with faction based rewards. The Lurid Sav vs. The Invasives, with the parasites running around on their own. GREAT for launching mini-missions within the environment.
I could go on. I could go on a Lot. This is a fully realized place that, while procedurally generated, brings more … bizarro? than a hundred other products. I’m generally down on procedurally generated stuff, but I’ll take this one.
This IS going to take some work to prep for. A few rolls ahead of time, some monster reference sheets/photocopies/printouts and the like will reduce the page-turning during play. It’s also going to take a STRONG read to wrap your mind around it. That could point to the need for better organization, although how I’m uncertain. The crossover potential, from Rifts to any sci-fi or modern day game, is huge. How many adventures can truly say that?
Like I said earlier, the only new ground here is the commitment to the vision. Because of that there is no letting up; this is a relentless view of an alien environment. If you can handle that then this is a must buy. It’s what, $3? You won’t spend $3 on one of the most bizarro environments I’ve seen in nearly 500 reviews?
You know, when I go to cons I sometimes dig through the used/old book boxes in the dealer hall. I’m looking for some forgotten gem. Something different, something special. A forgotten work of genius. This is that thing I’m looking for. When someone picks this 30 years from now they are stare in disbelief as they page through the thing. This is thick and dense the way Thracia or Dark Tower is. It’s alien in a way I’ve never fully seen before. It’s got the uniqueness in creatures and treasure that Psychadelic is known for. The ONLY downside is the procedural nature, and even that has had the rough edges filed off and made easy for the DM.
This is available on DriveThru.