La Danse Macabre

By Michael Gagnon
Self Published
For Coin & Blood
Levels 2-4

Dark things stir under our feet. Creatures born of vile necromancy or dark will. The undead rise from their grave in “La Danse Macabre” an unofficial adventure module for “For Coin & Blood” and other OSR products.

This eleven page adventure, with an interesting cover to lure me in, features a five room dungeon in a graveyard. There are a few interesting concepts involved, but, in the end, it’s just Yet Another Poorly Implemented Concept with The Usual Language & Formatting Issues, to disappear in to the ether.

So, the worlds got some intelligent undead in it, and, they are offered as a player class: The Wretched. Well, more intelligent undead than usual, this is an attempt to give skeletons from Danse Macabre type vibes. It is written as a confusing mess of if this then that, with long conversational style, stretching to a page and half for one of the rooms. Helping this along is a left justified paragraph formatting, ensuring that it will be difficult to understand where one paragraph ends and a new concept begins and contributing to a Wall of Text type feel. No bueno. Mixed in to this is an attempt at an evocative description or two; a muddy graveyard covered in half-buried bones is one of the highlights, described in as many words as I just used. So, conversational style, a lot of if/then and then statements, some attempts at evocative phrases that get lost in the larger formatting issues. Repeated information, such as unlit sconces … that it then tells us that the party can light. This mashup of a description of a place and the actions a party might take in that place … which usually ends up creating a mess in the text, as it does here.

It wants to create this very political environment. You learn about a powerful & rich widow who has hired some mers to clean out her family graveyard of undead so she can bury her dead husband in two days time. It wants you to talk to her, and spends some time describing how the party could sabotage the mercs before they head out to do the same job. In the graveyard crypt you get a little vignette of a skeleton dude in robes giving a sermon, who is interested, perhaps, in getting the parties help for his quest to turn all ife in unlife … allowing the party to ally with him and his minions against he mercs and/or the widow when she shows up in two days time. (Fun fat: if you do this, he gives you a skeleton dude as a retainer! Nice reward that.) SO it wants this tripod with the widow, the mercs, and the skeleton dude. None of which is explored much, but ALL of which is covered with a lot of “if you do this then they will do that” type of statements, along with direct statement to the DM in many places about things the party could do, like “they could blackmail the widow with this information” and so on. But it’s all mixed in, it’s all a mess as presented.

The actual dungeon is not much to speak of. A few undead skeletons. Some lackluster rooms to poke in, not very well described. There’s just not much to do. A few combats with skeletons. Maybe talk to the main skeleton guy, maybe. The IDEA is that this is a dynamic environment, with the tripod, but that doesn’t come across and isn’t well supported for that.

(There may be some English As A Second Language issues in this, but I don’t think they cause any major issues, or minor ones even, other than noticing some phrasing issues.)

This is 5.50 at DriveThru, with no preview.

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