The Mall

By Goblin Archives
Goblin Archives
Liminal Horror

What is The Mall? The Mall is a wet, gooey, practical effects filled TTRPG adventure set in a 199x mall pulled out of time and space. The mall’s denizens are trapped inside with a creature not bound by any one form. It slithers among them now, preparing to assimilate and imitate its victims until no one is left and it can open a rift between its home dimension…AND EARTH!

This 36 page adventure details a mall caught surrounded by a blod with some strange trans-dimensional shit going down. Full of the required old cults, new cults, paranoia, and mall fun that you could hope for in a mall, with a format that supports the play well. A good looking horror adventure!

One of the old Gamma Worlds, 2e or 3e, had a map of Pittsburgh and a brief description, a few sentences, or some major locations in it. One was the mall. I would draw up maps and place encounters and a trip to the mall was always a staple of my early Gamma World games. Seeing this on DriveThru, along with the great cover, brought back some memories so I put it on my wishlist and I’m finally getting to it. It’s for Liminal Horror, which I assume is a horror rpg. I don’t know shit about the system, so, we’re gonna have to keep that in mind. But, also, i don’t think I need to, for the most parts. Some of my nits may be handled by the system, unbeknownst to me. And while I generally think that horror adventures cross genres pretty well, this one is gonna be stretch in a fantasy RPG, because of the large building and some of the objects in the mall. But, I suspect it translates to just about any other modern or SciFi system pretty well. Almost on the fly I’d say.

Okey doke, the mall is in decline. The town leaders have organized a raffle for a car in the middle of it, and old Olds, as a fundraiser to help bring the mall back. As the raffle starts, a monster erupts from the mall managers stomach, on stage, and starts its killing! People scramble and the begins! It seems the building is now surrounded by a giant blobs, outside of each door, making escape not something to do. Some factions develop and the party tries to survive and get the fuck out. It has some pretty strong elements of The Thing, and that latest version of The Fog? (I think it’s the fog? They are in a supermarket and the army shows up at the end after the suicides?)This adventure handles the Thing and Fog elements really well, making it a delight. 

For factions we’ve got eh main cult, led b y the mall manager (I guess he survives his monster stomach thing?)They are kidnapping people, turning them in to Things in the ventilation system, and have a giant fungi forest and Barrier Between The Worlds in the mines down below where the mall was built on top of. This is gonna be the main problem for the party, and, i think, closing that gate it main thing they want to find/figure out/do. That’s a little iffy in the adventure (the closing of te gate) and not really handled very well. Maybe in the Liminal rules, proper? Anyway, there are hints here and there of things that could be used. Some gas, some O2 and CO2 canisters here and there, that I assume are ments to be used to close the gate. It’s not really covered at all and that part could be quite a bit better. But, whatever, we’ll wing it man.

We’ve got got the town leaders, hold up in a storefront, who want to protect their property values, etc. And Then we’ve got the new cult, based around a fitness center. End of Days, and all of that. Kudos for the gym leader, who gets his cult off and running really quickly! 🙂 There’s also some mall rat kids hanging around, that don’t really get flesh out enough to be a good faction. And then there’s the randos, which, again, don’t really get flesh out, or enough of them. It could use some more random encounters that feature them, as allies or enemies and so on, lone wolves one way or another, to help bring that aspect to life.

The map is decent. A bit small but it will do. There’s good references for all of the stores and NPC’s and locations are cross-referenced well. The format features short little descriptions for each area, focusing on evocative writing and gameable content. THis is followe d by bullets for the major features and action, with great se of bolding and whitespace to make it all immediately usable vian scanning. Really, really strong focus here, in the writing and format. Nary a word wasted at all, and all of it really contributing to the adventure and the Thing and paranoia vibe. A model for how things should be done. It’s supported by good tables for Getting Too Close to the Other Side, and Thing body horror mutations, and a few other tables that are easy to reference and use at the appropriate times. Things like the Blob outside, surrounding the building, are not belabored … accepted as a given and telegraphed well with bodies or cars being eaten and slowly dissolved i nit. No need to stat it or go on and on about it. Really well done.What’s the zombie video game in a mall? Mall of the Dead or something? Really good job recreating the major elements of that … but without zombies and a sparser feel. Like I said, it could be supported better with more/better rando stuff going on, but still good.

I can’t say enough good things about this. Some of the best horror adventures I’ve seen were in Unspeakable Oath, and this one is at least that good, if not better. It recreates the paranoid well, with People Are the Problem focus, the body horror, and integrates the mall, and stock characters, really well/

This is $11 at DriveThru. The preview is the first five pages, which really just shows you some of the reference material. Including a page of the actual store locations would have gone a long way to being a better preview.

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/399171/The-Mall?1892600

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8 Responses to The Mall

  1. Anonymous says:

    This looks sweet. Thanks bryce would never have seen it without you

    With or without youuuuuu

  2. Anonymous says:

    FREE IRELAND STOP WAR

  3. Anonymous says:

    Interesting, might pick this up for a halloween one-shot in the future. I wonder what the core system is like.

    The “trapped in a grocery store” movie is The Mist (2007).

    The “zombies in a mall” game is probably Dead Rising (2006).

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m running it as a an October mini-module right now and it’s been a lot of fun so far. The core system is a hack of Cairn, which is itself a hack of Into the Odd, if that means anything to you.

      • Anonymous says:

        What a coincidence! I myself am running it with a homebrew of Heap, which is a hack of Knave, which is a hack of the Black Hack.

  4. Jonathan Becker says:

    2E Gamma World had the map of Pittsburgh.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Cool review. A few months ago I bought the Liminal Horror game and Mall module at my local and have enjoyed reading them both. FYI the whole rules system is free online in a wiki-type format here: https://goblinarchives.github.io/LiminalHorror/

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