DriveThruRPG.com
Close
Close
Browse









Back
The Stygian Garden of Abelia Prem $5.00
Average Rating:4.0 / 5
Ratings Reviews Total
1 1
0 1
0 0
0 1
0 0
The Stygian Garden of Abelia Prem
Click to view
The Stygian Garden of Abelia Prem
Publisher: Red Moon Medicine Show
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/27/2015 20:08:28

The anachronism... it burns. This location reads/is mapped like a mansion out of Jane Austen, not something for the LotFP timeframe, let alone something that'd work with any sort of typical OSR renaissance/medieval/ancient fantasy.

On a more minor note, the spatial relation of the eight levels and dozenish outdoor features is left to be inferred from the details of the keys, which end up unclear. It could have used a half page or so describing the overall arrangement of the spaces, which would be a reasonable replacement for the wasted "blank page to track monster hit points". The second-lowest level has a layout that reads like a d&d convention, rather than having any clear relation to the narrative reason for the existence of that level. There's also a completely unexplained mystery in the second-to-last location (#50); there's no motivation, no viable cause within the bounds of the module for why that event happened 10 years ago or presents itself to modern explorers in the way it does. This reeks of authorial laziness.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
The Stygian Garden of Abelia Prem
Publisher: Red Moon Medicine Show
by Sophia B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/06/2015 04:20:27
http://dieheart.net/stygian-garden/

Clint Krause from Red Moon Medicine Show has impressed me in the past with his weird OSR fanzine Vacant Ritual Assembly (reviews here: http://dieheart.net/?s=vacant+ritual+assembly). The issues are creepy and strange and full of inspirational material for a small price. It’s one of my favorite zines and definitely worth a look if you like spooky old-school stuff.

Now he has written an adventure: The Stygian Garden of Abelia Prem is a module for Lamentations of the Flame Princess (LotFP) and similar retro-clones. A haunted house and its surroundings serve as a location for a creepy venture for low-level characters. Apparently this was a Kickstarter which was funded successfully in early 2015.

Please note: I received a review copy of the softcover print and a PDF from the author. This is a reading review, I haven’t played the module. And it contains SPOILERS!

First, let me say that I am not familiar with LotFP. I neither have read the game nor any adventures that were written for it. Thus, I can’t compare it to other works which are geared towards the European 17th-century horror feel of the game.

Having said that, with The Stygian Garden of Abelia Prem Mr. Krause manages to convey a tone of strangeness and baroque bizarreness which should be in tune with LotFP. This is where this product shines and which makes it different from standard EDO-fantasy. The color of this module is mostly evident in the descriptions of the monsters. Many of them sound like they sprung from a faerie nightmare: the gigantic Grandfather Toad, Archer Cherubs made from stone, a plant called Stranglecreeper, the Marble Knight, acid-spitting Gargoyles and more. Still, there is some humor to be found in the forgotten manor: shitting goats, buzzard dandies or cheeky statues.

The product starts off with an introduction of Abelia Prem, a noblewoman who was obsessed with finding the mystical Stygian Rose but who suffered from dementia in her last years. There is a rumor table to get the players started.

The adventure consists of three main locales: the Manor itself, the Grounds and the Stygian Garden.

The book is organized according to these locations. There are several maps with map keys and corresponding entries. The maps look modern and are easy to read. They are of a more digitized aesthetic and not so much of the old-school variant (i.e. the maps of msjx). There is also a very nice illustration by Todd Gamble of the Manor Grounds which gives you a good overview about the locale. To my delight, there is also a player version so you can show that to your table without spoiling anything. At the end of the book, there is a separate bestiary which repeats the monster stats and also a page for tracking monster HP. That’s very nifty. As a nice gimmick, the product closes with an In Memoriam where you can write down PCs that died. I also like the appendix with Abelia Prem’s plants. The map entries are well written and I like that the author used bold text for important bits (monsters, items, points of interest). It doesn’t save you from reading the module carefully, but it doesn’t look like you’ll accidently slip too much GM information in most cases.

Where The Stygian Garden of Abelia Prem falls short for me is its logical progression which is probably due to the premise of being location-based. In most cases, PCs will start roaming the Manor as an entry point and then continue through the Grounds to the Garden. You can leave out locations but for closure you’ll presumably progress/crawl till the riverbank (A -> B -> C). Personally, I’m more a fan of modularity but a location-based module has physical restraints.

My next criticism ironically goes into the opposite direction: There are some “shortcuts” which will bring the PCs faster to their goal but which will make them miss out some of the most interesting sites of the adventure (at least if they don’t double back and explore everything).

On the other hand, what I really like about the ending of the module is that there are different possibilities about the river and the rose, it doesn’t need to be the river Styx and there doesn’t need to be a Stygian Rose. Mr. Krause included a simple table to roll on or you can decide.

Visually, the product is finely put together. It’s a neat softcover with 24 pages in half-letter size (pocket sized, feels most similar to A5). The cover looks neat although I’m not sure who the lady is supposed to be. Perhaps Abelia Prem in younger years? The interior artwork (black & white) is also impressive.

tl;dr

Altogether, The Stygian Garden of Abelia Prem is a compelling module with a very good setting and tone. I’m not sure if I can judge this objectively because I already have a high opinion of Clint Krause from reading his previous works. I have some minor quibbles but nothing severe. Depending on how much the PCs want to explore and how many random encounters you want to throw in, this should give you and your players several hours to sessions of fun. For what it’s worth, I totally recommend this product even if you’re not into LotFP (like I am). While it’s a bit eerie, it doesn’t try to shock or disgust you but lures you in with its strangeness.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Stygian Garden of Abelia Prem
Publisher: Red Moon Medicine Show
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/01/2015 09:14:11

I received a copy of The Stygian Garden of Abelia Prem from the folks at Red Moon Medicine Show, if you've never heard of this adventure nor Full Moon Medicine Show then you don't know what your missing. Klint Crouse is a damn fine writer whose OSR drug of choice is the Lamentations Of The Flame Princess rpg system. Klint's module is engaging, challenging, and damn fine in what it does. The book is wonderful, its well put together, the artwork echoes the weird adventure locations that are presented in the book. Red Moon Medicine show ran a very successful Kickstarter for this adventure a few months ago and once again I'm late to the party on this one. We always hear about the negative Kickstarters well, let me tell you that this is exactly what the Kickstarter program is for. Producing weird and wonderful unique adventure modules for the OSR. There are three things that this module does well :

It presents an adventure location with its own rules and consistency as well as reasons for existence. This module echoes many of the current Lamentations design philosophies and yet wraps back around to the early LoFP modules as well. You can easily drop this place into a country or small town campaign or urban setting. This module drips with atmosphere as good as the nicer Ravenloft or old school modules. Jesus the maps are gorgeous. I'm both jealous and amazed at Red Moon Medicine show's creativity. Because the way that this module can be plugged into a campaign and played with is amazing.Take one twisted fairy tale and then let the folks at Red Moon Medicine Show get a hold of it and you end up with something like The Stygian Garden of Abelia Prem. So yeah, blah, blah, it's excellent but is it actually playable? Well as a matter of fact its not only playable but it's a non rail roadie adventure location that can be dropped right into the back half of your old school campaigns. See the garden and all of its environs are just waiting for adventurers to stumble upon it. There are is a table of rumors in the back of the book that would allow adventurers to get themselves neck deep into the action of The Stygian Garden of Abelia Prem. The module has all of the components that I've come to love about LoFP adventures. The utility of them, and The Stygian Garden of Abelia Prem is no different in that regard. You see with a bit of work this adventure could be back ported into a wide variety of OSR systems. One nice thing about The Stygian Garden of Abelia Prem its a self enclosed and encompassing within its own parameters. The locations are perfect for any level of party because this adventure is about investigation,adventuring, and the weird. The weird is present throughout the Garden and it doesn't care about your adventurers or their foolishness. Its got its own thing that its doing within the garden and its going to drag you into its clutches kicking and screaming.

We know that the Gardens easily work within the confines of a Lamentations of the Flame Princess campaign but where else could this adventure work? You place The Stygian Garden of Abelia Prem within a retroclone game like Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea but would it work there? Yes, the adventure location & grounds could be placed in behind a waterfall in on the other side of the river Yys. The adventurers stumble upon it and mayhem ensues. This adventure should stand on its own, as an adventure location it deserves this and its mechanisms should continue to work on a number of levels the contents should give you a clue what's in store for adventurers. Yeah, I don't want to go into too much detail on some of the adventure elements in the Gardens but its sufficient to say that the Red Moon Medicine crew hit the high points in this adventure. This one has plenty of potential in spades of actually back fitting it into any OD&D game that flirts with the weird but I can tell you that hack and slash players are going to ruin it for the rest of the party. This is a bit of a thinking man's adventure not boring but there are several twists and turns that are going to do the players for a wee bit of thinking. This also means that the weird elements could be adapted to other retro or near clone systems. Yes that's right kids many of the elements in The Stygian Garden of Abelia Prem could be used in a Dungeon Crawl Classics game campaign with the focus on the type of weird tale that Red Moon Medicine show is famous for emulating. In the end do I think you should grab this module? Umm yes in spades because I'm very proud to have it on my shelf and on my table. The adventure's author summed up best some of ideas and design philosophies of The Stygian Garden of Abelia Prem. Abelia Prem was one very twisted lady. Happy exploring adventurers. My best advice is to pick this one up now! five out of five for writing, production values, and overall twisted OSR value. Want to know more? We've got more information here http://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/2015/09/unboxing-commentary-on-stygian-garden.html Eric Fabiaschi Sword & Stitchery Blog



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Displaying 1 to 3 (of 3 reviews) Result Pages:  1 
Back
You must be logged in to rate this
0 items
 Gift Certificates