Want to get your players hip deep in weird Lovecraftian hijinks without the huge prep time that seems to come with contemporary adventures that sap your sanity as a DM? Need a game adventure that is self contained and easy to run at the drop of a hat with ten minutes of prep time? Well Kort'thalis Publishing is here to help with the Outer Presence. An adventure and modern horror d6 PC system all in one self contained horror package ready to go straight out of the gate. I followed the Kickstarter action on the Outer Presence adventure and I'm very happy with the result.
I received my pdf copy of The Outer Presence a few days ago and its really essentially a boiled down pulp adventure done in a more contemporary style with Venger's flare for the gonzo with heap of Lost, Cannibal Holocaust, and a piping hot side of HP Lovecraft. But it doesn't venture into the territory of Crimson Dragon Slayer. Seriously though this is a very well done adventure which clocks in at about forty five pages of out and out weirdness. This adventure is new school & old school at the same time, this adventure uses the principal game mechanic of d6 dice pools. This seems to be the in house Kort'thalis Publishing system which is easily convertible into your favorite OSR or modern system. You get a full range of options straight out of the gate in this module but from a 1970's grind house horror movie perspective. Described as
This is both a self-contained, investigative horror RPG and "weird tales" scenario set in 1970's New Guinea. I get the sneaking suspicion that Venger watched tons and tons of VHS 1970's and 80's horror films and The Outer Presence is the result. But is it playable? Yes if your into the dangerous and sanity action fest that's laid at your feet as the DM of this easily convertible adventure. You could use this with any D6 or Call of Cthlhu style adventure. The trick here is that this adventure actually delivers what it promises straight up. Monsters, mayhem, and nastiness right out of the gate with everything laid out at the DM's feet. I actually like this adventure. And it delivers exactly what it promises. Everything from careers for the PC's to weirdness rules are laid out in spades. Even from the introduction to the Outer Presence everything is laid bare with as much minimalist outfiting as possible;
"This story is meant to take place in the 1970's, but can easily be modified by the Game Master. I was influenced by such great films as Cannibal Holocaust, Cannibal Ferox, and Jungle Holocaust, as well as, the 1960's Jonny Quest television show.There's precious little preventing the Game Master from swapping New Guinea out for the jungles of South America or similar locale. This scenario could take placeat any period of the 20th century. If the 70's don't resonate with you, feel free to change it. Some conversion will be necessary, but the majority should play just fine as it is."
There are elements of Robert Howard's Cthulhu Mythos and other far more contemporary echoes in The Outer Presence. With a heap of Jim Jones style madness that anyone who grew up in this time will recognize. For example is Doctor Karl Steiner, anthropologist, ego-maniac, and frequent contributor to the quarterly anthropology journal Culturally Speaking. With the help of Dr. Steiner and his team, the Meepie tribe has regressed to cannibalism and human sacrifice in order to appease something that lives in the nearby temple…the outer presence.
On the surface this seems rather simplistic and rather straight up horror gaming but this is a pot boiler of an adventure with lots happening under the hood. I don't want to really get into the back end or front end of the Outer Presence because I don't want to spoil the adventure but this is one to get. The maps here are solid, the ideas straight up well presented and represented, the artwork isn't bad at all and is evocative of the grind house vibe that the Outer Presence is going for. All in all this is a really solidly presented at adventure that is a must for any system neutral or old school contemporary or modern adventure game. Or simply use it on its own. Five out of five for one of my favorite straight up adventures. Because I love the weird 70's cannibal exploitation Lovecraft horror vibe that Venger is going for here!
Eric F Sword and Stitchery blog
[5 of 5 Stars!]