Friday, September 4, 2015

A Most Thoroughly Pernicious Pamphlet

Mateo Diaz Torres has released his hopefully first compilation of material related to his old school D&D campaign, Pernicious Albion: A Thoroughly Pernicious Pamphlet. Don't let the title fool you. The setting may be pernicious, but the pamphlet is like a rejuvenating tonic.

The setting itself is one of the most interesting ones to come out of the blogosphere in the past few years. In brief, it's author describes it as: "Austenian body horror fairy tale role-playing." To much of a tease? Well, perhaps this more expansive quote will elucidate: "It’s all insane angel conspiracies, occult aristocracy, revenant Romans, tennis with vampires, evil couture, Ars Goetia, royal spawning pits, realpolitik, light homoeroticism, and lakes of human teeth." Having had the pleasure of playing in Mat's game, I can personally attest to the vampires and tennis--and a lot of sort of "comedy of manners" interactions with frightening entities of great power, punctuated with discrete episodes of killing things and/or taking their stuff.

So the pamphlet: It's an introduction--just a taste to leave you wanting more, but in 17 pages it manages to convey a lot of the flavor of the setting. It's got two new old schoolish classes: the vampire and the warlock (a nice streamlining and refining of the 5e warlock), and has setting-based modifications of the cleric and magic-user. Three supernatural entities are detailed (patrons for warlocks or whoever) with there own goals and granted abilities. Then, there's armor, coinage, and languages: the mundanities or worldbuilding rendered interesting and evocative here.

As that description suggests, it's really a nice player's manual for the setting, which I suspect means the more expansive "GM's book" is to follow.

A Thoroughly Pernicious Pamphlet is available in pdf and hardcopy. Check out the ordering details here.


Francis Lee said...

Sorry I'm still looking up "Pernicious".........

..........good word!

A Student of Byrgenwerth said...

I'm interested in this. How much of an overview of the setting is there? Or is it conveyed through the classes, tables, etc. instead?

And how's the art?

Trey said...

@Fran - Who says rpg blogs aren't educational?

@Jack - Not really any strictly setting stuff, except what is presented with the supernatural entities, classes, etc. I assume that's in the next book. The art will not be to everyone's taste, but it's serviceable. Essentially monster/characters. It's more in the vein of so old school products than mainstream ones.