Saturday, July 27, 2013

This 'Qelong' Book Is Out There Operating Without Any Decent Restraint, Totally Beyond The Pale Of Any Acceptable Human Conduct

Fucking tiger, man! Look at this fucking shit we're in, man!

This stupa seems burned from the outside, but intact from the inside. It contains nothing but a scroll, which constantly reads itself in echoing and sonorous tones, unrolling slowly across the lectern with no hand turning it.
        It takes four hours for the scroll to read entirely through itself. The language is unfamiliar and ancient  (-3 to Language checks); it deals with the nature of Time, a god who slowly smothers the other gods to death and drowns their bodies.
        The smell of frankincense and the sound of bells are thick within. Characters inside the stupa who step outside emerge at a different time from the time that they entered (centuries, weeks, hours, back or forward, it is up the Referee); characters outside notice only a few minutes passing.
        If characters leave at exactly the place in the scroll’s reading that they entered, they return exactly to the point when they left from; outside it seems that they only ducked into the stupa for a fraction of a second. Picking up the scroll stops the reading and possibly unleashes a Symbol on all within.


And check out the map:
This is only part of it because, like, I don't want to be giving away all the best parts of the book for free
Right? RIGHT?

After how many years of computer-generated maps we finally get one done right.

So yeah, Qelong is fucking good and stuff.

Alright, lemme put on the helpful, insightful hat:

So Qelong is written by Kenneth "I did more research while I ate breakfast this morning than you did the whole time you were in college" Hite and the rest of the team is mostly kids--rock & rollers with one foot in their grave--the art's by Rich "remember that crinkly crawly sweet art in Carcosa? I did that" Longmore, laid out and cartographied by DIY D&D Designslave #1 Jez Gordon and published by James "I own a machine that turns internet hate into production values" Raggi's LOTFP. It is compatible with all TSR-era-D&D-style games.

It is about like a kind of Apocalypse Now-y Southeast Asian setting with mist and rivers and magic-poisoning and locals at war who want to kill you and take your stuff.

Formatwise, it follows the template of the old '80s TSR setting books and many setting books since:
  • Background info with some plot (in this case The Thing That's Up The River)
  • List of distinctive features--some exactly what you'd expect given the cultures its modeled on, some intriguingly weird
  • Rumor table for the area
  • Name generator
  • Under-illustrated list of new monsters--some exactly what you'd expect given the culture its modeled on, some intriguingly weird
  • Random encounter tables disaggreggated by terrain type
  • Nine (unmapped) specific sandbox locations, with details on who's important where
  • A couple maps
  • All conscientiously statted out and written in expansive paragraph form
  • Hideously drab, lurid, rigid cover by an artist capable of much better, though in this case it's Jason Rainville instead of Keith Parkinson
7 bucks, 52 pages, about one usable idea or tool per page, so that's 13 cents per idea. Plus the art is cool.

Personally, I'm packing all this stuff up and sending it to Drownesia by way of Yoon Suin.

Other things you could do...

-Print out the map and start putting settlements using the tag system from Red Tide on it

-Replace the locals with Warhammer goblins who are totally happy that everything around them is poisoned with chaos magic

-Run a domain-level game of mass combat and conquest here over a terrain of ghost-haunted swamp and toxic mist. Because land wars in Southeast Asia always work out well.

-Next time the PCs crash a space ship in your sci fi game, send them here: they're at the mouth of the river, they hit a time filament, and the mcguffin in the Heart of Darkness ruining the water and air is their own warp core, which they're probably wanna get back.

-Fucking just put Colonel Kurtz up there. Make him a naga with 9 Kenneth Hite heads buried up to their necks in mud. Have a ceremony where they're chopping open a big tusked hog.



gerard said...

As a player, I would fucking love to encounter that scroll scenario. As a GM, I wish I had written it.

Zak Sabbath said...

I actually would've written it as a prayer wheel myself. I remember saying something to Ken about it--can't remember what he said back

Brian Sailor said...

Sounds cool. I can't believe you haven't reviewed Fuck For Satan yet. I would think the title alone would be like a magnet to draw you in.

I don't want to give anything away but it made me laugh a lot. Part from joy and part in my overacting villain voice.

Zak Sabbath said...

haven't got a copy

pookie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
pookie said...

Qelong was a great book to work on and I consider myself lucky to have been given the opportunity.

Anonymous said...

Would this be useful to someone who doesn't like LotFP? I don't have many gaming supplements in faux-Asia and Ken Hite is always awesome.

Zak Sabbath said...