Sunday, November 19, 2023

LOTFP Review: Winnie the Shit

Get yourself a blender, pour in a parody of Winnie the Pooh, a heap of The Island of Dr Moreau, a pinch of seasoning from Animal Farm, and some references to the Kelvin-Verse, and you've got the adventure locale for Winnie the Shit, Kelvin Green's latest offering for the LOTFP line.  This one is a 48 page hardcover with Kelvin doing the writing, cover, and interior art.  This is a solid addition to the Kelvin-verse; I don't rate it up there with the big three - Strict Time Records, Forgive Us, or Green Messiah - but it definitely has play and should go in your "Kelvin-verse" sandbox.  You can get the hardcopy at the LOTFP webstore (here) or DriveThruRPG (here)

The book describes a mini sandbox area in a place called Lancaster Great Park (modern day Ashdown Forest) in early 17th-century England.  A misanthropic sorcerer, AA Moreau, had fled to the forest to work on his master spell, The Ascendant Synthesis of the New Man, which creates sorcerous human-animal hybrids.  He had hopes of replacing humanity with a newer, better race.  At the start of the adventure, Moreau's creations, the New Men, have imprisoned him and depopulated the nearby village of Hartfield of its people who were used as raw materials for more New Men.  Their sadistic leader, Edward Bear, tortures AA Moreau and forces him to cast the spell each day to create another hybrid (assuming the New Men have a ready human victim and animal to synthesize).  There are several loose plot hooks that can get players investigating the area, but the moment the characters run into a few violent hybrids, the game is afoot, as they say.  There's something extremely satisfying as a referee to imagine wailing on the player characters with a hatchet-wielding Piglet or a savage Winnie the Pooh.  The sandbox gameable content includes lairs of the various main characters (all allusions to the main characters from the 100 Acre Wood, after being re-envisioned as misanthropic human-animal hybrids), and some places to explore like AA Moreau's house, Rabbit's underground warren, or the creepy Woozle's spinney.

There is something solid and accessible about the adventures set in the Kelvin-verse.  When you open a non-Kelvin LOTFP book, there's a risk of being confronted with a tortuous premise such as... "This adventure takes place in July of 1647 in a Swiss chateau overlooking the Bodensee on the exact day before that year's solar eclipse..." and you're wondering, "neat idea but how am I ever going to fit this thing into an actual campaign?"  Many of the Kelvin-verse adventures are set in England and feature an uncanny locale where something nefarious is happening - that looseness makes them extremely referee-friendly to place and establish.  The premises allude to pop culture in a fun way; there will be puns and humor (checking off the box "entertaining for the referee to read"); you'll still get a dose of horror and weirdness before you're through.  Over time they've started to reference their own Kelvin-verse mythology that connects to other locales in the Kelvin-verse... John Dee's 'Men in Black' from Green Messiah make an appearance in the 100 Acre Wood, for instance.  I suppose the highest praise I'd offer is that I'm actively working several books from the Kelvin-verse into my 1630's York game - we'll feature Bee-Ware, Magic Eater, Strict Time Records, Green Messiah, Fish F*ckers, and this fella, Winnie the Shit, just off the top of my head, along with some of the LOTFP classics.

With this review done, I've finally finished looking at the summer's batch of LOTFP books.  I still think The Yellow Book of Brechewold is my pick for favorite new book from the past summer.  Both the ACKS Greyhawk game and LOTFP York 1630 are going strong, so I don't know that we'll get to visit Brechewold any time soon (unless I make time travel a thing for the York crowd...) but Brechewold is high on the list to get the campaign treatment in the future.  Apologies for the glacial pace of my blog of late; the end of year has been quite busy in the real world (the pay the bills world) but have some time off with the USA's upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.  I'll be getting back to older LOTFP reviews next, starting either with something called The Obsidian Anti-Pharos or The Curious Conundrum of the Conflagrated Condottiero.  Should be fun.  Oh, and I'll get some game reports posted - the players are chugging along in Greyhawk and York. See you soon.

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