[Review] Sleeping Place of the Feathered Swine (Lotfp 3pp); D1 meets garbage pail kids.

[Adventure]
Sleeping Place of the Feathered Swine (2014)
Logan Knight (www.lastgraspgrimoire.com)
Levels 1 – 2 (est.)

Sleeping Place of the Feathered Swine is perhaps the grossest little adventure I have ever seen. Its every page is filled with wet, cloying, reeking corruption that oozes, trickles, vomits forth or wafts.

No great pilgrimage into cyclopean halls of ancient, terrifying civilizations long gone. Instead a grotesque little odyssey into a claustrophobic maze of slime, offal and rot. Almost every room description involves sensations beyond sight and hearing, making the adventure feel intimate and visceral. Like so:

Smells like stomach acid and salt, it’s freezing, your hands are shaking, the soft,
slipping sound of releasing bile reverberates around the walls and into your skull.

There are no inns or old men offering great rewards for mighty deeds of arms. Instead you encounter a wizard with no spellbook, the only survivor of an expedition sent by the Alchemist Unraga Praag, to gather the cysts from the Feathered Swine. It is best to sedate the creature first, for removing its cysts might cause it to wake, and it is fearsome and monstrous, though slumbering. The syringe was lost inside with the others. 100 sp per cyst.

No Orcs or Griphons or champions of the lost and the damned. Instead grotesque things that were once men, infested and transfigured into cancerous worm-like antropophages. Some of them were once part of the expedition. Some of the expedition members are not dead yet but will soon wish they were.

There is no Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter. Instead the cave starts out innocuous and like a good atmospheric horror adventure it foreshadows before revealing all too much. The cave is nonlinear so it is certainly possible to fall in the middle of the titular sleeping place of the feathered Swine or some other farther location if you are not careful. The cave is filled with narrow passages, crevasses and branching side passages.

If you get infected by the Worm Things you could lose a limb, maybe more if you are cowardly. Amputation is your best option. This is no valorous quest against evil. This is a grotesque descent into the weird and the disgusting.

Forget the promise of Gold and mighty blades, radiant as the dawn. The treasure in SPOTFS is truly of the weird. A grotesque armor that bonds with the wearer and sustains and nurtures him, reminiscent of the armor of the Berserk from the manga of the same name. You cannot take it off. A bizarre sea pearl that grows in lustre, size and value the longer it is kept out of water but that holds tiny crabs that grow to monstrous size in proportion to the size of the pearl. Wizard spells cause grotesque phobia’s of one’s own body or twist and distort the physical or mental form in hideous ways. One draws a nightmare from the body of the target and clothes it in his ruined flesh.

If you reach the Feathered Swine it is risky to take the Cysts even if you sedate it since a failed dex or Int test will expose you to the fluid within, possibly infesting you with the same stuff that made the Worm Tumours.

The language of SPOTFW is almost perfect for what it is trying to achieve, the exact opposite of Ghoul Keep and the Ghoul Lands. Short evocative description communicates only the bare necessities and paints a picture in your mind.

Sleeping Place is pretty simple but there is almost no fat. It’s all meat. In 11 rooms you get yourself some natural hazards, nonlinear exploration, treasure, terrified and mutilated survivors, grotesque scenes of bodily corruption and horror, mercykilling and a grotesque climax that incentivizes pushing your luck. By the end of the adventure I would be surprised if everyone retains their limbs.

We get a nice variant rule for light sources that renders their duration somewhat variable and some type of bomb that is extremely risky to use but is also likely to be extremely effective.

It’s not merely descriptions. The illustrations perfectly convey the canker-ridden deformity of the inhabitants of the Sleeping Place of the Feathered Swine.

I don’t know if you could throw this into the default Historical Europe setting for Lotfp because of its extreme weirdness and assumptions but there is really no reason you couldn’t and its more of an assumed setting anyway.

I can rant on about minor trivialities but in honor of the author I shall compose this review in short, evocative sentences.

Pros: What glorious grotesque imagery. What wonderful Weirdness. What short descriptions for a place so hideously attractive.

Cons: Not for the faint of heart a place so repellent. Not for the whimsical a place of such starkness. Not for the glory seeker these sordid bowels of corruption.

Sleeping Place is, like many a 3rd party Lotfp adventure, even stranger then its titled cousins. It’s good but damn funky. Its terrifying but sort of simple. A niche of a niche. However, if you are that niche, you are going to have a ball. Like sex with the ex, its disgusting, short and potentially infectious but hypnotically compelling all the way. 7.5 out of 10.

This thing is PWYW so check it out and give the guy some sheckles if you run it and like it:  http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/133404/Sleeping-Place-of-the-Feathered-Swine

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5 thoughts on “[Review] Sleeping Place of the Feathered Swine (Lotfp 3pp); D1 meets garbage pail kids.

  1. >Smells like stomach acid and salt, it’s freezing, your hands are shaking, the soft,
    slipping sound of releasing bile reverberates around the walls and into your skull.
    After reading a lot of more mainstream adventures lately, this is the kind of writing that makes me want to run a fucking adventure. Short, to the point, I could pretty much read it to the players and it would actually set a mood.

    I worry though that with “Here’s a grotesque murderhole that eats characters. btw, you only get a couple hundred sp.” it begs the question of why even go into the murderhole.

    Like

    1. [writing]

      Right? I like the meticulous and deliberate use of other senses then sight or sound to convey the feel of an adventure.

      [worry]

      Eh…I wouldn’t be THAT worried. 10 + d20 cysts worth 100 sp and TWO magic items would get my first levels jumping up and ready to go in no time. For a short adventure its pretty well stocked. I am not too bummed out by adventures that have little treasure since especially in a sandbox campaign you are going to have adventures that end in suboptimal reward. In Lotfp that’s about 50% of the adventures you run.
      In Carcosa I had multiple instances where the characters would get the treasure only to fuck it up later (I think once in the first temple they defeated its calcified lord only to awaken via ancient gong the serpent men statues that guarded it while in the other they survived being hunted by a centuries old warrior-king only to sit in the strange mind-transference device that birthed him. Fuck running Carcosa had some sweet times. I should reread my notes because I remember a tonne of shit I never got to transcribe. Good times.

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      1. Ah, I missed that it was 10+1d20 cysts. I was thinking something like 200sp a piece for the party. Which given the absurd love of negadungeons LotFP has sometimes, I didn’t question it.

        I don’t mind suboptimal rewards except when they’re paired with insanely dangerous murderholes. A full “fuck you” challenge dungeon should have a bit more reward than the average goblin cave imo.

        The thing about that writing that I love is that it has a certain rhythm to it. It’s sharp and quick without being a bullet list of details.

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      2. [negadungeon love]

        I am not even sure I agree about Lotfp negadungeon love. It’s more like a meme or a stereotype then actual truth. I’ve read almost all Lotfp modules and there are only a few I can think of that actually had ‘fuck you’ levels of treasure; Monolith from Beyond Space and Time and the two modules in Green Devil Face certainly qualify, and you could include Carcosa and Isle of the Unknown if you were so inclined, but most of the modules actually have appropriate amounts of treasure for their level.

        [Fuck you treasure]

        I’d say it depends. In general I want appropriate rewards for appropriate rewards but I think a Good GM should never be restrained by dogma in designing adventures. Novelty and variation is very important. In rare cases, particularly in sandboxes, suboptimal murder holes should be encountered occasionally, if only to keep the players on their feet. In general I agree that sufficient treasure is sort of part of the unwritten social contract between GM and players.

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