So it begins…

Gradually the reviews have started to trinkle in. Initial feedback was overwhelmingly positive, which fills my blackened heart with joy, and criticism was helpful and useful. But how does Palace stand up when scrutinized by those more sage, more versed in the ways of D&D then even myself?

EOTB, steely-eyed veteran of ages of gaming and many a forum war dissects my adventure with expert, high-level awareness and a critics eye, offering many helpful tips on running it. The rating of ‘Danger Zone’ is more then adequately substantiated.

“The Palace of Unquiet Repose (POUR) is a top-tier adventure, meeting or exceeding all the promises made on its kickstarter – including projected schedule, something that separates those who can from those who wish. I’m not sure what the retail price is giong to be, as of this writing the module isn’t for sale on DTRPG. I’ve paid $20+ for modules that I feel have less value than this module – I plan on shamelessly stealing some aspects of its presentation/formatting that work in ways I’ve struggled with too much/too little. If you like intriguing NPCs, well-thought encounters, cool magic, monsters that will leave an impression, and ambitious scope – this module is for you. If your players can handle danger, risk, and likely some loss, there is a play experience here I’m confident they will remember long after the last session wraps.”

Read the whole thing here.

And Melan too, reviews it brilliantly but commits the mortal insult of withholding the monocled Bird of Prestigious Excellence, reserved for giants like Anomalous Subsurface environment, giving it a mere 5 stars out of 5 [*]. Melan’s judgement remains the soundest in the OSR (as a poet and a mathematician once said), thus his endorsement, however brutally harsh, comes highly regarded. His sole complaint does appear to be that POUR wins too much, rocks too hard and is too grimdark for mortal men.

The genre is high-magic sword & sorcery turned up to 11. It is not for everyone. It is macabre, loud, album cover art S&S, set to metal riffs. (Or so I think, since this is a musical genre that goes right over my head, and feels pretty much like random environmental noise to my ears.) It is a lot more baroque and grandiose than even most S&S fare, a bit in the manner of Diablo and a bit in the manner of the Final Fantasy series, and I have to confess that it feels rather over the top. Grimdark easily becomes its own parody, and The Palace of Unquiet Repose is on the borderline, because it has no “normal” to fall back on, no section that is just a modest “/11”, and no counterpoints to its sensory assault. Here is a grand grimdark dungeon-palace “dotted with all manner of hideous gargoyles”, and haunted by tattooed, cannibalistic, insane, deformed, gem-studded things. That eat souls. The writhing souls of the eternally damned. Here are the grimmest motherfuckers of a rival NPC party, one “a beautiful golden, hairless child, one of its eyes (…) an orb of absolute blackness”, another one “a monstrous silhouette etched in absolute blackness”, and he is called “An Unbearable Thing, Drawn From The End of Time, Given Hatred and Substance (Wolf of Final Night)”. The leader of the other guys wears “the gilded skulls of lords and generals (500 gp total)” on his plate mail. The leader of the third faction has “a single wild green eye staring out of a skull-like face”. Sometimes, you can’t catch a break. After a while, “Fred the Fighter” starts to look like an appealing concept.

The only truly justifiable score for Palace appears to be 11/10. Let the reviewers come forth. Try your hand at my Palace, I challenge you.

(and if you weren’t part of the kickstarter, wait a few days until it comes out on Drivethru).

[*] Future POUR print editions to sub-saharan Africa to include a detailed treatise on circumventing Hungarian Border security along with a treasure map to Melan’s House with the marking ‘Mazungu gold here’ in retribution.


12 thoughts on “So it begins…

  1. Congratulations! Missed the KS, now waiting for DTRPG release.
    Meanwhile I have very enthusiastic GM around and hope to experience the Palace as a player in a week or two. Then I’ll see if it really deserves all those top scores ;-P


  2. No music this time? We are the Champions or Princes of the Universe? Or did Malrex veto such suggestions?
    Well deserved plaudits.


  3. You’ll see my review when we’ve finished our playtest. But you knew that.

    For other readers…I’m playtesting the DCC edition for da Prince. So far, so good, but it’s still early. The party just obliterated the Dusk Stalkers in the initial trek, but I realized afterwards that I forgot to take advantage of their first-round paralyzing shriek. I don’t think anyone would have died, but one of the party members probably would have lost his horse if it had another round to attack. Or at least it would have gotten away from the obliterating hail of magic missiles.


    1. It is easy to forget the odd ability of a new creature. No harm done though. The module triumphs in its roster of new monsters. There are a few exceptions, the work of Daniel Bishop comes to mind, but DCC lacks modules with an exploration element, and a sandbox format. Please keep the updates coming.
      I would also hope the OSE version gets plenty of play as well. Is it fair to say that the Necrotic Gnome works have concentrated on original fairy tale thus far, that is with a fair amount of tragedy and weirdness mixed in? Nothing wrong with that, but this is refreshingly different.


  4. My drooges. I thank you for your well-wishes and congratulations. I say look to the near future for the Palace PDF on drivethru if you missed the KS, and wish all of you an excellent weekend. Obviously actual play reports of Palace are very much welcome.


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