Monday, July 23, 2018

Review of Gathox Vertical Slum Adventure Module


+David Lewis Johnson offered me a PDF copy of Quake Alley Mayhem for review. I am happy to do so because; one, I have used much of his royalty free stock art to illustrate my baby USR Sword & Sorcery,Rules Lite Roleplaying for Fantastic Pulp Fantasy Adventures, and two, I purchased Gathox Vertical Slum, a far out, gonzo science fantasy campaign setting for Swords & Wizardry White Box sight unseen because it spoke early eighties Heavy Metal magazine I bought on the down low as a young teen.



So I'm in David Lewis Johnson's camp hard. On top of this +Mike Evans edited Quake Alley Mayhem. He is the moving force behind DIY RPG Productions and does his shit soooo straight and right +Zak Smith threw Demon City at him to carry the publishing load. I buy Zak's stuff because it is some of the best RPG material available today. Mike I met at Gencon 50 and I watched him win a Silver Ennie for Hubris and he is not shy for flying a middle finger. He does not stay up as late as Jacob Hurst or Jez Gordon. So you know he actually is probably kind of a softie.

QuakeAlley Mayhem is a good example of how overworked all our best people are these days. It gives me hope that all of us on the OSR DIY sidelines figuring things out, well, we need to do so, cause everyone like David Lewis Johnson are writing fun good stuff and the pipeline for distribution is jammed. I mean stopped up! Evil Hat hasn't put out anything of value since ever. They are sooo starved for something to do all they can come up with is dissing the Ennies. The Ennies! Smart, mildly good looking men and women, on their own volition, are striving forth, putting everything on the line and producing great game talent and now they are swamped. If it wasn't for the connections at conventions and google plus being made by earnest folk in real time, well you my fellow gamer would be still playing Lost Mines of Phandelver again and again and again.

Quake Alley Mayhem is a harbinger of glee for all and everyone on the nonexistent margins of the RPG game world. Can you edit? Can you do layout? Can you write? Can you draw? Can you playtest? Do you love to proofread (there has got to be someone, right?) Can you use POD software? Gather together and make an RPG product.

Established RPG companies in the “middle ground”* trying to imitate WotC business model are in the process of being disassembled like a first level PC by a Giant Crab.


If you have enough enthusiasm and typing skills you can produce a ready to run adventure so much more interesting than anything else available on the mainstream market in an afternoon. And have people buying it and playing it by nightfall.

The regular game companies should be shitting their pants. I think they have been for the last four or five years and just can't say it. The best they can do is minimize outsider achievement. But once again outsider achievement will be on full display at this year's Gencon. The LotFP booth will sell out. The Ennies will be dominated by outsider products winning awards. These will be, in no particular order, Hot Springs Island, Hobbs and Friends, Frostbitten and Mutilated. In no way should the corporate game world see such scrappy, passionate outfits succeed, but succeed they do. There will be some hangovers after Gencon 51, but none which matter.


*an undefinded term of mine, but I'm thinking Pinnacle, Evil Hat, Green Ronin, Lumpley Games, etc.