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Halls of the Blood King (2021)

Halls of the Blood King (2021) is by Diogo Nogueira and illustrated by Justine Jones. I keep asking “How weird can OSE get?” and this one starts to answer it in gloriously gothic fashion.

The Blood King’s castle manifests, Krull-like, during the blood moon eclipse, from whatever dimension he calls home, to receive tribute from his vampire children. There is a manor house, garden, a dungeon full of cosmic fungus. The doors are animated and hungry. There is a large population of blood spiders. As befitting the court of a king, even one so depraved as this, there are factions and plots. Best of all, there is a strict timetable — at dawn the castle vanishes, along with everyone in it, gone to the next world of the Blood King’s eternal tour. There is ample opportunity for misadventure here, and the whole thing is just entirely unlike Incandescent Grottoes. Sure, there are formatting things that are the same, the approach to the prose, the way the information is arranged and presented, but the substance is wildly different. I mean, this is aimed at levels three to five and it is throwing the party at a house full of vampires!

Justine’s art is just sumptuous. I’ve been a fan for quite a while, at least as far back as 2016 when she put out her art zine inspired by the stories of Clark Ashton Smith. Her art was gorgeous and decadent back then, and it has only grown more so, and more assured, since. Give her a follow and get some Dark Souls-inspired stickers.

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