Acting Up in Lankhmar (2018)

It’s funny, I love a masquerade party adventure, but when I saw Acting Up in Lankhmar (2018) centered on a stage play, I felt my skepticism rise. That it was written by Michael Curtis made me settle down some, but still.

The premise is simple: low rent theater troupe performs a play that skewers piggish nobleman, piggish nobleman responds in a way that confirms his piggishness and necessitates the troupe’s hiring of the PCs as guards. There is a little bit of lower classes being on to the bullshit of the upper classes theming, but this mostly feels like a slightly reserved Marx Brothers film, only with swords and black magic.

The show must go on, of course, despite several attempt by the Duke to derail it. There is also one non-Duke related issue — a pair of thieves sneaking in to make off with the ticket revenue. They make the cover (by William McAusland), but they’re the one problem I would cut — they just seem like one problem too many. One of the Duke’s schemes requires a pair of PCs to step on stage for a spell (which, I admit, is probably a hoot, and the book has the play’s script for them to work from). There’s also a little mechanic for keeping track of the audience mood, which I like (DCC has an enthusiasm for trackers like this that I appreciate). The Duke’s final, deadly salvo seems a bit too…deadly, though. I expect it can be staged so that the PCs are on top of things, but if they are taken unawares, there is an extremely high likelihood of bystander casualties, which puts a damper on the farce. I’d want to work hard to make sure that didn’t happen — the idea of nobility spending the lives of the lower classes in a fit of pique seems to be exactly the opposite of the intended ending.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *