Ominous Doug Kovacs cover on Violence for Votishal (2018), the fourth DCC Lankhmar module. This is by far the most complex of the Lankhmar modules so far.

OK, so, first it builds on the way the gods IN Lankhmar work (not the gods OF Lankhmar, they’re different), as laid out in Leiber’s Lean Times in Lankhmar. There is a popular temple and a high priest who resists the customary extortion faced by the temples. There’s an assassin (and thus, a dead high priest). There’s another temple that uses this situation to feather their own nest, sewing discord in the other temple by releasing a vengeful spirit. That leads to a dead assassin, a new dead acolyte every day, and a lot of stolen toes. There is a pretty large temple complex, as well as a sewer and tomb to explore. And if that tangle isn’t enough, there are like ten probing questions at the end of the adventure that highlight the many threads still hanging loose.

I thiiiiiink I like this one a lot. But I’d really have to see it in play to see how it all comes together. There is a lot going on (and, like Acting Up, there is an unrelated subplot with opportunistic thieves robbing the temple that is the first thing I would cut) and I think it is satisfying, but the adventure is so dense with potential that a party needs to muck it all up to see if works as good as I think it does. I mean, holy crap, this thing is a mere 18 pages long!

Nice art throughout by Brad McDevitt, Chris Arneson and Doug Kovacs. I think there is often a desire for the setting of Lankhmar to be “the thief one” but there is actually quite a lot of texture in Leiber’s stories. The DCC artist pool does a really good job of capturing that variety of atmospheres while also feeling gestalt. It is impressive.

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