Review – Vacant Ritual Assembly, Issues 1-3

8 December, 2015

Vacant Ritual Assembly is an OSR (primarily Lamentations of the Flame Princess) focused ‘zine published by Red Moon Medicine Show.  They are done in B&W and provide a mixture of house rules, inspiration, adventures, maps and interviews.

Issue 1 starts with some house rules and recommendations for inspirational reading/ viewing/ listening.  Next is the ghoul market, where all sorts of interesting (and occasionally distressing) items are for sale, two of the inhabitants of the market (the Skinsmith, who rebuilds flesh, and Vespero the Antiquarian, a fixer) are described in greater detail.  A handout for Vespero’s shop in the market is provided as well.  A petty god, Luminari, Lady of the Golden Lamp, gets a brief but evocative description.  The adventure locale of the drowned village of Brahnwick is presented with maps of the area and surviving building.  An interview with Chris McDowall, author of Into the Odd is included.  And it concludes with a map and blank key to Greycandle Manor.

Overall, a good collection on interesting resources and you can sample it inexpensively as it is Pay What You Want.

Issue 2 starts with an introduction, table of contents,  recommendations for inspirational reading/ viewing/ listening.  The resources begin with a table of names, then a simple astrology table for characters.  Then we arrive at Dretcher’s Bay, where monster crabs are hunted among underwater ruins and strange creatures prowl, an excellent place for adventure and treachery (with two maps).  An article on the Oarsmen and their unique ability to travel along with a random table of woes that drive them on follows.  A short adventure, With Thine Eye Beheld, introduces a crazed cyclops-worshiping family cult, appropriately disturbing.  Lastly, an interview with Greg Gorgonmilk about his Dolmenwood project wraps up this issue.

Another useful collection of bits and bobs with Dretcher’s Bay useful for either a quick adventure locale or as part of an extended campaign.

Issue 3 starts with an introduction, table of contents and recommendations for inspirational reading.  Most of the material in this issue centers around the wilderness of the Dragon’s Trench area (the history behind which is quite delightful) including several organizations (heroic and villainous), multiple places to explore, new monsters and a full dungeon in the Grand Vespiary.  An interview with Rick Saada, programer of the roguelike Castle of the Winds 2 concludes the issue.

The Legend of the Dragon’s Trench provides a lot of potential play either as straight exploration adventure or a major part of a campaign setting.  It is a very fun read and many strange ideas to be used or adapted.

All of the issues of VRA have interesting and inspirational material, while light on rules they provide a wide range of old school wackiness and adventure which should be usable in any game (though requiring a bit more work to adapt to something like Pathfinder).

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

One comment

  1. I see this come up from time to time but have never checked it out. Your review has me more intrigued.

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