2018/02/07

OSR: Kidnap the Archpriest Megapost

I wrote a heist module. It's the first RPG-related thing I've published for money. You can buy it here.

Why?

People seemed to want OSR-type heist modules, but I couldn't find any really excellent examples. Some modules had diplomacy, some had stealth, and some had burglary, but nothing seemed to put it all together in one really compelling and easy-to-use package. This is my attempt.

Much like my first (free!) module, Tomb of the Serpent Kings, I don't think Kidnap the Archpriest is revolutionary... but that was never the intent. I just wanted to make a good, solid, thoroughly tested module that was fun to run, cheap to print, and easy to adapt. I also wanted to include some tools for designing your own heists. They might not be useful for experienced GMs, but when I was first starting out in this hobby, I'd have loved to have read a module like this.


Inspiration
Heist films, of course. The Oceans movies. The Italian Job. All the classics.

The module is based on a few historical events. In 653, Pope Martin I was kidnapped by the Byzantine Emperor Constans II over a doctrinal dispute. In 692, Pope Sergius I was very nearly kidnapped as well, but was saved by a popular uprising, botched diplomacy, and an unfortunate war. The Castle of St. Logan in this module is based on the Castel St. Angelo, although the interior layout was altered significantly.


Art
Luka Rejec did the art. I had a remarkable number of people work on the maps, but Luka really went above and beyond to produces these pieces. They are all gorgeous.
Isaac Bacterian
Agent of His Dread Majesty
Layout
This module wouldn't exist without David Shugars. That man is bottled patience. I'm not very good at the whole "turning words into a usable document" thing, but he really, really is. I can't count how many times I asked him for impossible things and he delivered.

A heist module lives and dies by its layout and usability. Playtesting helped, but David spun that raw information into a sensible, usable, and consistent format.

Reviews

1. I sent the mostly complete module off to Bryce Lynch, of tenfootpole fame, for a final round of comments. After an enormous amount of helpful advice and editing, Bryce finally said,


"And that all leads me to this, the second highest praise I can give: This is as good as it can be, in an obvious way. It meets expectations. I don't think you've broken new ground, the way, for example, the first one page dungeons did. But that's not a criticism. This is a good adventure. I would not feel ripped off if I purchased it."
-Bryce Lynch

 And if you know how he writes... that's not bad at all. I'll take it.

2. ktrey parker also reviewed the module. The whole article is worth a read; it covers the contents and intent very well.

I’ve always been interested in options for play that do not involve the conventional D&D graph-paper flow-chart experience, but this module seemed a bit ambitious. Could a tutorial be produced that provides the necessary tools to run a successful, entertaining, and exciting adventure without the typical focus on combat encounters and character sheet-bound challenges?

After pawing over KtA a few times, I’m pleased to say it does an admirable job at providing these tools.
[...]
Flavorful encounter tables are also provided to further furnish the GM with some interesting complications and situations. I really can’t see this module going the same way twice, which can seldom be said for more traditional site-based crawls.

-ktrey parker 


Final Notes
If you read this module I'd like to hear about it! Feel free to post links to play reports or reviews in the comments below.

6 comments:

  1. Just so you know, the RPGNOW purchasing link is broken

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    1. I am an expert on capitalism. Fixed. http://www.rpgnow.com/product/233069/Kidnap-the-Archpriest

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  2. Congrats on the first commercial publication! Insta-bought, glanced at (because at work now) and it looks like a winner. Will write some more when I get to digest the module and unleash it on a party.

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  3. Out of curiosity, did you run the Black Endoguard as 3rd level GLoG fighters, with 2 attacks per round and high to-hit bonuses from practice killing things (Notches)?

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    1. I did - in the GLOG playtest, they had 2 attacks/round, an Attack of 17, and +2 damage. Not very fun to fight one-on-one. I didn't really build them on the PC fighter templates, but it worked out more-or-less the same in the end.

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  4. I just started running this with a single player. I'm using the GLOG and we're playing it in live chat sessions on Slack (not play-by-forum, but not playing for hours at once either.) The player character is a thief who seems very focused on poisoning. In fact, he talked Isaac into giving him access to an alchemists lab before leaving for Thule instead of 10 GP.

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