Saturday, July 23, 2022

#JULYGANTIC: Broodmother Skyfortress

 Broodmother Skyfortress was celebrated on release because everybody liked Jeff Rients and his blog (fair enough).  Unfortunately, I don't think it's much of an adventure (here comes the hate mail, and I could use the clicks I guess).  

Let's read!



1. Broodmother Skyfortress is two things - a collection of Jeff's blogposts (which we won't address here), and an adventure outline involving unleashing some destructive sky-giants upon your precious campaign world.  I think, in form, the adventure is more like a stream-of-consciousness discussion masquerading as an adventure outline.  Whether that floats your boat may vary.  If this content had been released in 2020 instead of 2016, it would've been a series of YouTube videos.

2. The concept of the adventure is that a castle full of giants floats into the region, and the giants start tearing things up.  Great!  Only these are space giants of the shark-centaur variety rather than folklore giants.  BECAUSE GONZO.  If you aren't ready to add sharkspace elephagiants to your campaign world, get your snowflake head out of your ass, this is LotFP and you should be ready to destroy your campaign at the drop of a hat.  So you can buy another LotFP adventure and destroy the next campaign!  Also please note that, other than the potential to change the face of your game world, this adventure is tonally different than the "standard" alt-Europe LotFP adventure.  If you chase Better Than Any Man with this thing,  either your players are going to get whiplash or you aren't making Broodmother sufficiently wahoo.

3. The seven "giants" that live in the skyfortress are absolutely massive and require some dedicated, if simple, rules.  Each has a personality etc.  Rients includes some optional rules tweaks suitable for making any giant (even non-shark ones) scarier.  The tone throughout these descriptions is conversational, which means the book is NOT the pinnacle of the faboo-fashionable "information presentation" OSR subculture - not by a long shot.  Those people will still love this book, though, because Rients.  I do like the individual giants - they have gimmicks and designators rather than names, as if they were named by the obsessive fans of Broodmother Skyfortress (Cannon, 1983) who have seen the film a thousand times on laserdisc and own the 'making of' book that came out in Japan.

I guess Rients' audience here is...who exactly?  New-schoolers?

4. The art in here is good, but many of the pictures that aren't of the shark-giant adventure seem to be of Rients in various wizardly poses.  I'm sorry, but that's weird.  Did Jeff get to keep all the originals on those?  Was that in the contract?  I'm all for not taking ourselves seriously (are you  new here?) but this gag isn't doing it for me.  There is a TON of art in this book; the Kirby-homage stuff is my favorite of course.

5. Random tables to determine the sky-giants' origin and what that means in the context of dealing with them.  Fine, although I'm not convinced this does anything for replayability of the module, it's just randomization for the heck of it.  Rients is trying to get the reader/GM to think about certain questions, and the cascade effects of the choices they make.  

6. The next section is event tables and wandering encounters for the Skyfortress.  As PCs explore the skyfortress, engaging (or avoiding!) the giants, they'll learn a few things about its origin.  The maps are nice, although I wish they were in the encounter section instead of at the back.  I also kinda wish there were a black-and-white version of the maps in the pdf for printing (I know, that's crazy talk, who's going to actually run this?)

Whether this is true or not it still sounds like why-even-try excuse-making.


I'm going to poke around and see if I can find a review of Broodmother Skyfortress from someone who actually ran it as an adventure, rather than shout COOL! at the first half and then actually give the second half (the blog reprints) a close reading.

Broodmother Skyfortress is a chain of thought-experiments showing how Jeff Rients would come up with a gonzo, world-changing adventure (with maximum Kirby dots).  As an adventure outline, it does its job minimally - which is a bug or a feature depending on what you're looking for.  I think it's a stunningly long book for as anemic as the adventure itself is.  Rients' voice comes through in the writing, which is great for an advice column, maybe less so for an actual adventure.  Broodmother Skyfortress is an advice column (or YouTube series) masquerading as an adventure.

"You can't criticize it like it's an adventure, it's more/different than that"   Nope, you can keep that nonsense to yourself.  The book advertises itself as an adventure.  Take it up with Raggi.

1 comment:

  1. No hate posts from me on this. I looked at it when it came out and quickly determined that it wasn't for me.