Sunday, 27 October 2013

Prince Charming, Reanimator!

Call it "Charles Perrault meets H.P. Lovecraft by way of Jack Vance" and you won't be too far off the mark.

Prince Charming, Reanimator, is now available as a free pdf at RPG Now.  You can choose to Pay What You Want, which will reward Purple Duck maestro Mark Gedak for the excellent art, cartography, and the work of formatting and assembling the product.  I make nothing either way, but Mark really does deserve a lot of credit for making this so cool.  Also, he paid the artist and cartographer out of pocket!

A POD version will be coming in the not-too-distant future.

Prince Hubert Charming, son of the Baron of Westlake, and heir to Westlake Manor, is well known as a cold man, whose watery blue eyes seem to betray no emotion at all. Yet he is a great lover of beauty, as all his wives have proven. The first he found working in the cinders of a woodsman’s cottage. Some say that the girl’s jealous stepsisters threw her down a well to prevent her from becoming the young prince’s bride, but even death did not bar Prince Charming, and she enchanted everyone at the wedding. Her stepsisters were placed in spiked barrels filled with hot coals and dragged through the town until they themselves died.

Whatever process Prince Charming used to revive his bride, it did not last forever. All too soon, the Princess Ella took ill and died.

Charming then found another bride, and there was no doubt in this case that she was dead. She was entombed in a glass coffin guarded by half a dozen or so dwarves. Yet,
when Prince Charming injected his magic elixir and kissed her upon the lips, her eyelids fluttered open and she breathed again! The story was told that the new Princess had been in but a deep coma, a sham of death, until a poisoned apple was dislodged by the Prince’s kiss. But folk began to whisper in dread, and none were surprised when it was announced that Princess Snow, like Princess Ella, succumbed to a fatal illness after only a few years of marital bliss.

In all kingdoms there are tales, and in the Barony of Westlake, it is said that the Grimmswood hides the ruins of a long-lost realm. The daughter of its final king, cursed by a malevolent faerie, pricked her finger on a spindle upon her sixteenth birthday, in the blossom of her youth, and died. With her death, the kingdom went to ruin. Few now dare to go far into the Grimmswood, although the riches of the lost kingdom are said to lie unclaimed within. Fear of dark fey magic and even greater evils keep men out.

Or they did so until now. For Prince Hubert Charming of Westlake has determined that the long-dead Princess Beauty is only cursed to sleep away the aeons, and he will have her for his bride. His men rounded up a stable of “volunteers” at the beginning of one early autumn morning, and here you are, with what makeshift arms and equipment you had upon you when you were “volunteered”.

Your mission, the Prince’s Bailiff explains, is to enter the ruined castle, find the place where the “Sleeping” Beauty lies, and bring her forth for Prince Charming to restore with a kiss. Those who choose not to go upon this quest must take their chances with the Prince’s Guard, twenty men strong, and be declared outlaw. Those who choose to hazard their lives within the ruined castle may keep what they find, apart from the sleeping princess, but dare not leave without her.

How Did We Get Here

This product comes about due to the confluence of several factors.

First, I had planned to do a series of fairy tale-based adventures for the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG, titled Faerie Tales from Unlit Shores. The idea was to combine classic fairy tales with one or more strong Appendix N influences, to create something that accentuated the folkloric (and often dark) fey elements of the original tale and the adventurous energy of Appendix N fiction.

Second, my good friend Raechel Henderson, who was the first person to ever pay me for a piece of writing, had a Kickstarter project that was moving slowly. I asked my readers to help spread the word about Raechel’s project, in return for which I would write a free adventure. The adventure you are now reading is that free adventure. Her project, Spellbound and Spindles, is related to fairy tales too, making this a perfect tribute to those who contributed either with dollars or links. More information on her project can be found at http://eggplantproductions.com/spellbound-and-spindles/.

Finally, Mark Gedak of Purple Duck Games not only agreed to publish the follow up series of fairy talebased adventures, but also to publish the free adventure  professionally. You will be seeing at least five more adventure in this series, creating a full arc from 0-level to level 5. If they are popular, I (or others working with Purple Duck Games) might do more.

I hope you like them.

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