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Tales of the Scarecrow» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Play Me Like One Of Your French Girls rss

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Pete
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I have eaten the plums that were in the icebox
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Once seen it cannot be unseen!

A bucolic farmhouse nestled in a field of lush sun-ripened corn is soon revealed as the demesne of a rapacious entity of terrible size and fearsome hunger: can the characters escape before they descend into a mad orgy of cannibalism… and worse?

The Skinny

Tales of the Scarecrow (Tales) is a locale-based situation for OSR-like games. It's a big old trap and the central activity involves interacting with colourful paraphernalia with the aim of effecting an escape. If that kind of play floats your boat, then Tales is an interesting take on that trope.

A small brick farmhouse sits at the centre of a cornfield. Approaching, the characters encounter a starving soul surrounded by the corpses of his adventuring companions and the spoils of earlier adventures. Beneath the fertile soil of the cornfield lurks a monstrous tentacled beast that will devour anything that attempts to escape the field. The cornfield is also home to a spooky scarecrow.

Only the farmhouse is safe from the beast's crazy cruel tentacles: so long as the characters do not venture out into the cornfield, they are safe. Tales is a short artifact, so that is all she wrote. What will the characters do?

The location provides a number of "levers and buttons" that the characters can play with. In true Raggi style, little good will come of playing with any of them… it'll be fun trying though.

a deadly scarecrow.
an apathetic cannibal.
a cursed magical sword.
the water is teeming with parasites.
the lush ripe corn is choked with poison.
a storybook entitled Tales of the Scarecrow.
an heretical and accursed magical spellbook.

There's a lot of fun to be had pushing all the "buttons" and wallowing in the #lulz avrything iz teh trap! vibe. I like playing characters that will spring the DM's toys: what's the point of the DM keying a room with an altar filled with acid if you don't have your character drink the stuff?

The storybook also presents an opportunity for a solution to the problem of escaping that involves prisoners' dilemma-style metagaming. If you or your players favour immersion and dislike metagaming, then the storybook is easily omitted. I really like this sort of thing—I play to have a laugh—so the playfulness of the storybook approach appeals muchly.

Presentation
Quote:
Is it odd of me to look forward—in a
rather mild way—to the publication of a
Lamentations product so that I can
enjoy finding the cover's hidden cock?

I'll give 5 to the first person that can
point out the appendage in this cover:
post below in the comments.


I'm reviewing the PDF because… well, more on that later.

Tales evinces the usual polished production values of Lamentations artifacts: a neat two-column layout is broken up with thematic illustrations; editor Matthew Pook—of Reviews from R'lyeh fame—sees that the writing is spare and typo free. Jez Gordon's black and white illustrations are a beautiful fit for the whole weird horror vibe of Lamentations.

Jason Rainville smashes in another excellent cover painting. His spooky scarecrow being eaten by a crow suitably foreshadows the content. Happily, Rainville continues the Lamentations tradition of inserting a hidden penis into the cover art: only Carcosa and A Red & Pleasant Land are cock-free.

Final Thoughts

I like it. The situation cannot be ignored and demands action that isn't likely to be of the hack & slash variety. Tales is an entertaining diversion to throw at your players as they travel through the rural backwaters of whatever Gods-forsaken shire you have marooned them in. Introduce it casually to allay their suspicion—good luck with that—and you'll likely have a memorable gaming experience.

Quote:
The chaotic events at Bogenhafen lie four days behind you. As the red sun sinks beneath the horizon, you spy a remote farmhouse surrounded by a lush cornfield. Perhaps there you might find shelter and warm potage to fill rumbling belly?

There's not enough meat here to use Tales as a one-shot convention scenario—I'd struggle to get four hours of play out of it—but it showcases the weird flavour of Raggi's riff on old school D&D well enough to use as a demo of Lamentations.

Where Can I Get It?

Buy it at the publisher’s online store in PDF only.

Raggi did a print run of Tales: 250 copies were dished out as backer rewards for some or other kickstarter and at DragonMeet 2012. Good luck finding a print copy. Sadly, I was at DragonMeet in 2012 and did pick up a copy. Sadly? I'm not a hoarder so in one of my annual purges of stuff I binned it. Who knew I was sitting on a pot of gold?

And so it goes.

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Eddie
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IndyRick wrote:
Is it odd of me to look forward—in a rather mild way—to the publication of a Lamentations product so that I can enjoy finding the cover's hidden cock?


I don't know... is it odd of me to stare at a slightly disturbing picture on RPGG for over an hour looking for a hidden cock, for nothing more than the right to post in the comments, "I FOUND THE COCK!"

I haven't found the cock, by the way. *goes back to staring at the scarecrow*
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intrepideddie wrote:
IndyRick wrote:
Is it odd of me to look forward—in a rather mild way—to the publication of a Lamentations product so that I can enjoy finding the cover's hidden cock?


I don't know... is it odd of me to stare at a slightly disturbing picture on RPGG for over an hour looking for a hidden cock, for nothing more than the right to post in the comments, "I FOUND THE COCK!"

I haven't found the cock, by the way. *goes back to staring at the scarecrow*


I think I found it, but I don't want to guess and then be wrong! Is 5bag worth the cost of everyone thinking you see cock everywhere?
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dysjunct wrote:
I think I found it, but I don't want to guess and then be wrong! Is 5bag worth the cost of everyone thinking you see cock everywhere?


I'm already seeing it everywhere. Where the hell is it?! How big are we talking this thing is? Is it a giant, Godzilla-sized cloud penis? Or is it some tiny little pee-pee the sadistic artist etched in a grain of wheat with a needle?

My god... IS EVERY STRAND OF THE SCARECROWS' HAIR A COCK?!
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Si
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For the love of all that is holy, will someone just ask her about the book?
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Is it under the crow on the scarecrow's shoulder?

I have no shame.

Edit: should have said, great review, thanks. Got distracted by a cock.
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Excellent review Pete!

For those who want to see how I used it in my current DCC PbF game, take a look here (warning, of course, spoilers for this and other DCC and LotFP adventures ahead! read at your own risk sauron):

https://rpggeek.com/thread/1250630/dark-sorcery-and-even-dar...
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I see the cock! (maybe)

My official guess, it's on the lower right corner above the W, it's a closed corn! (is that it?)
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Alright, you cockaholics, I think Abe makes the strongest case, but my vote is for the scarecrow's shirt. His face is a glob of jizz.
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dysjunct wrote:
Alright, you cockaholics, I think Abe makes the strongest case, but my vote is for the scarecrow's shirt. His face is a glob of jizz.


This is one of those times I'm really glad prospective employers can't pull me up by my surname.
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N.K.Jemisin's "The Fifth Season" is awesome and fantastic.
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Cool review, Pete, but you've really got us all distracted.

My guess: the part of the shirt between the two ends of the red girdle.
Now off to do serious business.
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Support comes in many forms: community involvement, forum posts, submitting data, running PbF games, word-of-mouth advertising, financial donations... All these are vital to this site, and you have my sincere thanks for participating in any of them.
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My suspicion: there are no hidden genitalia on the covers. This is an elaborate hoax to prove that people can see willies anywhere. Whether it's Pete's cunning idea or Mr. Raggi's fiendish doing is the real question at stake.
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The cock could just be a bird. There is a whispy cockatiel head floating in the wind.
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Pete
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I must confess. blush

The cock is like the cake from Portal. I'm a playful sort so I spiced up the review with a wee fib in the hope of provoking some cool 'I haz found teh cock!!1!" comments.

Y'all made the cock happen through the fecund power of your priapic imaginations. I can't look at the cover now without seeing Kev's contribution complete with "glob of jizz." Kev, you're a poet.

I hope I haven't forfeited your trust: please tell me how to make amends in the event that I have. I promise to never again darken my reviews with fibbery about cocks, Wombles, or Scunthorpe.

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In compensation, I demand a boob finding contest right now! surprise

Well, not really; after the last Duke Nukem game, those kinds of challenges can turn out to be pretty disastrous.
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IndyRick wrote:
The cock is like the cake from Portal.


I don't know what you think you are pulling, but there is cock all over that picture, see for yourself:
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Well, the cock may be a lie, but know that it has permanently affected me. I have to alter my drive to work now for two weeks every year. A village I drive through has an annual scarecrow competition. Dozens of scarecrows, all over the village.

shake

Pete, you're a bad, bad person. May a cockless scarecrow haunt your dreams.
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Si
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For the love of all that is holy, will someone just ask her about the book?
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Bastard mb

i even went to other LotFP products to search for more cock. I didn't become suspicious when I couldn't see anything, I just thought I was unable to spot the cock. You owe me 10 minutes of my life back.

And Kev is indeed a poet.
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People!

It's James Raggi! Don't you think that, if he wanted genitalia on the cover, he would have put them front and center with a spotlight on them???

You are all much too trusting....
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N.K.Jemisin's "The Fifth Season" is awesome and fantastic.
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vestige wrote:
You are all much too trusting....


Too true (at least speaking for myself). Great stuff!
But I'd like to remind you that the cake isn't really a lie. It actually exists. So maybe, the LotFP covers are cocky, too?
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N.K.Jemisin's "The Fifth Season" is awesome and fantastic.
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James Raggi wrote:
Yeah, I know, LotFP has published a penis monster and there's been certain "toys" in a recent (+Rafael Chandler!) and in one upcoming (+Jobe Bittman! finishing up the work of a guy that wore a BIG RUBBER FISHYDICK as part of his professional presentation) publication...

... but looking over these magic item submissions, I think I need to declare a moratorium on cock and cockalike items.

There just comes a point where things threaten to go from "yeah, we'll do anything, including this!" to "THIS is what we do!"


posted publicly on Google+
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Pete
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Haha! Someone should post a link to this review with a faux-outraged comment along the lines of "Raggi, you protest too much considering all the covers of your stuff have hidden cocks on them."

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Si
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For the love of all that is holy, will someone just ask her about the book?
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He posted a link to your review and a refutation of your cock concealment allegation almost as soon as you posted it, here.

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Direct link.
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Well done, gentlemen, this community of ours needs that sparkling kind of je-ne-sais-quoi that you all exhibited to generously here.
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Well I certainly got "pulled by the cock"...
I searched that damned picture so long my coffee went cold and then upon being hit by a random inspiration particle, I read the rest of the thread entries and found the truth!

A really good review and a really big hook made the whole thing fun, well done Pete!
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