Saturday, July 15, 2017

Blood in the Chocolate Review

"Wouldst Thou Like To DIE Deliciously?"

I finally got a copy of +Kiel Chenier's Blood in the Chocolate and I have to say, I'm in love. At it's core, the adventure is about "man's greed and capacity for cruelty" but it's wrapped up neatly in Willy Wonka's golden ticket.

Lucia de Castillo
The book itself is delightfully cute and cruel. Jason Bradley Thompson's art is both really delightful, yet frighteningly fucked up at the same time. I love it! The book itself, like other Lamentations releases, doesn't waste space. The inside cover has a quick reference map of the chocolate factory (along with directional info, encounters, and treasure). The back cover features NPC's and monsters, a pygmy tracker, and random tables related to the adventure's chocolate. These cheat sheets are quite useful.

While it's obviously fictional, the psuedo history and backstory that the author presents makes it feel real (well at least realized). Before the factory (which is the adventure) is described, Kiel gives us thorough backgrounds on the setting, backstory, villain, running the adventure, the pygmies and their magic tree, the chocolate itself, and the horrendous diseases and afflictions one can can contract from dealing with the Lucia's tasty treats.

I absolutely love the villain. She's an attractive, overweight, LGBT character. She really is like a sexy version of D'onofrio's Wilson Fisk from the Daredevil series. As a non-hetero fat dude, I appreciate her. It's nice to see a fat character that's absolutely capable and not a dolt, humorous, or ugly. Yes she's evil, but she's also charming and intelligent.

The adventure is full of dessert themed body horror and is all the more wonderful for it. There are eight poisons/diseases that players can contract and they have delightful names like noxious berry curse and brittle throat disease.

The only thing I don't necessarily like about the adventure is the use of pygmies. Kiel does a good job explaining that they aren't actually pygmies. That's just what Lucia calls them. This is while I might not like the terminology and such, it isn't a deal breaker for me. The reason they look odd and are primitive is explained in the adventure's background and they're a nice Oompa Loompa/goblin substituent.You can read more about Kiel's decision to use pygmies and his thoughts here. Actually he's doing a whole behind the scenes series of posts about the creation of Blood in the Chocolate and it's a good read.

The adventure itself is really well written. The illustrations and descriptions are clear and Kiel gives plenty of help to the DM. I especially like the conclusion. There are a lot of variables and he addresses most of them (including breaking down monthly costs if the players take over the factory).  I really don't want to give too many specifics because players might be reading this. Blood in the Chocolate will be a fun one to run for my friends. It'll probably be ran as a one shot, though if I even get to run my early modern gothic Greyhawk game, it'll be used their as well.

If you can't tell, I absolutely think this is an adventure you should buy. That being said, there are some sexual consent issues and violence mentioned in the adventure. If this is a major issue for you, then stay away. You can grab the print (with pdf) version here or the pdf here.

If you've not voted fore the ENnies yet, you should totally give this your vote. Also, through some votes towards the other Lamentations of the Flame Princess books. They're all fantastic and deserve the recognition. Plus, the trolls hate it. Vote here.

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