In which I talk about something I read

In the Prison of the Squid Sorceror is the kind of book I like: full of bits and things. Twelve of them to be exact, as per the front cover. Each is a weird adventure of varying length written in the spirit of Michael Moorcock. 

Firstly I'll get what I don't like out of the way: italicised read-aloud text. Horrible, ick, I hate the stuff. At best it makes the GM sound like he's reading off the back of a menu, at worst he turns into a primary school teacher enthusiastically telling the children a story with all the blood-soaked, night-falling, flame-flickering clichés you can handle. What's more it makes it hard to gather up information for processing into something more natural. If details are hidden in a block of prose you're likely to miss them.

The best bits are the small encounters that could be used pretty much anywhere with no planning. The Cult of the Flickering Sign is the best of the little ones, in my estimation; the party stumbles upon a grisly murder in an alleyway with typical oogly cult signs on it and quickly end up rumbling the bad folks and having a wonderful time. I'd love a book full of these little vignette adventures, as they always get to the point without any padding and are easily disassembled for the juicy bits.

Let's talk about Moorcock: we know that he often worked on a tight schedule, so much so that he would sometimes just throw out a bunch of weird stuff, drag Elric through it and call it a night. Some of the adventures (the eponymous scenario being one of them) felt a lot like that, with strange stuff dropping in and weirding up the place without warning with the aim of entertaining a herd of murder hobos. As with Moorcock, you'll either like it or be put off. Make of it what you will, but I'm happy with to deal with some dodgy verisimilitude occasionally. Besides, we're smart GMs, season to taste.

Considered as a whole, In the Prison of the Squid Sorceror is a solid and sometimes inspired bunch of adventures that I'll be pillaging in the near future. You can get it on RPGNow or Lulu. Go do that.

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