Justice Playthrough #125: Penicillin Issue #2

Are the players in your fantasy RPG campaign too, shall we say, comfortable? Do they suffer from insufficient existential dread? Do you miss the sweet squeals of “WTF MAN WTF?!?!” at your table?

Page 33, Game 8: Penicillin Issue #2 by Micah Anderson

This zine has some ideas for your fantasy role-playing enjoyment. They are system agnostic; coming up with game stats is YOUR problem. Assuming you even want to bother coming up with mechanical ways to represent these ideas. That will make them realer, and accordingly, more awful.

The first half of this zine is bloody fantastic. In D&D, recovering from grievous injuries is about as difficult as ordering a pizza, and recovering from a disease is as simple as finding a journeyman-grade spellcaster, assuming you aren’t already murderhoboing with one. What if recovery from injuries and illness was more … disquieting than that?

What if halflings weren’t less of a separate species, and more sentient fungus squatting in the corpses of dead children? (The fungus sometimes infests the living and/or mature, but that tends to go … badly.)

What if your wizard’s familiar nestled inside your skin like a blanket? And what if that were the least disturbing thing about it?

Quality drops sharply in the back half of the zine. There’s a mad lib, a lengthy bit of free verse crammed into a wolf mask, and a spinner you can (but will not) use to replace your dice.

Also, the black text on pink background (or, worse, pink text on black background) is often very unpleasant to read, and not in a way that enhances the experience.

Nevertheless, there’s some really fucked-up shit here. I can definitely recommend it for GMs looking to make their fantasy worlds less rote and more creatively dark.

What cliches will this next entry seek to defile?

Page 53, Game 10: Barrel Roll by Matthew Lawrence

“Fly back home with damaged wings”

Ah, sounds like the less glamorized “Live to fight another day” aspect of dogfighting. Dope.