The Island of the Dead. (Scenario Review).

The Island of the dead

This scenario is written by Robin Liljenberg. The man behind the rules of the new edition of KULT. And the one that started the whole project from the first place and had the idea to update KULT into the PBTA-system. And if you don’t want any spoilers I can say this. The scenario is great. And just like all the scenarios in Taroticum and Other Tales it really stands out and is different.

To cut a long story short. This is survival horror on a jungle island. Think Lord of the Flies, Lost, The Green Inferno and Deliverance merged into one story.

The players are traveling across the Indian Ocean and their plane crashes. They wash up on the shores of a strange island that seems to be evil in itself. Here horrors from the characters past comes to life and they have to fight nature, servants of the Death Angel Golab to find a way to escape. The scenario comes with four premade characters but there is a short guide how to create new characters if you want to make your own.

Survival is the core theme of the scenario and equipment is scarce. To simulate this the scenario comes with equipment cards that the players need to keep track of. Here a flashlight can be a vital thing, a first aid kit can save you from death and a cup of coffee can help you recover stability. The player can also find a map over the island and have to decide among themselves decide where to go and what to do. In some ways it feels like an OSR scenario but there are scenes that are made for the premade characters that gives the story a far more personal touch which I really like.

Equipment cardsThere are several of these Equipment Cards included in the scenario. 

While the characters explore the island they have a chance of uncover more and more aspects of its backstory. They may come upon the natives that are a cult in service of Golab, find an old research station where clues are left in an old journal. Find out that there is another Cult on the island that brought the plan down but the coolest scene is when you learn about how the Archons and Death Angels have fought over this place. An old skeleton of a Lictor and his brutal sword (which is not just to take) gives you an insight that something larger is at play.

The scenario is easy to understand and easy to play but it still feels epic. There are a lot of NPCs and creatures that are well developed and that are memorable and characteristic. I hope to see a full campaign penned by Robin Liljenberg for KULT: Divinity Lost. Just by reading this it is clear that he is as excellent in creating a good atmosphere, a cool plot as he is designing rules.

It is said that this scenario might be played during one evening, but I think it could be played for several sessions. There are much to explore and do on the Island of the Dead and I get the urge to fill the map with more locations, survivors and clues to the mystery.

I highly recommend it, and it is nice to explore KULT: Divinity Lost away from the urban environment.

Map Island of the DeadThere are a lot of room on the island for a GM to include new places and enemies. And it would probably be possible to run this one shot as a full campaign. 

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2 thoughts on “The Island of the Dead. (Scenario Review).

  1. Nice review! I was thinking many of the same things, especially in regard to the part where you compare it to an OSR scenario (Islands of Terrors, anyone? :D) but with personal-horror tie-ins and mythos backdrop scenes added to make it into much more than _just_ that…

    If you wanted to expand it to campaign length, I feel that the obvious thing that was left out (most likely due to constraints of word count for the book) was a connection to the Realm of Gaia. As written, the entire island is under the sway of one of the Death Angels, and it seems that this control is so complete as to block out any rifts towards Gaia, or any creatures from that plane of existence breaking through…
    If one were to add some of that in, though, the scenario could become even more multi-layered and complex. Not _all_ the native tribes on the island would have to have fallen under the influence of Golab, for example. Some could worship Gaia (or some forgotten primal god tied to it), be prone to cannibalism, descent into feral mindlessness, rampant mutations etc…
    Some of the PCs might be made to feel the pull of that infuence, as well, such as Simon (whose drug trip dark secret could very well tie into this, and put him into a dramatic tension similar to how Wendy’s background makes her torn between Golab and Netzach)
    Gaian creatures could also roam the jungle and be encountered on occassion by the wandering PCs. Those could be used similarly to how Lost’s smoke monster or polar bear are used early in the series. (Not that I would lift either of these examples directly from the show, but the scare of a mysterious, unexplainable animal… or _something_ …being heard/felt nearby, might be just the thing to spice up this creepy place even a little bit more)

    At the same time, I love the jaguars as they are described in the scenario – the subtle, but once it sinks in, very unsettling influence of the Death Angel over them is very well done, I thought.
    But perhaps there is _something_ on the island that even the jaguars (and the natives of course) fear – I’m getting images of a Monstrous Dire Horrid Ape (to shamelessly borrow some D&D terminology here 😀 :P) roaming the jungle, squashing jaguars to death whenever it gets hold of one with its too-many arms, and devouring them almost whole with its brutish, slavering jaws in order to gain more strength (and size? and additional appendages?) by consuming their life force…?

    Anyways, I’m rambling – so let me just finish by agreeing that, yes, the scenario is full of potential, and I’m intensely looking forward to be able to play it some time! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the comments! And I agree. I think that Gaia would have been a great tie in to the whole powerbalance. Some being that you might actually get helped by, or a new enemy.
      I feel that Gaia is not used that much in KULT lore. I do appreciate however the new and expanded version in the core rules. I feel it is something that can be used with more ease now. At least I feel more inspired to throw it into the gameworld.

      Like

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