The Atrocity Exhibition, a review

The AE

The Atrocity Exhibition is written by Jason Fryer. A veteran when it comes to KULT. He also wrote a book about Purgatory in the 90s.

Now he is back for KULT: Divinity Lost, and I can already say that he is in top form. This is one of the best scenarios in the scenario collection Taroticum and Other Tales.

The setting is the Cecil Throne Art Centre where an exhibition is held. The works of the eccentric artist Guy Vauquelin is displayed for the first time. Now Vauquelin is long since dead but what people did not know was that he was a death magician and that this whole exhibition is part of a plot to bring him back again.

The scenario has a nice pacing and starts with ease and comfort, then becomes creepy and uncanny and then explodes in the surreal, insane, mind that is Vauquelins purgatory. And here it turns epic and weird worthy of a Clive Barker novel. The players are drawn into fragments of the mad artists mind, places he visited in his life and everything is expertly written. The NPC’s are fleshed out and the purgatides are in particular imaginative and unique.

This is great as a stand alone scenario but I can easily see it be tied into a larger campaign. It does not come with any pre-made characters but most Archetypes could fit into this story.

The strength of this scenario is really the imaginative vision of purgatory that transforms again and again giving you the feeling to be inside the artists twisted mind. In some ways it remind me of the movie the Cell with its weird surrealism, or something inspired by Lynch or Del Toro.

The art to this scenario is also stunning. Instead of normal illustrations (if now, normal is something that should said about the art for KULT) we get paintings. Each painting representing one of the paintings in the exhibition. These are clearly inspired by classical works, but much darker. And they really have a high standard. It looks like real art that you could have on the wall if you had a morbid style of mind.

Some of the gorgeous art from the scenario. 

To sum it up, this scenario is well written and very imaginative. It does not hold back when it comes to surreal weirdness, so if you are looking for a more subtle experience this is the wrong one. There are also no pre-made characters so there is more prepp for the GM if she or he wants to run this as a one shot. If you are a bit new as a game master I would not suggest this as a first scenario to run since it is so unique in it’s style and when it becomes surreal and abstract you really need to know what you are doing.

I can really see this scenario as part of a campaign or a starting point of something that can evolve into a campaign.

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