Lord of the C**k Rings: A Critical Look at Dave Brockie’s Towers Two RPG
Believe it or not, the late Dave Brockie, a man (in)famous for portraying the galacticidal alien dictator Oderus Urungus, was a bit of a nerd. Before his untimely death in 2014, the artist/author/actor/musician had been hard at work on his very first tabletop role-playing game module, Towers Two. The half finished manuscript has since been completed by author Jobe Bittman from Brockie’s original manuscript and notes. Designed for the Lamentations of the Flame Princess system, it’s a brutal slog through a fucked-up world, and – because apparently this is my life now – I was asked to review it.
If I’m going to be the go-to guy for role-playing games made by metal musicians, I’ll take this over Varg Vikernes’ MYFAROG any day. At least – unlike MYFAROG – the system is relatively easy to pick up for anyone who’s played Dungeons & Dragons. Many of Brockie’s, uh, motifs are on display: cannibalism, bestiality, phallic humor, pigs, blood, monsters with dumb names, the whole shebang. But hey, unlike Varg, at least Brockie was aware that he was creating a fantasy world.
And, since it uses a system that actually functions, I was able to playtest it.
Because the book isn’t explicit on what level the adventurers need to be (there’s something about it being for “a group of 4-6 players of the corresponding levels,” not exactly the model of clarity), I figured I would roll up some first level characters for my role-playing group, throw on some appropriate music, and see what happened. What happened was this:
Sent to this podunk region of mountains and pig farms thanks to their nonpayment of dues to the Adventurers Guild, the intrepid crew landed on the outskirts of town (one in a pile of pig shit, thanks to the dice). They proceeded to barge into the crappy little town of Mlag, demanding to be pointed in the direction of adventure, and adventure they got. Local scummy tavern owner Ferd sent them out on a quest to get rid of a band of marauding pig men. Little did they know, he was sending them right into an ambush. This is the point where I realized that they might be slightly underpowered, as the pig-men proceeded to slaughter them all and fuck the neck-stumps of their decapitated corpses.
As a magnanimous Referee, I decided to open a portal to an alternate dimension where their characters were current on their dues and were therefore able to level up properly. Now able to actually deal with the threat, the party drove off the pig-men and slew their leader, hacking off his head to bring back to Ferd. On their way back to town, however, they ran into a friendly giant and for some reason decided to accompany him back to his cave for dinner. Obviously, the giant tried to eat them, and they only escaped when the magic-user used a Command spell and told the giant to “Masturbate” – although they suffered one final indignity when the monster jizzed all over one of the unconscious party members as the party dragged him out of the cave.
So, you know. Fun times.
Brockie and Bittman have created a fun sandbox world filled with colorful characters and horrifying situations. My players didn’t even come close to encountering the Eloi, the Suck-Thing, or the terrifying powers of deathfuck magic. Some more clarity in the book itself would have been welcome – as I said, as a newcomer to this specific system, I wasn’t sure what levels to make my characters, and some of the monsters could have used more details – but it certainly gave me plenty to throw at my hapless charges. The book itself is nicely put together, well-organized with plenty of art by Jeremy Duncan in the style of Brockie. Most importantly, though, it feels like you’re playing through a GWAR album. No tribute could be more fitting.
Grab the insanity from Lamentations of the Flame Princess here.