Stealing From the Movies: Krull

By Corinth.

Last night, the Sci-Fi Channel ran a 1982 film named Krull as part of their "Swords and Sorcery Week" theme week. I remember seeing this film way back when in the theaters. Despite all of its flaws, I loved it then and I love it now. It has the same unapologetic energy that many Hong Kong films we love possess, and that's what keeps me coming back for more. (I even got the soundtrack.)

"Corinth, where the hell are you going with this? Get to the point!"

The point is that I'm going to steal this movie for use in my Feng Shui campaign, and I'm going to show you folks how I'm going to do it. Below, in the succeeding paragraphs, I'll go through the steps of converting this movie into an adventure. (Standard CMA Disclaimer: Your Mileage May Vary.)

Step One: Pre-Production

I need an approach. I'm not keen on puzzling out a probable sequel, so I'll skip that option. The movie doesn't present a workable alternative to the original premise, so I'll keep the original one. Fortunately, I'm the only one in my group who knows this flick well. I decide upon "Filing Off the Serial Numbers" (a remake of the original), and move on to the next set of considerations.

Where will I set it? I need a magic-rich setting with a vast amount of space for the PCs to traverse. That quickly narrows it down to the 69 juncture and the Inner Kingdom. Since the Netherworld requires me to convert small details I'd rather not bother with, I decide on the 69 juncture. Now, where in the juncture would be best for this? I'm trying to recreate the movie as much as possible, so I decide to use a remote part of China. This allows me to justify a weak Imperial presence, and also allows me to get to the next set of considerations.

I handwave the Western look into an Eastern one, and I replace the kingdoms with a pair of warlords. I decide that the Beast is an escaped Underworld demon, and a very powerful one at that. The Slayers become his vast army of demonic mooks, and the Glaive gets a more appropriate name. The whole wedding ceremony becomes a weird magical ritual (justifying the firey Blast effect), and the rest of the many elements are directly transferable.

Finally, I decide how my PCs fit into this. Chances are that the entire party will be making the long trip from the '96 juncture to attend this shindig, so casting a PC into Corwin's role (as half of a destined couple) becomes highly unlikely. I need an All-Too-Convient Excuse to bring them in. Since I'll not be using this for a little while, I'll leave that open. With any luck, my players will be kind enough to provide me with that excuse.

Okay. I've converted all of the big details into a Feng Shui context and I've left myself some room to get my PCs into the establishing scene. Now, it's on to the fun part -- converting the plot!

Step Two: Production

This film has a plot so generic that I really don't need to do much more than modify it as I must to account for the actions of my PCs. I will assume that, unless their actions preclude it, they go as Corwin's party originally planned. (The seer's death required a change in plan.) However, I'm going to play the Beast as being more intelligent that the film did. He'll have Named mimions, use strategy, send Slayers out continously to assault the PCs, and generally be much more of a beast than the film made it to be. All of this, of course, is so my PCs get the opportunities they deserve to act as heroic as the players want to be.

Step Three: Post-Production

Because the plot itself converts so easily, I get here earlier than I did with other adaptations. First, I need some stats for my Slayers.

Here's a quick thumbnail sketch:

Slayer, Demonic Mook

Body 7, Chi 0 (Magic 5), Mind 3, Reflexes 5
Creature Powers 7, Guns 7, Martial Arts 8
Armor x2 (+2 to Outcome required for takedown)
Sword-musket (Str+4 or 10/5/1)

I also need some stats for the Beast, but I'll get to those later. What I do know is that it will have a high Creature Powers AV, the Creature Power Blast schtick and a high rating in Body and Magic. As for the Glaive, I'll call it a Signature Weapon (or even a Named weapon) that's especially effective against the Beast and his minions. If I make a Named minion, I'll invent stats as I require them.

There you go. It's a quick 'n' dirty steal from the movies for my campaign. If you like, good. Feel free to make use of it for yourself, and feedback is welcome. (It's very possible that you'll catch something I missed.)

Last modified: September 11th, 1997; please send comments to