By Simon Carryer available from LoFTP.
Major Spoilers for players.
I saw this adventure is being promoted a little right now and as I intend to insert this into my current casual game as the next adventure in the Space Trash TM milieu SWN game, I am giving a brief synopsis of the adventure and why I am running it (why you should too). What an interesting, fun and potentially party wiping little beauty this is.
This adventure is a little different from most and could result in an adventuring party ceasing to be through enlistment with one of two dominant factions. Although set in the LoTFP world there is no reason this cannot be easily reskinned, and for my purposes it is perhaps a large crater habitat on an enormous lost asteroid.
Shipwrecked, with almost no chance of rescue the ‘island’ is controlled by two factions. One, an ancient local cult swollen to huge muscular proportions by debased rituals quickly recruits many of the lower deck npcs that were shipwrecked.
The adventure’s title refers to the other faction; a sophont information entity comprised within a large crystal pillar. It will offer players admittance to the greater gestalt being that some other npcs, mostly passengers and command are part of. This will offer them access to a range of abilities to aid survival but will it come at too high a cost? An interesting list of npcs is provided for other members of the gestalt.
A word of warning, parts of this are not for children (but it's from LoTFP so you knew that anyway). Joining the muscle cult and engaging in their initiation rituals requires rolling d6 on a table. If two PCs are involved and they both roll as they receive the muscle god’s vision it could result with them going go head to head in a variety very not safe for children acts an initiate must perform, with a ‘six’ resulting in ‘all of the above’. Some groups will probably find this fun.
Either way, both factions will make ongoing attempts to abduct or entice/recruit any PCs that are not aligned.
The rest of the booklet details the main locations of the island. The writing is clear and unconfusing, though one criticism is that the maps could be a bit clearer. Two large natural towers dominate the island and are joined high up by a precarious footbridge. The towers are factionalised. Large and really very large birds of prey (or appropriate analogue) also live here.
Reskinning this is easy if you want to use it as a sci fi location. I am thinking a crater habitat, the atmosphere and jungle contained by the crater walls. Midst the jungle, two ancient and enormous pyramids of advanced material dominate the landscape. Pitted and worn from the decay of time, they are still capable of beauty in some light. At one point mid way up they are joined by a gossamer footbridge.
Simon Carryer uses an easy to follow style and has created a type of adventure different to most. Yes, it probably could be approached as just kill all the (insert faction/s), but I can see a game where (some of the) players become part of the gestalt working. I can see muscle cult initiation rituals shredding the party, but being a lot of fun for a more degenerate game.
Either way, chances are in my game some PCs will get shredded by the cultists if not by the enormous Rocs and large Skuas (insert analogs here). There may need to be a few non aligned npcs 'hiding out' around too, if only to provide a source of back up characters. Will the PCs join a faction, succumb to one or the other or both, or will they be able to survive and perhaps even make it off the ‘island’?*
Lastly a parting thought regarding the cover which features large aggressive male muscle cultists advancing whilst dangling in the wind. Some people might not like this very much. One of my players saw this and said “We totally better be getting to play that!”. Good I thought, he knows my tastes in adventures. "Of course we are" I said, "Oh yes indeed".
*Who are the mysterious locals? Could it be a bunch of these guys... ugh, Sisters?