Every Week It's Wibbley-Wobbley Timey-Wimey Pookie-Reviewery...

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Coming Together

Reunion is the first scenario for River of Heaven: Science-Fiction Roleplaying in the 28th Century, the near Transhuman Space Opera RPG published by D101 Games. Designed for four to six players, it is an introductory adventure that can be used as a one-off scenario, a convention scenario, or as the starting point for a campaign. They take the roles of crewmembers serving aboard the interstellar stepship, the Cape Verde, a vessel owned by House Harper-Yung, one of the ruling families on Jericho. Of course like any stepship, all interstellar piloting and navigation functions are carried out by a Pilot’s Guild provided Stepdaughter, who is literally plugged into the ship.

As Reunion opens, the crewmembers are waking up from Vitrification, the means of cryopreserving both passengers and crew for the long, typically years’ long, voyages between star systems. This is typically an unpleasant experience, those put under usually suffering from nausea, disorientation, and even temporary sleep sickness. Fortunately, the crew are trained to overcome these symptoms and quickly realise that something is amiss… First, the medical team that would usually be on hand to help revive them is not present. Second, they are in zero-g—which means that the ship is not accelerating. So where is the medical team and what has happened to the rest of the crew? Further, what is going on with the Cape Verde?

The truth of the matter is that the Cape Verde has been attacked and boarded. To say more would be to spoil the scenario, but the player character crew members need to find out by whom and why as well as what has happened to the rest of the crew. In doing so, they not only get to explore their stepship from nose to tail, they may also discover a deep, dark secret at the heart of River of Heaven. The player characters are free to pursue the plot in Reunion however they like, though much of the plot will proceed unless they intervene. There will certainly be locations aboard the Cape Verde that the player characters will want to visit—the bridge being an obvious example—and the scenario does include certain encounters to that end. For the most part, the scenario and its plot are location based, but this will diminish as the actions of the player character crew members impinge upon the plot. 

To support this set-up and plot, Reunion includes descriptions of, and deckplans for, the Cape Verde, plus the vessels used by the scenario’s adversaries. Also given are the stats and write-ups for the NPCs, both the crew members of the Cape Verde and of the adversary vessels. Last of all are the character sheets for the six pre-generated player characters.

Physically, Reunion is slightly underwhelming as the deckplans for the various spaceships and starships feel just a little too basic. The deckplans do break the book’s text as otherwise there are no illustrations. In places, Reunion could also do with another edit.

Reunion is a scenario in which the player characters really do need to be proactive in pursuing the mystery at its heart. If they prevaricate, there is every chance that they will find themselves adrift and potentially be unable to get back to civilisation. This is not so much of an issue in a one-shot or convention scenario, but in one intended as the start of a campaign…? Other than this, Reunion is a solidly done scenario with potential for some good action and revelations at the heart of the setting for River of Heaven.