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

Friday 21 February 2020

Friday Fantasy: Slaves to Fate

From Chaosium, Inc. with the Miskatonic Repository for Call of Cthulhu, Seventh Edition and the Jonstown Compendium for RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha and HeroQuest Glorantha (Questworlds) to Wizards of the Coast with the DM’s Guild for Dungeons & Dragons, publishers are seeing the benefit of fan-based content. Free League Publishing, the Swedish publisher best known for roleplaying games as Mutant: Year Zero – Roleplaying at the End of Days, Coriolis: The Third Horizon, Tales from the Loop – Roleplaying in the '80s That Never Was, Forbidden Lands – Raiders & Rogues in a Cursed World, and Symbaroum, has its own platform for user-made content in the form of the Free League Workshop.
Slaves to Fate: An Adventure of Endless Winter
 is a short scenario for the near-Dark Ages fantasy roleplaying game, Symbaroum. Published by Earl of Fife Games, it is a focused affair actually intended as an introduction to a new campaign, Forever Winter. Consequently, it is linear in structure, it requires a particular set-up, and places a big responsibility with one player. The set-up is quite simple. The player characters are slaves. Mostly Ogres and Goblins, but also a mix of other races and occupations, so the player characters then. They should all be beginning characters and their players should decide how and why they ended up enslaved in the first place—captured by slavers, sold into slavery, to pay off a debt, and so on. One of the player characters should be a Changeling, and whilst Slaves to Fate provides enough in terms of motivation and background for this character, his player is free to create whatever character type he likes and there is still room for him to add elements to his backstory if he so desires. Alternatively, the Game Master can simply create this character as an NPC.

As the scenario opens, the player characters, as part of the slave coffle, have been taken north into the Davokar Forest where they are being worked all but to death felling trees and preparing lumber for shipment south. As the temperature drops and the player characters try and cope with exhaustion and not enough food and water, there is opportunity for them to escape. Several methods are discussed, but whatever the means, the player characters find themselves hounded from their camp by marauding beasts. Ultimately, they will find refuge, but all too quickly it becomes a prison and again they must escape to confront the forest itself…

The scenario does call for a degree of buy-in upon the part of the players, not least of which upon whoever will be playing the Changeling. Some players may object to being pushed from pillar to post, and may just simply refuse to the trust the Changeling, whether a player character or an NPC. To an extent the scenario includes advice on what happens if either the Changeling or the player characters die, but to get the fullest out of Slaves to Fate, the Game Master may want to talk to her players about the expectations of the scenario before play begins. Certainly she will need to do that with whomever is playing the Changeling.

Physically, Slaves to Fate is a 4.63 Mb, fourteen page, full colour PDF. The layout is clean and tidy and the illustrations are good, and generally well written even if it needs an edit in places.

In fact, Slaves to Fate is not a new adventure, it having been adapted to Symbaroum from previous versions for Zweihänder – Grim & Perilous, Shadow of the Demon Lord, Demon Gate, and the Genesys roleplaying game. The grim, near apocalyptic nature of the scenario though, fits the Dark Ages feel of Symbaroum as much as it does Zweihänder – Grim & Perilous and Shadow of the Demon. The scenario can only work as a prelude, the set-up for the campaign to come, Forever Winter, it otherwise being too linear and too bleak to really work as a one-shot. As the set-up to a campaign, Slaves to Fate works well enough and will hopefully lay the groundwork for the Forever Winter campaign.

No comments:

Post a Comment