The Long Hard Mile: A Solo Adventure is something different for Metamorphosis Alpha. It is an update—is that a ‘backdate’?—of a scenario which originally appeared as Metamorphosis Alpha: The Long Hard Mile for use with Metamorphosis Alpha, Fourth Edition, for use with the classic version of Metamorphosis Alpha. It draws from a storyline where the Starship Warden runs into an invisible asteroid filled with mushroom and crystal life forms smashing a hole in the ship’s hull and letting in a rash strange new lifeforms which seem to want to take over the ship. Feeling that it was in need of transition piece which tied the collision to the events aboard the Starship Warden, the author wrote The Long Hard Mile which both explored the consequences and presented the first solo adventure for Metamorphosis Alpha.
Several weeks ago, the ship hit something hard and the world about the village seems to have shaken again and again, followed by strange changes. New plants roaming and killing, a nearby valley, once wooded, now filled with giant mushrooms taller than the trees they replaced, and deadly plants everywhere. The hero of the story is equipped with the best that the village has to offer and sets out to investigate. The first thing he sees upon reaching the head of the valley is three high tech weapons mounted on tripods, with signs of burn marks on the ground and trees ahead of them. Why are the weapons there and what were they being fired at, are just some of the initial questions to be answered in the opening entries in The Long Hard Mile. As the Player Character explores the valley, he will plunge into Fungi Forests, find himself stabbed and spiked by strange flora, make friends with a piece of mobile artillery, get battered and spoken to by fungi, and ultimately discover some of the valley’s hidden secrets.
The Long Hard Mile: A Solo Adventure is relatively short and runs to just twenty entries. It is fun, and mechanically, it does involve a high degree of combat, but there are two or three scenes involving some roleplaying too—especially if the scenario is run as a standard adventure with a Game Master and several players. The combat scenes will require reference to the Metamorphosis Alpha rules, but in other scenes where a player needs to roll dice, the mechanics are explained in the entry. The scenario includes two pre-generated Player Characters, Scar-Lock and Lock-Scar. The former is a Pure Strain Human, the latter a Mutant Humanoid. Their character-type will not have any effect upon their explorations of the valley, although Lock-Scar does have some advantage in have various mutations which will help him in a fight. If the Player Character manages to survive and escape the valley, he should be able to bring back several weapons along with a few secrets and the means to end the threat which has emerged since the crash and taken over the woods.
Once a player has run through The Long hard Mile in solo fashion, there is nothing to stop her from running the scenario as an adventure for a standard group. This is relatively easy given the limited number of entries in the adventure, but to make it little easier, the Game Master should draw up a map of the various encounters so that it will be easier to plot the Player Characters’ movement from one location to another. As a solo adventure, The Long hard Mile is playable in an hour, but as a standard adventure, a group should be able to complete it in a session or so. And like so many supplements and scenarios for Metamorphosis Alpha, The Long hard Mile works with almost any post-apocalyptic roleplaying game, from Gamma World to Mutant Crawl Classics Roleplaying Game – Triumph & Technology Won by Mutants & Magic.
The capacity for The Long Hard Mile: A Solo Adventure to be played as both a solo adventure and a standard adventure, even if a short one in both cases, gives it a versatility that few scenarios possess. It also means that the Game Master gets to play Metamorphosis Alpha for a change, and whether her character—Scar-Lock or Lock-Scar—manages to survive her explorations, he can become an NPC spurring the Player Characters into action and rooting out the mysteries of The Long Hard Mile: A Solo Adventure.