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Review: Death of a tyrant (Beasts & Barbarians adventure)

A while ago I got my hands of Beasts & Barbarians and realized it was a perfect setting for the Sword & Sorcery campaign I was planning. I've had plans to run only small sandbox -using adventures with little or no preparation, so I wasn't first planning to buy this adventure even if GRAmel had became my favourite publisher. But I was curious to see what the Gazetteer -part of the adventure had so soon I realized having bought the pdf and wanted to use the adventures in my game.

For those wanting to see other reviews or find the file, you can find the adventure here (Drivethrurpg).

Warning - spoilers ahead. Read only if you are going to run this adventure, not play in it

Death of a Tyrant -cover

Again, something I bought being carefully curious turned out to be an excellent product. Combats, chases and other scenes have nice amount details, enough to make them interesting but not too much to slow down playing/reading the adventure. There's good amount of action, horror, angst and desperation, and social and various other skills are needed too.

The beginning of the adventure is excellent, and not having big twists in expected place IS a big twist - I was expecting the actual assassination mission itself going bad, but instead the players (and everyone else around) are affected by a curse that was protecting the target, and everything starts to go REALLY badly. Btw, a curse is a nice way to railroad characters in the middle parts of the adventure, especially when they are travelling on desert - for once railroading is justified.

There are points where stubborn players may head off the track, but the adventure tries to help GM in these situations with various details and suggestions. 

While the end of the adventure isn't as special than the beginning of it it's not bad either. It's traditional, even a bit clicheish, but isn't that what Sword & Sorcery is a lot about? And players do expect a traditional boss-fight I guess.

Little mistakes in the chase - how to fix

There are little mistakes in the first chase of the book, which apparently are leftovers from designing the chase before Savage Worlds Deluxe. There are references to characters gaining range increments; I checked line editor Piotr Korys how these should go, and might want to memorize or write these up:

-'More advanced characters' refers now to normal initiative order.

-When jumping over the cart, instead of gaining a range increment you get to draw one extra card next round.

Other materials

There are statistics for 16 monsters, npc's and extras in the book, as well as a 7-page appendix giving you insight to cultures and habits of desert dwellers, locally worshipped deities, treasures and other details. These can easily give you inspiration for your own games.

If you decide not to run the adventure, you can well use the npc's in your own games, as well as the locations featured in the town. The adventure has chases with lots of features, lost -scenes and other elements that can easily be snatched to your own game.

Final words

I liked this adventure a lot. I'm not a great fan of prewritten adventures but this one made me change my plans about the upcoming campaign. And even if I decided not to run this, I'd surely steal some of the scenes in the book, so I think it's worth it's modest cost even if you want to run only your own adventures.

You can find the adventure here (Drivethrurpg)

If you just found the game, you can find a package having this adventure and the setting book for $10, also including equipment cards.

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