By Jim Bambra, Lindsay Law Cubicle 7 WFRP 4e "Relatively new characters"
It’s a dark, stormy night, and the forest creaks as foul creatures howl through the undergrowth. As freezing rain slices from the roiling sky and attack threatens from all sides, the desperate adventurers stumble upon the warm glow of a fortified inn. But everything isn’t as it seems, and soon the unwitting heroes face deceit, betrayal, and horror as they strive to survive a terrifying Night of Blood.
This eleven page adventure details a small inn that has been taken over by cultists posing as the innkeeper & staff. It sets up some interesting situations and has some decent specificity and flavor, but could use a little less abstracted generalities and a little more traditional formatting. It comes to me as a request to review.
It looks like this adventure appeared in a 1987 edition of White Dwarf, and then was updated and released as a separate product in 2018 for the 4e version of the WFRPG. This explains the original writing credit (Bambra) and the updated one (Law.) I’m not sure how he original went. This one has some issues.
There is some great color in this adventure. That, and the setting up of situations, is one of its great strengths. It starts with the party caught out in a forest road, in a storm, at night. You can hear the braying of the beastmen in the distance. The braying gets closer, and closer. And then it stops, they having brought down the deer they were chasing. The party, of course, doesn’t know this. They are just shitting themselves by this point, this early in the adventure! They see an inn in the distance. The gates in the walls are locked. The ferryhouse, unlocked, shows signs of a struggle and blood, if investigated. Getting in through the side doors of the walls, the party hears unhappy horses from the stables through the storm, and sounds of laughter and mirth from the inn.
What the adventure does very well is create tension and go back and forth between creating suspicion and plausible explanations. The horses could be loud because of the storm. The laughter in the inn dies when the party knocks on the door … which is to be expected. The innkeeper is portly and gruff, having well to do guests staying and not wanting the parties kind tonight. The roadwardern inside asks the party questions. A worker mops the floor. And … theres a mutie in the stable hayloft munching on the dead stable boy. The worker is actually mopping up blood. The portly innkeep is a fat mutie. The roadwardens outfit has bloodstain at the base of his back. The floor upstairs to the common room is wet … hmmm, are those remnants of carpet where the hallway wood is now? Was a carpet just pulled up?
Suspicion. Plausible deniability. Things that makes sense. With alternative facts …
The adventure does this sort of brooding and tension building very very well.
It also does a great job with its monster descriptions. Short and good. A beastman with a cattlehead (with a great little illustration) andmutie descriptions that are both short and decent enough to run with. A great description of a little situation and enough personality and mannerisms for the DM to run with it pretty well.
And it makes a lot, A LOT, of bad decisions.
To begin with, the location key. You get the standard numbered map. In a nice surprise, there’s a little key on the map to tell you which room is which. Room 11 is the stable, for example. But, then, the adventure text doesn’t use the numbers. It uses the room names. SO you have to go find “Bedroom” in the text. And it’s not in alpahbetical order. Instead it’s in some kind of plot order. The party will be outside first, as they approach the inn, so the ferry and stable are outside he inn, and the party might explore there first, so those descriptions come first. Then, in some fucked up decision that only its mother could love, we get a background/introduction section that explains what is going on in the rinn, what has happened and what will happen, kind of. Then we get the main floor inn descriptions. Them ots assumed the party goes upstairs to sleep, cause thats where the loose plot is taking us, so we then get the description of the upstairs of the inn. Then, more plot/timeline stuff and the cellar of the inn is described. It’s a completely fucke dup way to describe the place. Yeah, I get it. I get what is trying to be done. Butit’s nonsense. The monsters/staff/etc are all mixed up in there. This experimental formatting is NOT good. Room/Key format is not perfect for every adventure, but it DOES help you find things easier. Unlike this mess.
It’s also a little handwavey in areas that I think could have emphasized better. Cutting down the word count (A LOT) would have focused better what’s remaining, in the DM’s head. Emphasizing the storm and the chaos/sounds it creates would have gone a long way. As would more advice on playing up suspicion and plausible deniability. Teasing the entire thing out just a bit more. Maybe an order of batt;e/advice section for how things could go down in a couple of situations, just a few sentences each.
In short, it’s an open ended situation. That’s GREAT. But it could have been focused on that and provided some hints to the DM about how to run that and be organized around that, with better break outs of the NPC”s, clues, and little events like the blood mopping. Instead you get this fucked up little plot thingy going on instead of a proper timeline. ANd then it ends with the cops showing up and taking the worst read possible on the situation and the party getting a decent chunk of XP for explaining to them. This partis totally handwaved, with almost no more words than I have typed here. A little more on the cops would have been much appreciated, especially given the XP reward it comes with.
It’s a nice try, and I see the potential it has for a great night of gaming. Good concept here and one of the better “fucked up roadside inn” situations, but severely missing some things.
This is free at DriveThru.