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Other comments left for this publisher:
Lost on the Road
by Michael S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/23/2014 09:30:40
I have yet to play this game, but reading through it, it seems well thought out and very easy to follow. One feature I like is that it includes a timeline of how long each scene should play out, which would help keep events from getting bogged down. I plan on playing this as a one shot adventure of sorts and look forward to seeing my players tackle the challenge.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Lost on the Road
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Train Ride Into Darkness
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/25/2013 08:08:37
Originally posted at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2013/06/25/tabletop-review-train-r-
ide-into-darkness/

I don’t normally review audio products for our tabletop section, but when I saw Train Ride Into Darkness, I knew I really wanted to listen to it for two big reasons. The first is I that I had just finished talking about Night of the Vampire for the Mystara setting of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, and the second is that the combination of the train plus track dedicated to the Great Old One, Shub-Niggurath, had me thinking this would be an excellent set of background tracks to use with Chaosium’s Horror On the Orient Express, which will be reprinted for 7th Edition in a few months. Let’s take a look at what you get.

For $4.95, you’re getting nine MP3s and two title cards, which can be folded and then fit into a CD case. One is in black and white, while the other is in full colour. I prefer the color one simply because it’s prettier. Hey, not every comment I make can be an insightful analysis, right?

The combined playtime of the nine MP3s is approximately thirty-three minutes, which some might find a little short, but you’re also getting the collection for fifty-five cents per track, which is a good deal in the age of the ninety-nine cent iTunes track, and far better than when gaming soundtracks were a popular fad. You could have paid twenty dollars for a collection of this length back in the 90s! All of the tracks in this collection are well done and a lot of fun. Each track does loop a lot, so don’t go into this expecting to hear a full length song by an orchestra. You’re getting background noise to enhance your campaign. Again, mileage may vary. If your players enjoy an immersive experience, this will definitely be up their alley. If they are easily distracted or you’re playing on Skype, this might not be the best choice for your troupe. I should also point out that some of the names on the Train Card insert do NOT match up with the actual names of the tracks, so you might want to change them or make a note. For example, Track 9 on the insert is called, “The Invocation To Shub-Niggurath,” while the actual track name that shows up on whatever MP3 player you use is “The Ritual.” Something like that could have been easily prevented, but it’s also a minor flub, so I’m willing to let it slide.

Here’s a quick list of each of the tracks.

1. Steam Train Leaving Station – 0:39. Exactly what you would expect. You get a shrill whistle and the sound of an actual train chugging away.

2. Steam Train Traveling – 5:04. Again, exactly what you would expect. Five minutes of a train moving. No background music. Hard to listen to on its own, but it will do a great job of fleshing out your train based adventure.

3. Steam Train Arriving at Station – 0:40. No explanation needed.

4. Ticking – 6:03. Called “Ticking Bomb” in the actual file, this really is just six minutes of ticking. I think it would drive players nuts after a while. Which may be the intent the Keeper is looking for…

5. Night Sounds – 8:59. Background noises of crickets and other nocturnal insects, basically. Great white noise.

6. Dark Young Hooting – 0:07. It sounds like an Owl run through a vocorder. It’s short and weird. Players will either like it or laugh from it. It depends on when and how it is used. This track could also be used as, well, an owl.

7. Conflagration – 4:39. Called “Fire” in the actual file, this is four and a half minutes of a nice crackling fire. Again, great background noise with multiple uses, including white noise.

8. Dark Young Moving and Hooting – 1:44. A different hoot from Track 6. I love the weird creepy rustling noises the track uses as the movement of a Dark Young. This track loops a lot, but it’s short enough that it stays effective.

9. The Invocation to Shub-Niggurath – 5:18. This track is quite long, and the constant looping makes sense, since it is a ritual. The acting is a little wooden/monotone, but it works. I admit I was expecting something a little more passionate/crazy sounding, but just because this isn’t what I had in mind doesn’t mean it isn’t effective.

All in all, I really enjoyed this collection. Several of the tracks are versatile enough to use with many different adventures, and I really do want to break some of these out with Horror on the Orient Express to see what players think. If you’re a fan of using sound effects and background noise in your campaign, Train Ride Into Darkness is well worth considering picking up, especially if you like to play horror RPGs.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Train Ride Into Darkness
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Lost on the Road
by Matthew T. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/25/2012 20:30:58
Lost on the Road – Andre Kruppa


This one-session scenario for 4-6 players, by Andre Kruppa of Game Soapbox, presents a story of mounting wonder, tension, and entrapment where players must uses all their cunning, puzzle-solving abilities, and role-playing skills to survive. Though system-less, Lost on the Road is very thorough and detailed, making it easy to adapt to any system or even run free-form. The story too, while nominally placed in 1930’s New England may be set in nearly any time or place the GM’s desires. It may also be dropped neatly into an on-going campaign though, as the author warns, the adventure had at least 50% lethality in playtest.

The story is broken into 3 acts and throughout Mr. Kruppa offers clear summaries, background information, and staging advice, even including estimated playtimes for each scene. A detailed listing of all the NPCs, optional pre-generated PCs, a wealth of player handouts and GM aids (maps, letters, helpful summaries, etc.) complete this scenario. The PDF uses a mix of pleasing fonts, is illustrated with thematic photographs and stock-art, and thoughtfully comes in both a color and a black-&-white version.

SPOILERS AHEAD




The adventure sees the player-characters investigating the disappearance of a good friend, only to fall victims to same fate: entrapment within into the fairy-tale realm of the Fae-like Elder Ones. Only through a combination of trickery, bravery, and cunning can the PCs hope to see their own world again.

Act 1 sets the mood for the game with subtle hints and strange occurrences. There is a lot of set-up in this act and not a lot of opportunity for role-playing. Also the last scene ends with the PCs being taken prisoner, which some players may find frustrating. Still, handled with care, I believe the slow build-up can be fun and intriguing.

Act 2 brings the PCs into the castle of the “Elder Ones” and the heart of the adventure. Here the party meets these powerful and alien “hosts” (the Lord and Lady, the cruel Secretary, the conniving Crone, the babbling Mad One) as well as other mortal “guests” (a true knight, a blind harpist, an arrogant story-teller). After a feast, where they meet the assembled company, the PCs (if they behave themselves) are free to wander the pocket realm in which they are trapped. The PCs must gather information from various NPCs, including their missing friend (now transformed into a cat by one of the capricious Elder Ones). This is a vital act; violent, stubborn, or taciturn players may find that they do not have the needed resources to successfully survive act 3 (and may not even survive act 2). The GM must also strive to make clear the cruelty and danger of life in the castle, otherwise some PCs may decide to live out their days in the Elder Ones’ gilded cage.

After the build-up of act 1 and the resource gathering of act 2, act 3 hinges entirely on the actions of players. As such it is very open-ended. The goal is escape, but this can be secured only with permission of an Elder One. And since the Elder Ones are much too powerful to oppose directly, the players must be clever indeed to see their homes again. Several strategies are suggested include: recovering a Cold Iron sword capable of killing the Elder Ones, discovering and using the True Names of the Elder Ones, and striking Faustian bargains with the wicked creatures.

Lost on the Road is an unusual but solid adventure requiring a healthy mix of social, mental, and artistic adroitness from the players as well as the GM. The NPC write-ups are detailed and very important for a proper running of the scenario. Setting the proper mood is very important for this game, but the numerous player handouts and Mr. Kruppa’s advice and read-aloud texts makes things easier. Pacing may be an issue as some players may feel constrained by the earlier scenes and a GM should be prepared for this.

Finally, I can’t help thinking Lost on the Road would make an excellent prologue for a game of Changeling: the Lost.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Lost on the Road
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