It took a while, but finally the second Short Assignment for Covert Ops with the title “Olympus Rising” has been released by DWD Studios.
The 23 Page PDF has the familiar clear and good looking layout you are used to for DwD Studio Titles. While the adventure does not contain any artwork it does have several detailed, full color maps that look really good. Much better than the in from Burning Presidents did, a real jump in quality. For convenience the download ZIP contains all of them in player and Gm variants as PNG or JPG for easy rescaling and printing for your needs, or use in a Virtual TableTop like Roll20 or Fantasy Grounds. Something I really appreciate since most of my gaming is online these days. And it makes it easy to reuse the maps, even if you do not run the adventure as written.
I do not want to say too much about the plot, but it has a tie in with “Burning Presidents”, the first Short Assignment. It is absolutely not required to play them in order because it is a very thin link and something a lot of players may have overlooked in the original adventure anyway. Still, it ties them together nicely and also lays the groundwork to show that there is a bigger threat hidden somewhere and the players only begin to discover that in “Olympus Rising”. They won’t uncover much though and I imagine that story will continue in the next short assignment, creating a nice campaign arc.
The adventure itself is really much more location descriptions than anything else, it is correctly billed as a small sandbox adventure. The players get a mission, some information, some maps and are sent off to figure out what and how to do it on their own. An approach I absolutely prefer as it allows the players and the GM the most freedom. There are 2 main Locations to investigate and both are interesting and very fitting to the genre.
The first location has the most detail including maps of the area with patrol routes. Sadly not all areas in this first part got a map, so there is some improvisation required. However These areas are not really critical to the mission. Still, would have been nice. The mission critical areas have a description that is enough to get you going but not so much detail it suffocates you. Everything else is left up to you to fill in. All the information given is enough to have the players approach this area however they like, via, stealth, force or undercover, and the GM should be able to handle it.
The second area is a bit thin and it is a noticeable difference in the amount of details provided. This section is only 2,5 pages long, plus maps. It is assumed that this area is more of an undercover affair. There are tips on how to approach it differently as well though. The Lack of detail hurts though and it might have been better to spin the whole thing off into a separate mission, or at least give it some more space. I can´t help but feel there are things missing.
Operation “Olympus Rising” is a mixed bag. While I appreciate the sandbox approach to the adventure it does run counter to the claim of “short missions that require little preparation time for the GM”. In this regard Burning Presidents was the better of the two. Here a lot is left to the GM as the author tries to describe a relatively big mission area in as few pages as possible. All the necessary parts to run it are there, but many details you will need to deliver yourself. Depending how comfortable you are at improvisation this will be a light prep adventure for you or barely a framework you have to really invest time in. Most GMs fall somewhere in between the two extremes.
If you need more fodder for your espionage campaign go ahead and give “Olympus Rising” a whirl. It is a good product, especially at the price of 2,99 USD. The maps alone are worth the price of admission in my opinion. Still, there is some work to be done and it feels like something that has been cut out of a whole. I am eager to see the next part in the series though because it looks like they are building up to something, and I can´t wait to see what that is.