[Attention: As this is a review of an adventure it will contain a description of plot details.]
<Chicago Workings> is a 40 page adventure for the World of Darkness setting by White Wolf. This ghost story/supernatural thriller is written by Ken Hite and retails for $7.99. This is a watermarked PDF, it contains no bookmarks.
This product could be broken up into five sections. The first section is the introduction and background to this adventure. It opens with a reflection on the bloody history of Chicago and the nature of how the city is laid out. The adventure itself is the struggle between two geomancers for the heart of the city itself and how the heroes interact with this conflict. The basic organizing feature of this module is an adherence to geometic mysticism or sacred geometry. The backstory is quite detailed and there is a primer on sacred geometry for those not familiar with the topic. There are also many helpful suggestions for the mood and theme of this adventure as well as ideas for adapting this adventure to a Vampire, Werewolf, Mage or Promethean campaign (albeit brief). This section closes with a detailed look at the major storyteller characters and antagonists.
The adventure breaks down into three acts with a total of 8 scenes. Each act could be considered a section of this product.
The first act called the <foundation>. The author offers a couple of tips to speed up the process of the first chapter and ways to help make Mr. Ellsworth likeable. The story doesn?t really get rolling until the third scene but the bonding between Ellsworth and the characters is needed for further plot development. The basics of act break down as follows: Scene 1 ? meet Mr. Ellsworth, Scene 2 ? establish Mr. Ellsworth?s belief in sacred geometry, and Scene 3 ? kill Mr. Ellsworth and allow the characters to potentially encounter one of Mr. Burgress?s Minions. This section of the adventure is fairly linear. If scene 1 and 2 seem too forced to play in order, if you do not want to compress time as the author suggests you could introduce Scene 1 or 2 during another story and then start this one on scene 3.
The second act called <Getting Chicago Working>. In this section there are four non-linear scenes. One scene involves the player?s meeting with Richard who betrayed Mr. Ellsworth and is indirectly responsible for his death. One scene involves investigating a Burgess property, like the one that Richard now lives in. There is great potential risk to the players if they do not handle this scene well. A third scene involves laying Mr. Ellsworth?s body within his geometric matrix buy convincing a home owner to let him be buried on the property and the final scene involves the characters becoming in-tune with Mr. Ellsworth?s matrix and finding that their troubles aren?t quite over yet.
The third act called <Demolishing>. This final act and scene allows for the character?s attempt to remove Mr. Burgress?s corrupting influence from the city of Chicago by desecrating his resting place. As this is the original location of it is well guarded by dogs, agents and minions. This will be a physically dangerous encounter for the characters before Mr. Burgess uses any of his ghostly powers. The chapter ends with suggestions for follow-up encounters based on the actions of storyteller characters or resolution of the characters actions. There is a new merit introduced and a section on awarding experience.
The last section of this book is a series of eight cards (one for each scene). Each card indicated the relative difficulty of the scene by mental, physical or social mean. It lists hindrances that the players may face or help they could receive. It also lists the goals you have as a storyteller for that scene and the goals that the players have for that scene. It?s a nice sort of addition because if you know the adventure well enough you could use these cards as cues instead of using the adventure as a firm script.
I really appreciate the scene design format that was used in this product. Each scene has an overview, storyteller goals and tips, character goals, actions and outcomes. This pattern is repeated whether the scene involved mental, physical or social tasks and this makes it easy to pick up the jist of the scene quickly. There is also an number of incidences of <character speak> to make sure the NPCs get across what is needed to be conveyed as well as providing examples of what dramatic failure, failure, success and exceptional success should result in.
LIKED: Easy to use scene format makes this an easy module for newbie Storytellers or Storytellers who want more structure.
A ghost story that has something physical for my player's to thwart.
DISLIKED: Where are the bookmarks?
VALUE: Very Satisfied