Orientation is an introductory adventure module for the Hope Preparatory School (HPS) setting for ICONS. HPS is a school dedicated to the gifted and filled with high-school age kids who attend school just like everyone else. Orientation is meant to bring the characters, and the other freshman, into the school by walking them through the building, getting them involved with some activities, introducing them to the staff, and meeting their fellow students. It serves as an easy hook to get the characters together and provides a reason for the Game Master to begin driving the campaign.
In addition to the adventure module, Orientation contains a map of the entire school, stats for staff members, stats for new adversaries, stats for upperclassmen, and some pre-generated characters to fill the gaps (where needed.) Orientation serves as a starting point for a full campaign, following the characters through their years at HPS.
If you’re looking for a starting point for an HPS campaign, Orientation is exactly what you need. It brings everybody into the setting smoothly, and lays the groundwork for an ongoing campaign. It is an introductory, and really cannot be used otherwise. However, it makes a very good introduction.
Publication Quality: 8 out of 10
Orientation follows a lot of the high-quality standards set by the Freshman Handbook, with several little things. The included illustrations are good, sometimes oddly sized or placed. The layout and formatting is clean, although there are several spots where the spacing or indentation made it tricky to read. I also don’t find the order of content outside of the adventure completely ideal, but it’s still usable and easy to read. Overall, the quality is still high.
Storyline: 8 out of 10
Considering Orientation is more of a primer and ultimate beginning point to a campaign rather than a way to kick-off the main story-arc in the campaign, the storyline is pretty good. The story moves forward nicely but there is no real story development outside of the encounters. However, they support the look and feel of orientation at high school and fit the concept quite well.
Desire to Play: 9 out of 10
If you keep in mind that Orientation is an absolute starting point for a campaign, following the characters through their years at HPS, it’s a great way to introduce the players to the school. This is enhanced by the fact that Orientation includes a map of the school along with some more staff members. If you treat Orientation as something more than the lowest level of introduction, you may find it difficult to incorporate into your campaign. It’s a great starting point, and that’s what it should be used as.
Overall: 8 out of 10
Orientation is a good introductory adventure for HPS. It allows the characters to build some synergy as a group, introduces them to the various staff members, gives them an idea of how the school is laid-out, and gets them involved with the rest of the student body. It’s not designed for use outside of being introductory and serves as a launch point for a full campaign through the characters years in school. Orientation can be thought of as the ultimate welcome to Hope Preparatory School, the setting and the school.