Originally posted at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2012/02/27/tabletop-review-toys-for-the-sandbox-the-coachmans-inn/
From the title page: “A coach from the North arrives at The Coachman’s Inn at Grillina crossroads. The inn is a nefarious place known for politics and deal making [sic] even less savory”; thus opens this small nugget of role-playing source material from Occult Moon Games, who has released a series of such booklets (in PDF form) to date. This particular one is presented with a nice green background, but I would prefer if it were simply a blank background to make printing it a little cleaner.
The 7-page booklet consists of a title page, a map, a page of general setting information, two pages of plot hooks, one and a half pages of characters, and a half-page consisting of two tables: one for random rumors to be heard and one for items being sold in the market. The plot hooks range from simple to possibly very involved, and from the mundane to the strange (e.g. the flaming ghost of a man wrongly executed). The characters are pretty straightforward, with four distinct personalities and places in the ecology of the inn.
Players traveling to the inn will no doubt encounter Julian Fairlight, the proprietor and primary pie-slice-taker for anyone who dares make some coin in the vicinity. There is much coin to be made, as the inn is practically surrounded with a living tent-city, filled to the brim with merchants on any given day.
What Do I Think?
This may be a useful supplement for anyone who likes to drop things into their campaign, or possibly even extrapolate their own campaign or session from the bits of plot presented in this booklet. I find the most interesting and useful thing to be the setting information and plot hooks, the other things are marginally useful. The map is a bit cumbersome, as it shows the inn and some surrounding buildings in one corner, and then a TON of tents, more than could possibly be needed. A few lines point to “burned tents” and one misplaced line (one end is right in the middle of the words) points out Fairlight’s tent. Why would Fairlight need a tent? Why doesn’t he live in the inn? This (to me) is one of the inconsistencies of the little volume that you may notice if you read through it. Another small complaint of mine is that in the setting information it says that the inn “stretches over the borders of four powerful kingdoms,” which I think should have been left out because it takes away from the isolation (and thus the flexibility) of the module; not to mention that any GM not using this as a basis for a game world is going to completely ignore that information anyway.
Overall it presents some fun ideas, and if you ignore a few things here and there you can easily drop this into any setting, even in a busy city. Despite an illustration error and some unpolished writing, this has the potential to provide enough bang for your buck.