‘High Plains Drovers’ succeeds as both a stand-alone module and as the second part to this series. Whilst some minor adjustments will be necessary to make this work for a group of greenhorns, the prior knowledge which is absolutely essential is minimum, and can be easily imparted through the relevant NPCs.
As with Part 1 of the series, the PCs are still part of a group herding cattle across States to a parcel of land. The promise of a decent wage and a little excitement are paid in full during the adventure. Attention has been paid to make the scenarios in here quite different to the first installment, the developers clearly understand that there is only so much you can do with an adventure about herding cattle – and have worked quite hard to make it a worthwhile play experience.
What does work very well is that the Western motif is front and centre in every scenario, and the blend of ‘weird’ into ‘Weird West’ is done in a manner so as not to overwhelm the players. There is enough attention to the core genre that the supernatural elements are woven in effortlessly. There are supernatural bugs, mad scientists, bound ghosts, and the odd undead or two to keep the story ‘weird’ enough.
The challenges presented are interestingly pitched. I can see that the types of decisions made in the first volume of this campaign were mostly straightforward and would suit a new play group; but this adventure calls for a little more finesse. I’m sure that even new players who had worked their way through the first instalment would now have the confidence to tackle the problems they’ll face in ‘High Plains Drovers’. The set piece combat scenes should prove challenging, with plenty of scope for inventive characters to shine, but this is balanced against investigative and social scenes.
In all, it is a fine piece o’ work, and I now really want to see how this all ends.
[4 of 5 Stars!]