Browse Categories
Pay What You Want

Khorforjan Gambit $7.99
Publisher: Sword's Edge Publishing
by Jim C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/02/2006 00:00:00

This adventure is quite different from the previous two Albenistan episodes, but in many ways the same quality of intense attention to local detail works well in this structure also. "Raid on Ashkashem" is just what the title implies, and there's nothing wrong with that, but this is a more complex urban, event-based adventure that requires interaction with many NPCs, good, bad and wavering.

The adventure works around a detailed, carefully balanced timeline of events that includes some successes and setbacks for the terrorists and the international forces alike (particularly some action by the Bravo Section NPCs, who I understand were actually the playtest characters), but ultimately will end in disaster unless the PCs can make a difference to the outcome.

The adventure assumes the same PC group of special forces head-kickers carried through from the previous episodes and the set encounters are combat-based, but it also rewards a quieter style of undercover work, rewarding a group who can make allies, talk to the locals and figure out the intricacies of a complex conspiracy. edit: Just a word about the plot hooks presented for alternate entries to the scenario, which range from brilliant (making the PCs a group of hapless Albenistani Intelligence agents) to poorly thought out (changing the Device to an artwork being smuggled out, which is hardly consistent with the shooting war with the UN peacekeepers that's integral to the timeline).

The city of Khorforjan is a well-detailed struggling post-Soviet centre, with definite poverty, criminality and dangers, but also signs of hope and friendship that the players may find worth defending. There's not a clear division here into sullen locals and gallant Western allies, but opportunities to find either help or obstruction on both sides. The NPCs have well-developed motivations and areas of skill that actually prove vital to the plot (with the possible exception of Kamilov, whose stats I don't think reflect the part that he plays in the timeline).

In concrete terms, the ZIP provides a full-graphic and graphic-free version (the latter goes beyond what would normally be described as "print-friendly"), both bookmarked, plus a RTF file containing the Open Game Content for the product. Editing is decent but has let through some odd word choices. There are a number of decent maps, but their key numbers are not carried through to the text, which itself is laid out in an order that's not easy to grasp on first reading, in places. In particular the locality descriptions (Chapter 2) refer constantly to events in the timeline (Chapter 3) and would have been easier to follow if presented in the opposite order.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br><BR>[THIS REVIEW WAS EDITED]<BR>

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Thank you for the review, which was obviously well-considered and thoughtful. The high rating is an added bonus to the extremely detailed review. Thanks again! Fraser