Posted on May 1, 2009 by spikexan
Once upon a time, my friend David ran a Delta Green game. David was a huge fan of the in-game prop, especially when it came to this particular campaign. If our clues were photographs, we generally had photographs in our paws. If the clue was a recording of some nature, then we also received that. I mention this because White Wolf’s new Collection of Horrors line appears to follow in his beliefs that props are good things. CoH is associated with the Hunter the Vigil line as each entry describes a scene (using the SAS platform) that can either be fitted into an already existing campaign, spark a new campaign, or simply fill up a night’s worth of gaming.
As of this writing there are thirteen PDFs associated with this project (a couple more if you count the introduction module and Horror Recognition Guide). Since each project comes in at around seven pages, I’ll combine the entire lot of them and try not to spoil any of the fun extras embedded within the PDFs. The files I’m reviewing are:
Getting Her Back
Body of Evidence
Good for the Soul
Mother of All Wrong Turns
Mother to Monsters
Each of these modules are $1.49 PDFs and come in at seven pages. The first page is the colored cover page while the second is the black-white version of the exact same page. At this point, you’re really only looking at five usable pages. Each module contains the same horizontal layout, which contains the scene, various goals, a key dice roll, the chief NPC’s character sheet, and a prop of some nature. For example, Razorkids has an embedded audio file while Good for the Soul has two fliers.
Some of the material in these files directly links to Hunter the Vigil or the Horror Recognition Guide, a behemoth of props and stories for any Hunter campaign. Most are self-contained entities that sometimes seems a bit too short. Each focus on one primary roll, the throw of the dice that pretty much is going to happen no matter how the group alters the scene.
In Meeting the Frostbite Girl, this dice throw is an ambush on the players. These scenes can be woven together, although I doubt any story would make much sense if all of these were woven together. Ambitious Storytellers could prove me wrong.
The scene format works well because the writing in each of the packets is top notch. With such a small amount of material to focus upon, the editorial light burns with laser precision and leaves a near-perfect end product. Using these “tools” correctly can lead to the completion of some truly excellent games. The shame is if the scenes don’t inspire the reader. There are thirteen so far and the majority were creative reads. The trick for most people is figuring out which ones are right for them based on the fiction in their descriptions (there is another way to learn what is in a packet, but you’ll have to figure it out on your own).
One nice thing about these focused scenes is that, despite their fixation, these adventures won’t really railroad players. Most of the scenes are open, not closed. Once the chief action takes place, players will be able to run wildly in reaction. This is doubly true when these scenes are cleanly added to an already established campaign.
I am not going to grade each of the modules because it boils down to a level of personal taste. All I’ll say is that the layout for each of these scenes is consistent and makes sense. I feel like the shortness of each will ultimately lead people to purchasing the full SAS adventures instead of mere scenes. The props are a great workable idea. Even though the audio-laced files seem like the better deal, some of the pure printed props are well-done. I’d suggest trying four or so out, just to whet your appetite. Use them in a Hunter campaign or try them out in something wholly different. Either way, I think these scenes will please most Storytellers.
Most importantly, have fun.
Review by Todd Cash