Posted on July 6, 2005 by Flames
Written by Clash Bowley and El Zambo (Flying Mice, LLC.)
In order to fully understand a game, there is nothing better than having the opportunity to run an adventure written by the game’s creators. The Prouty Island Adventure, available through RPGNow as a pdf, offers a lot in terms of history, setting, and enough content for an ongoing campaign.
To date, I’ve run this scenario three times. Every time I’ve run Prouty Island, I’ve had different experiences with my players.
The story is fairly linear, and could be completed in one to two four-hour sessions. The ending is very clear cut. Although I didn’t like the fact there is only one ending to this scenario, I have to say I was extremely impressed with the rest of the story. Perfect for players interested in a slightly different twist on dark fantasy, there are enough horrific elements to keep them bewildered and baffled right up until the end. And although the mystery has one, happy solution the players have any number of ways to get there. This is the adventure’s strength, in my opinion, for there are lots of goodies to explore on Prouty Island. There’s a rambling old house, a lighthouse, beaches, not to mention that good, old-fashioned New England chill that seeps into your bones. My players weren’t sure if that chill came from the ghosts or from the icy Atlantic. The maps were amazing and greatly detailed. I was ready to break out the minis in my last session as my players decided to split up and explore different parts of the house.
There is a ton of back-story in this 36 page adventure. So much so, that your players may or may not uncover all of it. Like an old painting that needs to be restored, much of the player’s discovery comes from their decision-making – some of which is based on dreams or visions that occur in and around the house. Within the adventure, there are several options for the GM to decide when and where the players should have visions. I felt that the author was a little too “hands-on” when writing these parts, because in game it was definitely not necessary to play out all of the visions. The concept of time isn’t really explained in the scenario. As a result, my players never dared to fall asleep so I never used the dreams. However, the visions were a great tool to enhance mood and give my players something to chew on while they rambled about the old house.
This adventure really shows what Blood Games can be: a virtually diceless game. At times I felt that I had to force my players to roll something, only because they were all getting into the story. Characters are provided with the demo; I liked the fact stats were pre-calculated for the players. Some of the players had special abilities which were not explained on the character sheet. I took a little creative liberty with that issue. All my players wanted to have some expertise within their stats, so I gave them each one so they wouldn’t feel left out. Because I was running demos, I really wanted to allow them to use some of their other powers in order to get a flavor for the game. Every time I ran Prouty Island, the Visions and my players’ ingenuity took away the need for special abilities.
Writing, layout, and art are all superb. I printed off the pdf and I was surprised it didn’t suck all the ink out of my printer. The flavor text was placed at the beginning and the end of the adventure. I felt that was a great spot for it as it was easy to recognize. The art has a watery-textured feel to it, which also adds to the setting. I was happy that there was just enough art to add to the story, but not so much that it detracted from it.
Overall, I felt torn by this adventure because I felt it gave a good feel for the Blood Games setting by directing the GM what to do and where to go. This is definitely a scenario that a GM with little to no experience would be comfortable with. On the other hand, I felt that the mechanics did very little to add to the experience here because if I would have included some of the character’s enhanced abilities they would have blown through the adventure in under two hours.
Prouty Island has some amazing setting and story content but needs a little work to be run in more than one or two sessions. Offered for $3.00 on RPGNow, Prouty Island is better (and cheaper) than a lot of the adventures I’ve seen out on the market. Light on fluff, heavy on content, GMs would definitely find something useful out of this adventure.
Reviewer: Monica Valentinelli
Look for Blood Games eBooks at RPGNow.com.