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The Road to Revolution: The Skullcrackers $6.99 $5.80
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The Road to Revolution: The Skullcrackers
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The Road to Revolution: The Skullcrackers
Publisher: 0one Games
by Paco G. J. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/17/2011 11:07:16

This review was written by Thilo Graf and first published in GMS Magazine

This pdf is from 0one Games is 43 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page blank inside front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of advertisements, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving 35 pages of adventure, so let’s check it out!

Layout adheres to the clear and concise 0one-games-two-column-standard, the pdf is extensively bookmarked and comes with free colour-versions of the hand-outs (and broadsides that are put up throughout the city) in a separate pdf and also has its own conversion notes to make the adventure compatible with PFRPG. Editing is good – I only noticed one glitch.

This being an adventure review, SPOILERS will continue to abound, so potential players please jump to the conclusion and stop reading NOW.

….

Still here?

All right! The PCs stumble across the body of Malkan Abberbaugh, who was supposedly murdered by wild animals in a park – not everything is as it seems, though, and the PCs will hit a brick wall of bureaucratic red tape by the army, who wants to keep the death under wraps. After having the corpse taken away, the PCs can track it to Grang’s Crematorium, where they’ll be met with a rather uncooperative fellow. Why? Well, turns out ol’ Grang has turned to cannibalism and enjoys his meals with a gourmet ghoul. Yep, you heard it. Cool, isn’t it? We get a map for the crematorium and once the PCs have infiltrated the place and analyse the corpse, they’ll notice that both druids and their animals definitely are innocent of the murder and will continue to army ward, where Marcus Galwatty, a sergeant tries to block them and intimidate them to keep away from the investigation.

A full blown bar brawl can also see the PCs accused of murder and arrested and after asking around town in this free play-style sandboxy setting, the PCs will have encountered the legendary alchemist Mafurin and his coat-with-tails-wearing Troll Werewolf-bodyguard Hulg. Via the street urchin Eddie Gin or some other means, the PCs will meet a guy called Grosh One-Ear, who claims that a member of the Dragon Claws-gang has murdered Abberbaugh. A member of said gang will contact the PCs and claim that rogue members are responsible. After a short mini-crawl in the sewers (with its own map), the PCs will again be contacted by the Dragon Claw, who points them towards to true culprits, a subsection of the army called Skullcrackers that dominate illegal fight clubs in the residential ward. In this climate of racial tensions, they will venture into smuggler’s tunnels to find a lost piece of jewellery for a member of a crossroads club serving a shrine spirit. Should they survive their trek into the subterranean tunnels, they’ll have their final clue, the identity of the killer. In a cinematic and highly unusual finale, the PCs go to the fight club and take out the deadly dwarven wererat rogue and his henchmen while bets are flung on the outcome and the crowd is cheering – in any way, a cool and rather uncommon finale.

Conclusion:

This investigation is very interesting in the fact that it’s not strictly linear and has several tools for the GM to keep it going in both the NPCs and the encounters. The adventure is fast-paced and has some cool, iconic backdrops and immediately sets a tone of mistrust and paranoia that will continue to spiral out of control during the course of the campaign arc. The NPCs and critters are sufficiently unique and cool and the adventure is uncommon enough to provide something different and thankfully humanoid-centric for the PCs to enjoy. The only weak point of the story is that the PCs should have a serious stake in the murder to not be disheartened by the red tape that is flung at them. My players would love that, but Some players might be annoyed. Diligence triumphs in the end, though, and the DM can always throw the PCs a bone with the plethora of NPCs integrated into the plot.

My final verdict will be 5 stars, a great adventure to kick off the road to revolution. Personally, I prefer “A Pound of Flesh”, but you could always play that one after the Skullcrackers.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Road to Revolution: The Skullcrackers
Publisher: 0one Games
by Dark M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/20/2010 00:41:57

The Skull Crackers by 0Onegames

This product is 43 pages long. It starts with a cover, blank page, credits and ToC. (4 pages)

Next it moves into a adventure summery and overview. This is the first part of a six part adventure series that takes place in the Great City campaign setting, also by 0Onegames. The adventure is for 1st level characters and should take characters to 3rd level by the end. The over view of the adventure is a murder investigation, but there is a underlining greater story arc going on that involves the rest of the adventures in the series. (2 pages)

Chapter 1 – The Body (2 ½ pages) This involves finding the body and getting involved in the investigation. It is not all social, but I won't spoil while.

Chapter 2 – Grang's Crematorium and Casket Shop (6 pages) After the first part most of the rest of the adventure can be done in any order depending on the PC's actions. It is a very sand box style investigation. So this may not be their second encounter. This is about the PC's wanting to see the body to examine it.

Chapter 3 – You're in the Army Now (3 ½ pages) This section is if the PC's talk to the military(the dead was a soldier) about their findings or the city watch. There is a follow up encounter afterward's as well.

Chapter 4 – Asking Around Town (2 ½ pages) This is if the PC's ask around town about the goings on they have uncovered up to this point. Mostly a social encounter section.

Chapter 5 – The Sewers (5 pages) This is where the investigation has pointed to a local gang and where they confront the gang about it. It involves having a mini dungeon crawl to learn vital information.

Chapter 6 – Residential Ward (2 pages) Part of this section can happen at any time and part of it only after some of the previous parts have happened. The final set encounter will lead the investigation to the next part.

Chapter 7 – Smugglers Tunnels (4 ½ pages) This part is another favor the PC's are asked to do for the information they need for the investigation. This is a mini dungeon crawl.

Chapter 8 – I Smell a Rat (4 pages) This is the section where the PC's finally track down the killer and solve the case. I won't get into details even vague ones as it would ruin the mystery.

Appendix – New Creatures (2 pages) 1 new monster a cerebral bat. Full stat blocks and history for the new monster.

It closes with 1 page handout, OGL, 2 pages of ads and back cover. (5 pages)

Closing thoughts. I liked the adventure but then I like urban and mystery adventures. The artwork is good black and white line art. It has a nice mix of social encounters and combat ones. It is also a nice intro adventure for the Great City campaign setting as it introduces you to several area's around the city. For the most part the hooks to follow the investigation from section to section are good, certainly good enough with at most minor tweaks the DM can make sure they players are able to follow it. The only real weak spot in the adventure I saw was the first plot hook to get involved. It is a decent one and I think most PC's would bite, but I don't think all would with out a little nudging from the DM.

Other than that one little negative I think it is a well done urban mystery adventure. I am going to give this one a 4.5 star rating. It was very good but not great. Well worth picking up if you like urban or mystery adventures.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Road to Revolution: The Skullcrackers
Publisher: 0one Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/08/2009 07:28:13

This is the first in a six-part campaign arc set in The Great City, already painstakingly mapped and described by 0one Games, and is written for beginning characters. Although it's never stated, the impression is that they are not native to the city, but may have been there for a while - long enough, at least, to be able to find their way around.

The adventure is set amidst a background of seething unrest and incipient rebellion. While such political upheaval is being formented by others of greater import than a bunch of low-level characters, their actions in this (and following episodes) are likely to prove pivotal.

Events begin with a murder investigation, into the death by violence of a junior army officer. Several ideas for getting the characters embroiled in the action are supplied, or the nature of your players may suggest others of your own. The investigation takes the characters through the underbelly of the city, and culminates in a clandestine fight club, where the action in the ring gets masked by an all-out brawl amongst the spectators!

Investigative adventures, by their very nature, tend to the linear as the characters unravel a clue chain to lead them to the truth. To avoid it appearing too linear from a player perspective, once the first part - the discovery of a suspicious corpse - is over and the characters have got (by whatever means you choose) involved, the next three parts of the investigation can be run in any order as the characters visit the right places and talk to the right people; they'll end up at the final part of the plot anyway! The DM is thus encouraged to be thoroughly familiar with what is going on in all locations, as well as to have a good working knowledge of the Great City, so that he can present matters seamlessly whatever path the characters choose to follow.

However, do not fear that this adventure is too cerebral for the majority of players, combat can occur around any corner... and will be necessary for the characters to complete their investigations. There's a good balance between having to talk to people and having to fight them, with a fair few 'monsterous' foes thrown in for good measure... and some sneaking around for the more stealthy and devious characters to enjoy.

The main phases of the investigation are well-written. Everyone featured has their own life to lead, building up an impressive alternate reality which will be of use after the adventure is over - should they survive, they'll still be there doing their own thing. Another nice touch are the Broadsides. A local entrepreneur has taken to printing news-posters and distributing them around town. Several examples are provided, and it's an idea you can utilise to insert your own plot hooks as well.

Overall, this is an excellent adventure in which a lot is going on, giving the characters a chance to become deeply embedded in the life of the city.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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