Originally posted at: http://diehardgamefan.com/201-
Another Rainy Night is what Catalyst Game Labs refers to as “enhanced fiction.” The phrase is basically fiction based on a game with a little something extra thrown in. We’ve seen this before. Remember the Magic: The Gathering Novels that came with cards (one of which ended up being worth a lot of dough)? Have you read any of the truly dreadful Arkham Horror novels that include a coupon for a special card for the game? It’s that sort of thing. In the case of Another Rainy Night, author Patrick Goodman gives you a ten page short story, which is then followed by five pages of stat blocks about the characters you just read about. The other four pages are the cover, two full page pieces of art and a Jackpoint entry which subtly pimps out Conspiracy Theories and Safehouses (both of which are for sale now!) along with “Gun Haven 2″ and “Magical Societies” – neither of which actually exist (although I’d love the latter just to see if The Black Lodge is run by BOB).
The fiction contained in Another Rainy Night is excellent. It’s a fun story that reminded me a lot of the old Chill game by Mayfair while still feeling like proper Sixth World fiction. I also liked that the story progressed like a piece of 20s pulp fiction, even though it didn’t read like one. This juxtaposition of elements and the Sixth World setting really helped the story to come alive. More importantly, it kept Another Rainy Night from feeling like yet another clichéd horror story. This last story will make more sense once you’ve read it, but I don’t want to spoil it. Let’s just say that the core plot hook is one I’ve read several hundred times but amazingly, it manages to feel fresh and interesting. That’s the mark of a good writer. It’s a bit coincidental that the next tabletop piece I’m reviewing after this is a WoD one though…
I’m interesting to see how much of this story is setting up future Sixth World plot lines. Will we learn more about Deacon and the plans he is setting in motion for example? Will the protagonists appear in another story or possible even in Jackpoint segments? I really liked everyone involved and I hope this won’t be a one-off for the two main characters.
The five pages of character stats gives you four characters. The art is a little weird. Lydia Bowden’s character art, for example, looks like she’s about to crack up laughing from the pose she is in and it doesn’t come across as intentional. Meanwhile Alice Bujold looks half elf and half D&D style Orc.
Overall I really loved Another Rainy Night and if CGL continues to do enhanced fiction, I think it would be a good idea to released a collected anthology version. My only real problem with Another Rainy Night is the cost. At $4.95, it’s more expensive than the Shadowrun Missions and even supplements like Safehouses – both of which are a little longer than this. I think a better price point would be $1.99 or $2.99 to put it in line with say, Kindle Singles. At five dollars, Catalyst Game Labs might be inadvertently pushing away people who have been spoiled by the low cost of things like the aforementioned Shadowrun Missions. For a dollar more you can get a full D&D novel for your e-book reader. Of course people that balk at the price tag will be missing a very well written story, so it’s a lose-lose for everyone then. CGL doesn’t get your money and you don’t get an excellent piece of fiction.
All in all, if you’re a big Shadowrun fan and the price point doesn’t bother you, consider picking up Another Rainy Night. It’s a finely crafted horror story, which is something that is VERY hard to pull off in the Shadowrun setting, so kudos to Mr. Goodman for pulling it off. If you like the story, you have all the character stats to either run the story as an adventure or have the characters show up in your own campaign.
[4 of 5 Stars!]