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Vortex $5.99 $3.59
Average Rating:4.3 / 5
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Vortex
Publisher: Monte Cook Games
by Benjamin R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/26/2015 17:51:29

Promising, solid, but not excellent.

Check out my review on my podcast:

http://plotpoints.libsyn.com/14-numeneras-the-vortex-by-monte-cook



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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Vortex
Publisher: Monte Cook Games
by Bryon K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/21/2014 14:36:30

The Vortex is an intriguing, two-part adventure which pulls features a fairly normal scenario and then an exceptionally weird and cool scenario for its second part. Coming straight from Monte Cooke Games, it's no surprise that this has the right feel for Numenera, but overall I found the first part (The Temple) and the overall hooks kind of lacking in comparison to some of the adventures from the Corebook.

The Temple begins with the PCs stumbling across a weird structure and then being given the brush off by several cultists. They then depart and the structure vanishes. It's then really on the PCs to feel curious enough to do some digging and to try and make their way into the structure. The GM will likely have to do some work to really make this adventure appeal to her players -- for instance, the idea of needing to use the Temple to travel a long distance quickly or chasing someone inside whose stolen something valuable to them.

However while the first part is fairly so-so, the Vortex really shines once the PCs get to the second part. Without spoiling too much of the twist, the PCs much race against time to solve a number of challenges in another temple somewhere much further away and significantly warmer. This section contains minimal combat and has a heavy emphasis on exploration, travel and the weird that Numenera does so well. This section also has a great hook and really pulls the players in (and is exceptionally difficult!) and is absolutely worth it. Just watch out, as there are several areas which could absolutely be lethal to PCs, including suggested GM Intrusions which can easily kill a character.

The Vortex is an intriguing setup and pair of location-based adventures, but the initial Temple adventure just doesn't do as much to capture the imagination as any of the four adventures in the Corebook and will make GMs have to do a little more effort to really make your PCs get invested.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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Vortex
Publisher: Monte Cook Games
by James H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/31/2014 12:20:43

This is actually a pretty good adventure to run for those that have one under there belts already. There is a good amount going on with the plot, allowing for some particularly good story telling for the GM. I also find that due to the nature of the artifact in question within the campaign, it allows the GM the opportunity to move the characters to another location on the world map without a lot of issues with traveling by foot.

Overall, I am looking forward to running this campaign soon.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Vortex
Publisher: Monte Cook Games
by Adam S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/22/2013 00:05:48

Vortex's review depends a lot on how you want to run it. It works great as a two part con game complete with pre-gens. Outside of a con game it is a bit more difficult to get players involved. It is always hard to review modules without giving away the plot but the hook goes basically "You meet a group of unpleasant people who tell you to go away and then enter a building that disappears but accidentally leave a clue that tells you where the building will be in the near future so you can take days to travel there." There is a good amount of detail about the people but not a lot of chance to use it. The production is good and the second part ramps up the unusual to give a good feel of the world but it is very easy for characters to wander off the path and not see the cool stuff without some very heavy handed GMing. (Which would not be needed in a Con game where the player mentality is very different.) I'm giving it an average 4 with a point in either direction depending on whether you are playing in a home campaign or at a con.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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Vortex
Publisher: Monte Cook Games
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/09/2013 06:29:44

Originally posted at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2013/09/09/tabletop-review-vortex-numenera/

Vortex was the Numenera adventure that people could peruse and play through at GenCon 2013 this year. Monte Cook Games has since made it available as an electronic download for those that could not attend, which is always a plus in my eyes. This also makes it the first adventure released outside of the ones in the core rulebook. I’ve really been loving Numenera so far, and it’s one of my favorite new games of the year, so I was excited to see the game get an adventure released so soon after the core rulebook and player’s guide came out. I honestly wasn’t expecting anything until The Devil’s Spine, so I was happy to see a review copy of this show up in my in-box.

Vortex is actually two pieces in one. You have your eighteen page adventure for the GM to run and six pre-generated characters, which adds another twelve pages of content. I really love the character sheet designs, especially since, unlike the D&D Next ones I recently have had to deal with, the lines are big enough to type and/or write on. My favorite of the characters is the Jack who wears a sheen of ice, but everyone will have their favorite. The characters are diverse enough that every one will stand out and become memorable characters, as long as the players get into the game. Of course, if you’re experienced in Numenera, you don’t need to use the pre-generated characters. You can either create your own, or if you are in the middle of a campaign, stick Vortex in for your players to experience.

Vortex is almost two interconnected adventures in one. The town it takes place in (Jutte) can be placed anywhere within the Ninth World. The first half of the adventure, “The Temple” has the PCs discovering a cult worshiping at a strange location known as the Temple of the Vortex. The PCs will encounter a cult member who has escaped indoctrination, but her brother wasn’t so lucky. She asks the PCs to enter the temple to save him. “The Temple” is pretty open ended, and there are lots of subplots/subquests to engage in around Jutte if the players don’t want to deal with the cult right away (or at all). The cult is pretty big (especially for First Tier characters), so players may want to find a way other than combat to deal with them. Exploring the temple is a lot of fun, and the twists and turns the adventure throws at you are not only memorable, but a great way to introduce people to Numenera and show them just how alien the Ninth World is, even if it is our own, a billion years in the future.

“Through the Vortex” is the second part of the adventure, and it is a wonderful example of how weird the Ninth World can be. Here, players will be transported to an alien structure within the sun itself known as the Temple of Radiance. In this tale, players must help a strange being known as Aerridomos save the Temple of Radiance from collapsing upon itself, all while dealing with the fact their very presence within it is speeding the rate of the temple’s demise. Can the PCs save Aerridomos and/or the temple? It will be hard to do so, but the knowledge and experience gained from such an encounter is well worth the players’ time. It’s a bit of a melancholy affair, especially if the PCs can’t fix the Temple, but it’s also a great lesson in how the residents of the Ninth World understand so very, very little about what is around them.

What makes Vortex so interesting is that it’s pretty open ended. There isn’t a linear path the PCs will follow, and there are many methods to get through the adventure(s). Stealth, talking, madcap violence and scientific acumen are all ways to get through the adventure and accomplish the set goal. Both “The Temple” and “Through the Vortex” can be played concurrently or separately. Perhaps part two even happens weeks, months, or years after part one, although the adventure is written in such a manner that “Through the Vortex” occurs soon after the removal of the cult leader in “The Temple.” I also enjoy the one-two punch of this adventure, with “The Temple” being a very straightforward, simple affair, reminiscent of fantasy RPGs, while “Through the Vortex” is an over the top sci-fi affair that feels like a dungeon crawl without any actual monsters. The exploration and discovery replaces combat, and I really enjoy that. Some players may be too used to hack and slash RPGs to appreciate this, but most gamers, I think, will appreciate the alien nature of the Temple of Radiance and enjoy testing and prodding all the strange things within it. Unless they were really burned by The Tomb of Horrors or The Temple of Elemental Evil as kids, then the GM has their work cut out for them in order to get them to shift their paradigms towards exploring strange places.

Vortex is another terrific addition to the Numenera world. The adventure is simple, yet complex, while being inviting to players of all RPG skill levels and experience. The six dollar price tag is a bit much, especially compared to, say, Shadowrun Missions adventures, which are of a similar length and scope, while only costing half as much, but it’s also the only option for a published adventure outside of the ones in the core rulebook. This means if you don’t like to create your own homebrew adventures, you’re kind of stuck. I do think Vortex is better than most, but not all, of the adventures in the core rulebook and offers a little more in the way of flexibility and discovery. I do give this adventure a hearty thumbs up save for the cost, and would also like to point out that if you’re willing to wait, The Devil’s Spine is coming out next month (supposedly) and for a little more than twice the price of this PDF, you can get a physical copy with nearly five times the page count and multiple adventures to experience. The Devil’s Spine is obviously the better deal on paper, but we’ll have to wait until its release to see how good the adventures are.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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