Slaves to Fate is a 14-page adventure for Symbaroum that can be used as a stand-alone scenario or, more ideally, as the prelude to the Forever Winter saga.
In Slaves to Fate players find themselves at the center of a dire prophesy that leads to a frozen apocalypse known as the Forever Winter. Its also a dark and unforgiving adventure set in a dark and unforgiving setting, which by the way is part of its considerable appeal.
As the module begins, the PCs are slaves of a logging expedition intending to harvest lumber from the Everdark, a strange and horrifying forest. We’re quickly introduced to a new starvation rule which sets the tone for the adventure to follow; players will instantly realize they are in for a test of survival. While many other adventures have begun with PCs as slaves, its handled far better here than in most as players are given wide latitude in how they want to plot their escape. Its also dramatic: just as they begin to affect their escape the camp is set upon by beastmen that savagely rip everyone to bloody pieces. The newly-freed slaves must dive deeper into the forests if they wish to survive. Love that opening scene!
One of escapees—either a player character or NPC—is secretly an agent of a cult dedicated to bringing on the Forever Winter. This individual, known as the betrayer, secretly guides to party to a shrine deep in the forests where the ancient prophesy will be realized. There’s a wonderful opportunity for roleplaying here for a player who secretly takes this role, and because he is being controlled by a magical amulet which releases its hold once the Forever Winter is unleashed the character can continue forth in the campaign as a standard PC.
Here we’re also introduced to the Corruption rule, which tracks party members as they slowly fall under the sway of the amulet and become vassals in its ploy. Rolls are made but players shouldn’t know for what, which may cause paranoia among players. Adding to the paranoia is the sense that nature itself is against them: trees seek to entomb them, wolves attack, and redcaps (fey of the forest) shadow their moves.
The adventure culminates as the Forever Winter is unleashed. PCs are helpless to stop it; like the coming of seasons it is inevitable. Players may well feel a sense of doom and failure, but there is also the promise of a thrilling saga to come.
Layout is solid, with beautiful artwork bringing the adventure to life in all is dark glory. There are some editing and spelling mistakes, but they’re minor an easily overlooked for the strong storyline.
The best thing about this adventure? The grim mood, reminiscent of dark folklore, and the sense that one’s existence hangs on a razor-thin edge. Huge kudos for the atmosphere.
As a stand-alone adventure Slaves to Fate is a very good outing, but it truly comes into its own as the launch of an epic campaign.