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.
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.
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.