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A06: Bear Trouble $8.99 $5.99
Publisher: AAW Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/01/2012 07:55:02

The Introduction talks a little about the background, how the settlement of Rybalka has had - indeed encouraged - an ever-changing group of mercenaries and adventures passing through, or even stopping for a while, answering the authorities' call for such to aid in settling this wild area. Apart from the characters' own party, which - assuming you have run at least some of the preceeding adventures - has been making quite a name for itself, the main group is a mercenary band called the Black Bears. Like many such, they are not the nicest of people... and definitely out for themselves!

Although thoroughly embedded in Adventureaweek's own campaign setting, notes are provided to help you in selecting a suitable opportunity to run the adventure in your own campaign world if preferred. Even more interestingly, in a novel departure from previous Adventureaweek scenarios, this one offers two tracks, one for generally 'good' characters and one for those who approach things in a more self-centred and opportunistic mode, ethically-challenged shall we say, rather than outright evil.

Anyway, the adventure starts with low-key bickering between the Black Bears and the characters. The Black Bears, who are all veterans and quite arrogant, seem to be getting the better jobs and seeing quite a lot of success. If that doesn't annoy the characters a bit, the remarks that the Bears keep making, especially when in their cups, will. This leads to a brawl in the village tavern one night, instigated by the Bears if the characters don't start one of their own accord. Following events do nothing to sweeten the relationship between the two groups. Then they are approached by a local band of ogres with a request to do a job to the detriment of the village leaders...

Here the action can go one of two ways, as the group may or may not be prepared to take such action. Events pile one upon another, with the Bear's mascot - who IS a bear - being kidnapped and other deeds of skullduggery, with the Bears attempting to blame the characters whilst belittling them every chance they get. These events are presented in a series of very colourful notes: black for what happens, green for likely reactions and possibilities for a 'good' party and red for the same things from the standpoint of an 'ethically challenged' one. Neat (unless you happen to be colour-blind). And that's just the GM's synopsis...

Now, to the adventure proper, set out in Adventureaweek's customary clear manner that puts all the informations and options you need right where you want them. Everything's well-supported with plans of the inn and the village itself, and lots of notes about who is doing what, including one or two very neat events whose significance will only become clear later on. There are many opportunites for interaction and role-playing as well as for combat and other skill use. Of course, with this much going on the GM needs to be well-prepared and to keep on top of events at all times - at least the presentation facilitates this well.

This will certainly make for an unusual and challenging adventure, particularly suited to groups which like to embed themselves into the alternate reality of the game world.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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A06: Bear Trouble
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