The Sinking—Season 1: Epicenter Rising (PFRPG) PDF (based on
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Welcome to The Sinking, a twelve-part campaign serial from 0one Games!
"Epicenter Rising", written by Tim Hitchcock, serves as the pilot to an ongoing series set in the Great City. This is not the first adventure in a path, but instead, it concerns a mysterious event that will forever alter the Great City, setting the tone for future events. Throughout the year, 0one Games will release a number of short adventures whose various plots are all somehow entwined with the event. Each will be a stand-alone adventure, designed to be played independently without a specific sequence and can be completed in a single evening’s play.
Over the centuries Azindralea, The Great City, has witnessed and bore the numerous changes that come with the passage of time. It has survived miracles and devastation, revolution, and even the threat of apocalypse. Though still struggling to recover from recent uprisings that tore apart the throne, the City has fallen into a quiet peace. Yet there are several who eerily proclaim this peace shall be short lived. Among them stand faceless prophets who wander the streets hidden beneath shadowed cowls and whose dark whispers insinuate the genesis of a new era soon to befall the City. Dubbed fear-mongers, the Kortezian guard has posted warrants for those who falsely spread terror and incite the public. They arrested a handful of these so-called prophets, only to identify them as the bourgeoisie’s idle youth in the midst of performing an elaborate prank. Yet many believe that behind every seemingly innocuous hoax, lies deep-rooted conspiracy.
"Epicenter Rising" is an adventure for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game system for 1st-level player characters.
This pdf is 16 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 2 pages advertisements and 1 page back cover, leaving 9 pages for the adventure.
The Sinking is the new project by 0onegames and consists of a series of short adventures that can be played in one session. The series will change the face of the Great City and this adventure is the Pilot for the events to come. Thus, being an adventure, this review will contain spoilers, potential players beware.
Epicenter Rising send the PCs on a quest to destroy a minor smuggling organization - 4 hooks are provided and the lead the PCs to a cheese shop. The shop features a nice map (although I would have loved a version of the map sans map-key numbers - I love handing maps to my players and the numbers detract from their suspension of disbelief) and has the PCs enter the smuggler tunnels/sewers in which they experience minor tremors and some sewerish encounters. The coolest encounter ensues after the PCs have left the smuggler tunnels for the sewers and has experienced the first minor cave-in: We get a nice, key-less map of complex sewers, complete with planks etc. to serve as a backdrop for a great chase scene that can end in a nice scene, or if you as a DM feel particularly sadistic (like I usually do), a three-way battle between a smuggler, a young Otyugh and the PCs. The final encounter has the PCs fight the head of the smugglers who tries to make a getaway by torching his shack. An additional small map of the shack would have been nice. In the aftermath of this encounter, the panic in the streets is evident and a huge sinkhole has opened right in the city, providing a nice omen of the things to come and an appropriately cool end to the module.
Editing is top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout is beautiful, easy to print-out and adheres to the two-column standard. the b/w-artwork is nice, the maps are great. There is one minor formatting glitch in the "Into the Sewers"-box: There is a blank line too much and the final sentence feels awkward, spelling out "That was the designer's intent." Oh well, more importantly, I would have loved to see a small map for the final encounter and/or some alternative means of problem-solving (roleplaying, stealth, whatever, expanded chase-rules) in this very straight-forward, action-oriented romp. Thus, I'll settle for 4 stars - a very good and promising start of the new series.
The introduction explains the concept, a series of short inter-connected adventures designed to occupy an evening's play, centred around the Great City (mapped in beautiful detail by 0one Games) and somehow connected to a significant event. Which of course, is not yet explained, even to the GM!
Moving swiftly along to this adventure, the pilot for the series, we hear that - for the moment - things are quiet in the City, with little more than youthful high jinks to disturb the peace... but even those can lead to trouble!
The plot centres around an investigation of a band of smugglers. Several reasons are provided to get the characters involved, from doing their civic duty (with the added bonus of payment) to dealing with the competition to their own nefarious activities! A spot of asking around, and a beggar who'll do virtually anything for a hot meal, and they will soon be set on the right track.
Everything is beautifully described, with those delightful little details - like a cheesemonger who 'corrects' his coffee so often he's normally drunk by the time he closes his shop for the night - that help you bring the alternate reality of your game to life. This goes far to overcoming the linear nature of the starting phases of the adventure, and the blatent 'even if you succeed in this skill check, certain things will not become known' which forces a brawl irrespective of how the characters might have handled it were they allowed. Later events allow more leeway, with some of those encountered prepared to fight or negotiate depending on how the characters decide to approach the encounter, whilst the claustrophobic situation and growing environmental danger allow you to build tension to create a moment that the characters will remember for years to come.
Whilst this is an atmospheric introduction to what may well become pivotal events, it is a bit thin for even an one-session scenario, perhaps it would be best presented almost as an aside during other adventures with its true significance only becoming apparent later. For indeed. this puts the characters at the beginning of events that will change the Great City forever.