Before I go forward, a quick comment. This is a module review. Due to the current conditions I haven’t been able to gather with friends to play through this adventure. I am a fan of Through the Breach and Malifaux, the game setting that spawned this one. I’ve run two separate campaigns in Through the Breach and several Free RPG Day one shots. Thus, I feel like I can speak to the quality of the product while not being able to fully address how it plays. I hope to come back to this at a later date an actually run this adventure for friends, and if I do I will write up an expanded response to this. Due to that, this is more of a first look than a full review. With that said…
Northern Sedition is a Penny Dreadful adventure for the Through the Breach Role Play Game. This adventure is part 2 of 3, I’ve not read neither of the other parts and will not speak to those here. I will however be avoiding spoilers for most of this. I’ll post some thoughts at the end of my conclusion with significant warning that they are coming. The adventure does a nice job of paraphrasing the history of the town and what happened in the first book. It also gives a couple of random charts to let you set up how the previous adventure ended if you didn’t play it. This gives the Fate Master the ability to customize the state of the world to their liking or let the cards decide.
Players will take on the role of the Fated and deal with a series of problems in the frontier town of Ridley. The story follows the Fated being hired by the town council to function as additional law enforcement after having dealt with some recent troubles. There’s trouble in the town of Ridley and they’ll need to work with the locals to uncover the full extent of what’s going on.
The player’s actions and decisions will have reaching effects on the town. Small actions, such as deciding whether or not to let a prisoner escape can have reaching repercussions. There are also several optional encounters that are set to fill out the world and the difficulty the heroes are having in the town.
The story plays out over four acts with four to five scenes per act. An act is designed to be played in one or two session, giving you quite a bit of content. There is also a section of complications that you can use if the players are having too easy of a time of it.
Finally, it includes a section of possible Fate Draws to help focus the different acts around the players in the game. These come from multiple books and list each with the book, position, and suits so they can be looked up easily.
You Wouldn’t Like Me When I’m Angry…
The game does add an Advanced Pursuit named the Rampager. It’s basically a berserker class. It’s slightly limited in that one of the requirements only exists in this story. That trigger could be shuffled around a bit and added to somewhere else with very little work.
WhatDoesn’t itDoes itAdd?
Was it broke?
As an adventure module it doesn’t add any new rules or systems to the game as a whole.
A Quick Grab?
It really comes down to how much you like writing your own adventures versus using prewritten ones. If you like published material this is a pretty good one.
Do IWantNeedRequireBeg forThis?
If you like published adventures this isn’t essential but it’s pretty good. I’d say it’s worth giving a run to, though the question of whether or not you only need this instead of all three parts isn’t something I can answer.
Do IWantNeedRequireBeg forThis?
Whatdo i think?say I?is my opinion?
A Quick Recomendation
I enjoy this module. It has a good story, an excellent villain, and some nice through lines that should carry over to part 3 or give you enough of a jumping off point if you want it. I think it will work for a good number of Through the Breach campaigns.
Each chapter is bite sized enough to be played out in one or two sessions while having enough content and characters to feel like a developed experience. The use of player choice and consequence looks like it’s well laid out and has some nice twists that make sense in the way the world is set up.
I have a few drawback that I’m going to save for the spoiler section because they will play into how the story unfolds and a few of the choices that need to be made. If you’re a layer and think this might be a fun story to jump into then send you Fate Master this way to check out the rest of the review. Know that I do think the module is worth your time, but has a few missteps that stop me from blindly recommending it without a caveat or two.
If this is where you leave us then stay safe and be well.
WarningSpoilers AheadFate Masters OnlyTurn Back
If you’re sticking around then there are one or two bits I want to touch on to give you a fuller picture of the adventure. The first of these is that the module comes with four potential villains for the overarching story. This ends up being both a strength and a weakness for the overall adventure.
There is a reason for each of them to be here and they will have an effect on the story and enemies the players will face. Though you won’t see any of them in person for this section of the adventure there presence will be felt. The module has a villain who is pushing this section of the story. It’s his plan, his tools, and his motives that make all of the decisions that come about. However, the major villain is pulling his strings and getting him the bits he needs to complete his plan. The end result of this is that the plan feels a bit generic. This is made necessary to fit the four masterminds and still feel relevant to the modules villain.
Each of the four masterminds are Malifaux heavy hitters, which is a good reason to keep them at bay from midrange fated. Pandora, Jack Daw, Sonia Crid, and Marcus are all used to good effect and their fingerprints can be felt on the story by the effects the various items have on the player’s enemies. If Sonia Crid is the mastermind then the players will deal with a lot of fire and Guild interference. Marcus unleashes beasts on the town giving the players a challenge in how hard and numerous some of the enemies are. At one point in the story the fated will face off against their lieutenant/Henchman.
The module also requires a bit of set up and record keeping. There are multiple factions in the town and you’ll need to go through all of the decisions and possible results for part one and decide how each of the events turned out and what effect this has had on the town. There’s also a large political faction chart that keeps track of which factions the group might encounter, how the public favors them, and how the fated interact with them. There are bonuses and penalties depending on how much the public opinion has swayed to wards and away from the group. Additionally, several of the factions might have ceased to exist and be replaced with different NPC’s and factions meaning the book as a few places where it needs to remind you that if NPC X is missing they’ve been replaced with NPC Y.
On the positive side, all of this extra work will give you a more complete and meaningful adventure. The fated’s actions can result in the loss of NPC’s, political parties, and other effects. Their decisions and actions will have real consequences to the story. Yes, you’ll need to make some extensive notes to keep track of what’s going on and to who, ut I think it will be a more fulfilling story in the end.
I will also give a personal note on one particular element of the module. It does provide examples of fate draws that can be relevant to each chapter. However, I felt like the connections were fairly weak. Fate draws should be meaningful and weighty anvils that hang over the head of whoever’s thread you’re focusing on. To that end, I would recommend ignoring the suggestions and being prepared to rework sections to give the player whose line you’re dealing with more of a focus. The module is written where everyone is the star of each session and while I feel like everyone should have a moment in the spotlight, the fate system in Through the Breach allows for one player to be the focus of each session. This is a preference to how I like to run the game. You may play a different type of session from me. However, it was something I felt needed addressing here.
Anyway, that’s all I have here. I hope you get a chance to check the module out and have fun running through the adventure.
Until next time, stay safe and be well.