This campaign module is not intended to be run in a few sessions but rather a storyline developing over the course of several adventures and campaigns. The author recommends employing every cliche to drop tid bitz and secrets for the player characters, even encouraging the use of such cliche ploys as the “mad ravings of a space happy bum in an alley” which is not too surprising since he also opened the background information with, “A long, long, long time ago in this part of the galaxy,” which at the time of the module’s publication (1982) was already cliche from Star Wars.
The adventure opens with an old man running from thugs. The old man was hired by a gangster to translate the book but decided to go to the authorities with it when he saw what it was. The thugs were sent to get the old man, the notes and the book back. PCs are allowed to respond to this situation as they see fit. Referees will need to enforce the natural consequences. For example the information states that the PCs will need the old man’s help if none of them are a linguist and that they can obtain it through force, payment or friendship. The book gets translated in random (dice controlled) sections of game time (usually 1d6 days) With the first section taking 20 days if the PCs are doing it without the help of the old man. The gangster will continue to try to recover the book.
During the translation it turns out that the book is merely volume one of two. There are 11 sections (short paragraphs) that are notes by the archaeologist that first wrote the book. When they are are translated they should lead the PCs to find the planet of Patzis and look for volume two which is suppose to be about the alien visitors that came to Patzis when its native species were still primitives.
The module includes ship stats on two starships (one with the colorful label of “spice runner”) and a system brief with an extended bestiary. These inclusions are very thorough like in other Space Opera products.
The adventure continues with a search for a kidnapped merchant’s daughter and exploration of the planet but the unique feature in all of this is the mechanic of a book needing translation over game time that reveals clues for the PCs to investigate. The PCs no longer need to be scientist and unravel complicated clues but rather use a linguist to gain them slowly overtime. It works and gives an air of scientific investigation.
My only criticism is that time periods involved of 150,000 years are not going to leave much evidence behind for archaeologist to discover as I have faith in the law of entropy than the miracle of advanced alien technology in building materials. As far as criticism go that isn’t much of one since a number is easily changed to suit the participant’s tastes.
For the unique feature as well as thoroughness typical of the other Space Opera products I’ve reviewed I give it a Jedi ON rating.
Categorised as: General