Every Week It's Wibbley-Wobbley Timey-Wimey Pookie-Reviewery...

Friday, 11 March 2016

Carry on Screaming

Although there is no scenario in the rulebook for Shadow of the Demon Lord, the first RPG released by Schwalb Entertainment following a successful Kickstarter campaign, one of the excellent decisions upon the part of the designer has been to release support—and release it early—in the form of scenarios for the game. This way a gaming group can get playing quickly, even if they are just using the core rules presented in Victims of the Demon Lord: Starter Guide and an adventure. In addition, the publisher has also released Tales of the Demon Lord, a complete mini-campaign that takes a party of characters from Zero Level up to Eleventh Level. In the meantime, the eleventh adventure is With My Last Scream.

With My Last Scream is the first adventure written for characters who have entered the Master Path, that is of Seventh Level or higher. It is written by Miranda Horner, a regular contributor to both Dragon and Dungeon magazines, and comes as a six page, 13.16 MB PDF. Physically, With My Last Scream is decently presented and notably, the  cartography is excellent. The adventure is decently written, but the GM will need to give it a very careful read through as the situation it sets up and the foe that the adventurers face is more complex than in previous scenarios released for Shadow of the Demon Lord.

The scenario is written to be location neutral, that is, it can be set anywhere. Good settings might be an isolated hilltop or amidst a built up urban area, but either way, the GM is free to set this wherever he wants making the scenario easy to add to an ongoing game. It begins with the player characters being accosted by a well-dressed young woman on the street or road who all but tearfully asks for their help at a nearby house, where her friend, Noira, has been trapped in the house by a demented and abusive spouse, and she needs the group to help her free Noira. 

If they go to the young woman’s aid, the player characters find themselves in a locked room mystery—in a locked room with a murder mystery that needs to be solved before they can leave. The mystery is made all the harder because With My Last Scream is also a ghost mystery—and a murderously hysterical ghost at that… To solve both mysteries, the player characters needs to investigate the house from top to bottom, room by room, all the whilst encountering the ghost again and again. In this With My last Scream is not a subtle scenario, the player characters being expected to survive against a wailing ghost that whales on them over and over, all the whilst suffering both a loss of sanity and some nasty incidents of spousal abuse. The latter are underplayed, perhaps a little too underplayed, but nevertheless, there may be some players who will be very uncomfortable when exposed to these experiences, whilst others may not get their subtlety.

With My Last Scream is a nicely detailed scenario, a piece of ghostly investigative horror which should provide a solid session’s worth of play. It may not provide though enough depth or playing time to really warrant the player characters gaining a new level out of it, but as side quest, it is a pleasingly  piece of melodrama.