Monday, May 18, 2009

Game Book Review: Tattered Fates, Part I of the Haarlock's Legacy Trilogy

Dark Heresy RPG: Haarlock's Legacy Volume 1: Tattered Fates Dark Heresy RPG: Haarlock's Legacy Volume 1: Tattered Fates by Fantasy Flight Games

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars

SPOILER ALERT! This review contains spoilers. Players should turn back now.

Tattered Fates, an adventure book for the Dark Heresy role playing game, will bring many hours of white knuckle gaming to your kitchen table (or wherever you game). The players will have to fight for their lives and sanity from the opening scene, where they wake up groggy and naked in fighting pit as howling beasts approach.

The action then shifts to decadent opulence as the players find themselves in a city given over a masked carnival set in a luxurious pleasure city.

As they uncover more clues about where they are, who sent them there, and what is about to happen when the clock strikes thirteen, they'll be up to their necks in intrigue and insanity.

Sidebars go over scaling the adventure to different party levels, but as written this is for a party of four players from rank four to rank six. However, the scaling suggestions are rather vague, and it is up to the individual games master to be ready. I'd like to see something from Fantasy Flight Games on how to keep adventures challenging yet survivable. I plan on having antagonist reinforcements available for every fight, in case things ever get easy for the players.

I would not recommend this for new Game Masters. Once out of the fighting pits, there is a lot of free form urban role playing. Their are many non-player characters to role play, and they all have an agenda. Experienced GM's should have no problem.

Game Masters who like to personalize published adventures will love this. Tattered Fates provides deep support for customization. The adventure works fine as is, but the framework makes it easy to add on your own subplots.

The adventure has a strong conclusion, but is intended as the first part of a trilogy. I'm hoping the rest of the trilogy lives up to the opener. The meta-arc concerns the Rogue Trader Haarlock, and this adventure works well as a follow on to The House of Dust and Ash adventure from Discipies of the Dark Gods.

The book is published as a 72 page hardback, which is an odd choice for an adventure. I paid $24.95 at my friendly local gaming store. However, it does look good on my shelves, and collectors will appreciate it.

I do.

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  1. I only hope that Tattered Fates, Part 1 is better than Purge the Unclean, which I considered to be awefull, unchallenging and generally a dull product not worthy of the money.

  2. Hmmm. I liked Purge the Unclean, so my favorable impressions of Tattered Fates might not help you decide if you want to purchase it. It is a 72 page hardback, with two pages of ads in the back.

    When running Purge the Unclean, I did add my own encounters and change it up a bit, but I do that with any published product. My players found it challenging.

    My main beef with Purge the Unclean was a lack of a dramatic arc that spanned the three adventures. And some of the "must get" clues were pretty easy to miss. I fixed the latter problem when I had to (my players were sharper than I expected), lived with the former.

  3. Personally I found it to be too open, comparable to House of Dust and Ash, which included a lot of "insert something here because we didn't bother writing it".

    Also, the lack of information on what the Haarlock Legacy actually is means you can't drop many clues for your party about the upcoming adventures, as well as risking you introducing something that completely contradicts future revelations.

  4. Evilgm: Good point about the Haarlock legacy information being so sketchy it would be easy to get in trouble when you wing it. I'm sure we'll get more information in parts two and three, but that doesn't help the GM running part I now.

    I like the openness sandwich, but that is a personal preference. TF starts out very focused in the pit, branches out to total openness in the city, then focuses in tight again with the chiming of the bell at the manse.

    The adventure comes with plenty of encounters and NPCs, you don't have to add any. You do have to decide when (and if) to use them.

  5. Post Play: