Sunday, October 20, 2013

Pseudo-Review: Inn of Lost Heroes

At the risk of losing anyone who may play my horror adventure "Lights over Innfjord" I need to say go buy "Inn of Lost Heroes" from Small Niche Games. Why? I'll get to that during review.

Inn of Lost Heroes is a low level adventure meant for Labrynith Lord,but is easily converted to any OSR system of the the world's greatest game. The advetnure should be able to be handled in one night and is rather heavy on puzzles and investigation. What battles there are or could exist are rather harrowing in their hardness (my test NPC group after converting to S&W complete almost TPK'd). Whats more things don't always mean or work they way they should in certain areas of the adventure.

From RPGnow:

Everyone loves a good barroom brawl. But what happens when the fight gets out of hand and innocents are harmed? Witness the innkeeper's wife Evelyn Mortigan. When her entire family is killed in a fire caused by drunken adventurers, she utters a curse with her dying breath and returns to torment all those who would practice the adventuring trade. Can the characters escape her wrath, or will they be forever trapped in the Inn of Lost Heroes?
The Inn of Lost Heroes is a Labyrinth LordTM adventure for 4-6 characters of 3rd through 5th level (about 15-20 levels total). This adventure was designed as a one-shot that can be dropped into any existing campaign. The party should ideally contain at least one fighter or dwarf, one magic-user or elf, one cleric, and one thief or halfling character. The adventure centers around an inn that has become trapped in the nightmares of a vengeful spirit. Escaping the inn is the primary goal of this adventure, however, resourceful characters may also find the courage to free the trapped souls of former adventurers and finally lay the spirit to rest.
 The first thing that I need to put out there for "Inn of Lost Heroes" is that it the story it tells and the way the world is presented will automatically bring up comparison with the survival horror franchise "Silent Hill". Throughout the course of the adventure the players will be moving from different versions of the inn, all representing some aspect of the insanity (or representative of what caused the insanity) of the main antagonist.

The game itself is pretty simple, gather pieces of an object, put it together in the right spot, kill some things and hope everyone makes it out alive. What really sets the game apart is the presentation and the puzzles, non of which I will get into here for sake of spoilers.

The game is rich with NPCs, some pretty well fleshed out, others filling roles to move the plot forward. the juggling of the NPCs and the static events that they trigger can make things difficult for a Referee (Labyrinth Lord), but the information is provided in such a way that the person running the game has a lot of leeway to the when and how these play out (I would save Meeting the Explorers until after one Chamber and Harker Cornered after another to lend the adventure a survival horror cut-scene feel).

All in all a very cinematic adventure, one with a lot of potential story and atmosphere for a Halloween. It is, however, hampered by by that very cinematic nature and an ending that is too happy (should the players make a certain decision near the end). honestly though, these two points don't detract enough to make me say "don't play it!" I will however say, read up and plan before running it. And as the warning in the adventure and on the RPGnow page says:

Know your group! This adventure begins by trapping the characters in an extraplanar dream world where some of the game mechanics they are accustomed to are slightly altered or do not work at all. It contains strong elements of horror as well as thematic material that may be disturbing to some. Common horror tropes of isolation, injury, and "taking the toys away" are also present. This is not an adventure that can be overcome by combat alone. If you suspect your players would not have fun with this type of setup, you may want to pass on this module.
 "Inn of Lost Heroes" is available now at RPGnow.com for $1.00. It is a special price so I don't know how long it will last!

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