Epicenter Rising serves as the pilot to an ongoing series set in the Great City. It’s an adventure for 1st-level characters.
Publisher’s blurb: “Over the centuries Azindralea, The Great City, has witnessed and bore numerous changes that come with the passage of time. It has survived miracles and devastation, revolution, and even the threat of apocalypse. Though still struggling to recover from recent uprisings that tore apart the throne, the City has fallen into a quiet peace. Yet there are several who eerily proclaim this peace shall be short lived. Among them stand faceless prophets who wander the streets hidden beneath shadowed cowls and whose dark whispers insinuate the genesis of a new era soon to befall the City. Dubbed fear-mongers, the Kortezian guard has posted warrants for those who falsely spread terror and incite the public. They arrested a handful of these so-called prophets, only to identify them as the bourgeoisie’s idle youth in the midst of performing an elaborate prank. Yet many believe that behind every seemingly innocuous hoax, lies deep-rooted conspiracy.”
The introduction explains the concept, a series of short inter-connected adventures designed to occupy an evening’s play, centred around the Great City (mapped in beautiful detail by 0one Games) and somehow connected to a significant event. Which of course, is not yet explained, even to the GM!
Moving swiftly along to this adventure, the pilot for the series, we hear that – for the moment – things are quiet in the City, with little more than youthful high jinks to disturb the peace… but even those can lead to trouble!
The plot centres around an investigation of a band of smugglers. Several reasons are provided to get the characters involved, from doing their civic duty (with the added bonus of payment) to dealing with the competition to their own nefarious activities! A spot of asking around, and a beggar who’ll do virtually anything for a hot meal, and they will soon be set on the right track.
Everything is beautifully described, with those delightful little details – like a cheesemonger who ‘corrects’ his coffee so often he’s normally drunk by the time he closes his shop for the night – that help you bring the alternate reality of your game to life. This goes far to overcoming the linear nature of the starting phases of the adventure, and the blatent ‘even if you succeed in this skill check, certain things will not become known’ which forces a brawl irrespective of how the characters might have handled it were they allowed. Later events allow more leeway, with some of those encountered prepared to fight or negotiate depending on how the characters decide to approach the encounter, whilst the claustrophobic situation and growing environmental danger allow you to build tension to create a moment that the characters will remember for years to come.
Whilst this is an atmospheric introduction to what may well become pivotal events, it is a bit thin for even an one-session scenario, perhaps it would be best presented almost as an aside during other adventures with its true significance only becoming apparent later. For indeed. this puts the characters at the beginning of events that will change the Great City forever.
Author: Tim Hitchcock
Publishers’ Reference: UA025
PDF, 16 pages
Date: March 2011
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