suffer-the-witch[1]By Megan Robertson

Don’t get in the way of a baffled Viking…

Publisher’s blurb: “A group of Vikings cast ashore find a village stripped of its warriors. The chieftain speaks of a witch, once a wise woman of the village, now bitter and flushed with hatred. The village suffers under her curse, and he has lost many men in attempting to free it. He cannot risk any more.

“And these adventurers, lately come from the sea, lost and in need of aid? Can they save the village of Kalved?

“This adventure for the Viking RPG Kiss My Axe: Thirteen Warriors and an Angel of Death was created for Gen Con 2011. It is a challenge for 4-6 starting characters. Pre-generated characters are included, but the adventure can be run with any newly generated Kiss My Axe character. While the adventure does not require the use ofKiss My Axe, the narrative characters and some situations are based on that system and would require modification to use with another system.”

Megan’s review

This, the first adventure for Kiss My Axe was, as the Introduction tells us, originally run several times by the author at Gen Con 2011, and has been modified based on feedback received. As a convention adventure, pre-generated characters are provided, but can easily be used with existing characters if preferred.

On the face of it the plotline is simple, yet it has hidden complexities. The adventure opens with the characters shipwrecked near a remote village, and the plot revolves around them discovering the situation in the village and – hopefully – doing something about it. To start with, the GM is given not one but two versions of the background, giving him contrasting interpretations of the facts from the standpoint of two major protagonists. It’s a neat way of both giving the GM scope to determine what is the ‘truth’ of the matter and providing detailed focussed information to use depending on which protagonist the characters happen to be talking to at the time! Unfortunately it’s marred by a couple of critical typos, but it should not be too hard to see what ought to be there.

Next comes a discussion on how to get the characters to the village and what they will find there. It’s flexible, allowing you to draw out the player’s ideas and build events more closely around the characters – especially useful if not using the pre-gens, but giving a vibrant and real feel to any game. Once they arrive, there are plenty of suggestions about what will occur, all with a loose almost sandbox feel that will empower you to give realistic responses to character actions and words. The whole thing is very open-ended, too… it is up to the characters how they wish to resolve the situation that they find themselves in.

The product rounds off with the main NPCs and the pre-gens, all with neat thumbnail sketches of both appearance and attitude as well as their statblocks, and maps of the village and surrounding area. Noting that he’s not the world’s best cartographer, the author says that they are more to help the GM visualise the scene than something to lay out on the tabletop – and he’s right. Given the kind of resources available, it should not be too hard to make or find something more suited to your needs.

Overall it is a nicely-constructed adventure with plenty of scope for both GM and characters to make it their own. It should fit into an evening’s play, especially if you do not have to generate characters as well, and would serve as a good introduction to this game.

Book Details:
Author: Frazer Ronald
Publishers’ Reference: SEP4511
ISBN: n/a
PDF, 20 pages
Date: January 2012

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