Æther: Burning Crosses

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burning-crosses[1]By Megan Robertson

More adventure in the underbelly of Wellstone City: which side will you be on?

Publisher’s blurb: “Hot on the heels of Two-Bit Thugs, the most powerful crime syndicate in Wellstone City, the Cross Clan is having some major internal issues. It seems that information relating to the family and its activities is making it to the police. They know there’s a lot of money changing hands, but the upper echelons of the Brothers Cross can’t find out from their own interrogations who is behind any part of this.

“The party can either approach the situation as freelancers or as entry level thugs in the Cross Clan, depending on the preference of the Narrator or on the results of any previous adventures in Wellstone City. With the Cross family being ratted out and served to the police on silver platters, they are anxious to get the situation resolved, offering gear, assistance, cash, favours, and rank within their organization. Failure, however, is not an option, and once the mission is accepted, the party must complete it or they will suffer a fate most terrible at the hands of their employer.

“The adventure is designed to follow up the two previous adventures, Public Transit Assassins found in the Core Rules, and Two-Bit Thugs. However, the adventure was also designed with the ability to use this it as the introduction to Wellstone City. Not a straight assassination run as it was with Public Transit Assassins and Two-Bit Thugs, Burning Crossesallows the characters to develop and use their other skills during this investigative modern noir adventure.”

Megan’s review

This short piece is more of an adventure outline than a full adventure, yet it is designed to embed characters firmly in the underbelly of Wellstone City. The situation is simple: the Cross crime family has a couple of problems. Someone is snitching various low- and mid-level operatives to the cops, with enough hard evidence that convictions stick. And someone is siphoning off their ill-gotten gains and laundering them in such a way that they cannot track it. Initially reluctant to let the matter out of Family hands, the characters are called in when the crime bosses realise that they don’t know who to trust. This could be the big chance for the characters to make a name for themselves, maybe even be invited to join the Family! (And it’s well known that turning down a job offer for them can blight your prospects…)

Whilst there is considerable atmospheric detail about what is going on, at least in respect of the money laundering, the investigative process – such as leads to follow – is left to the GM to put together, possibly introducing NPCs of their own and nods towards future events, or it can be abstracted to a single die roll… bit risky, as if the roll is flubbed, what happens to the adventure?

There’s good material here, a few interesting people (who may or may not survive, depending on how the characters interpret their instructions) and a couple of nightspots than you may well want to make regular locations in your game, and it’s all very atmospheric. The assumption is that your characters are determined to make their living on the wrong side of the law and want to get involved with the leading crime family in town… yet, if your characters have other ideas or your game concept is different, you could take the material and twist it to your own ends: maybe a police procedural following up some of the evidence provided by the snitch are led to the money laundering operation. Whatever you decide to do with it, it’s going to require some thought and development before you can run it… but it’s an excellent ‘seed’ to start you off.

Book Details:
Author: Kevin Rohan
Publishers’ Reference: SGG6001
ISBN: n/a
PDF, 5 pages
Date: November 2008

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