Briar Rose

This adventure has lots of interesting ideas but it feels like it tries to stick to closely to having a fixed narrative. At its core it's a magical love triangle: witch loves boy, boy loves girl, boy ignores witch. The witch, rather like a typical fantasy gamer, embarks on a slightly obtuse plot to try and win the boy over and the result is that the boy is in a death-like sleep that threatens to kill him for real.

The scenario is built around the assumption that a tavern keeper pays the player characters to transport the sleeping character to a nearby town where a sage may be able to help or alternatively the cursed victim can be entombed in his family vault. This assumption leads to a three act structure about moving a comatose person while doing the usual wilderness travelling and monster fighting. All while the witch tries to make good on her plot.

The slightly odd thing is that this structure is unnecessary and the players only meet the boy's true love at the end of the scenario. It all feels as if it would be better if it were restructured so that the basic outline of the whole situation is present right from the start. There might still be a quest to find help and a lot of physical comedy around moving the sleeping boy but on reading it it feels that the whole thing would be better if the suitors, the nature of the curse and the possible solutions were all known early and the rest of the adventure revolved around making choices and working towards the players preferred outcome.

There's lots of nice little pieces of business here, simple stuff like an troll enchanted to guard a bridge on the way to the sage. There are multiple ways to pass but again making it clear that the troll has no choice in guarding the bridge makes clear the immorality of a violent resolution. However the overall effort is not a compelling reason to buy into a yet another rulesystem.


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