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ALIEN RPG Heart of Darkness $17.99
Average Rating:4.9 / 5
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ALIEN RPG Heart of Darkness
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ALIEN RPG Heart of Darkness
Publisher: Free League Publishing
by Manuel R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/23/2022 13:32:38

I plan to run this adventure for some friends. I'm combing through the content and what's here is great. The writing is fantastic. I gave this 4 starts instead of 5 stars because of a few quality control issues. Please note that I purchased the PDF version.

Start of the adventure. At the beginning of the adventure there's an instruction to the GM to reveal the Ablassen Black Hole to the PCs. No such image exists.

Erebos 01 map. Deck H shows starboard locations on the left side of the map and port locations on the right side of the map. These should be swapped so starboard is on the right side of the map and port is on the left side of the map. Deck F has two Junction F1 locations (the one on the right side of the map should be Junction F2). Deck G has Junctions 10 and 11 that do not go to any other deck (and 10 should be on the right side of the map with 11 on the left side of the map).

Revealing information to the players. There is a LOT of information that should be revealed to the players over the course of the adventure. On the plus side, the information is great with lots of forboding and warnings for the future. On the negative side, the information is spread throughout the pages of the book. The problem with having the information scattered around the book is that it's difficult for a GM to remember everything she needs/should reveal to the players. A GM will need to really prepare to run this adventure so they know what to reveal to players, and develop a plan on how/when to reveal information. For example, you can have MU/TH/UR tell the PCs "anything you want them to know," but you're going to need to compile information from across the book so you can quickly tell the PCs what you want them to know when they start querying MU/TH/UR. It would have been nice to have MU/TH/UR files based on topic (xenomorphs, LV-1113, LV-1113B, Erebos, abominations, metamorphosis, Flulfremmen, etc.). Such files (like Clerke's entries) would save a GM a lot of prep work and give information at one's fingertips to give to players as they start interacting with MU/TH/UR or NPCs.

Equipment. There are a few equipment cards to hand out to players--this is good. I only wish ALL the equipment had cards to hand out to the players as they find/acquire things from around the station or NPCs.

Internal artwork of Erebos. It would've been nice to have some pictures of the internal areas of Erebos. Things to show players to give them a sense of wonder about what the inside of the station looks like.

Better alignment between sections. Sometimes the book is vague when it could be more precise when connecting with other sections of the book. For example, the PCs need to get a compression coil (one can be found on Deck D). However, in the section on Deck D, the book reads, "Some parts the PCs need to fix the Cetorhina can be found in storage here." The section on Deck D should say something like, "A thruster compression coil (an item the PCs need to fix the Cetorhina) can be found in storage here."

Multiple terms can be confusing. The book often uses descriptors which can be confusing. For example: Proto-xenomorph, Fulfremmen, The Perfected, Hessdalen Lights, proto-plasmatic lifeforms, abominations, and protomorph deacons all mean similar yet slightly different things. The book doesn't really do a good job at explaning the differences between these things. A reader has to dig to find out definitions to these terms. A glossary would've been nice to aleviate confusion.

Descriptions for things. What does a protomorph deacon look like? What about a cacoon? These descriptions should be included, particularly when something like a deacon is said to be in a given room. You don't even realize a cacoon is "man-sized" until you get to the appendix. Things such as definitions and descriptions where PCs encounter things, would make things simpler for a GM and not require a ton of studying/reviewing prior to running the adventure.

Vector maps. I wish companies made vector images for their maps when releasing digital content. Vector maps would make it easy to import the image into collaboration software and zoom in on the map without losing detail (like words/letters).

[4 of 5 Stars!]
ALIEN RPG Heart of Darkness
Publisher: Free League Publishing
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/18/2022 23:57:44

Abandon all hope - a Mephisto review

Heart of Darkness

Heart of Darkness is the third and final scenario of the trilogy that began with Chariot of God. Once again, in this scenario, players take the role of pre-made characters to confront them with the horrors of the Alien universe in a brutal and cinematic storyline. This time, players take on the role of a research expedition sent out to investigate a new life form on a remote research station. The facts that the station is run by the conscripted convicts and is located near a black hole are only two of the complications the players will encounter, as soon mental disorders, secret research projects, and alien life forms increase the threat level to the maximum.

Heart of Darkness, as the third part of the adventure series, also has certain parallels with the third part of the movie series. Here, too, the setting is a prison colony, and the goal is to prevent a catastrophe and, if necessary, to put the safety of humanity above one's own survival. If the previous adventure Destroyer of Worlds was already very challenging, Heart of Darkness manages to step it up a notch, as the ultra-hard scenario features a complex, extremely dangerous threat, player characters with very conflicting goals, an extreme Xenomorph danger and taking place on the edge of a black hole. The story continues the arc begun with Chariot of God, picking up elements from the previous adventures, but it can be played on its own. Again, there are new variations on the Xenomorph threat, and the adventure offers extensive handouts on player characters and more in addition to the story itself. Despite the comprehensive material, the story will also require some preparations from the game mother due to the complex plot.

From my point of view, Heart of Darkness is an impressive conclusion of the trilogy, which succeeds in both finding connecting points to the first three Alien movies (for example, a cat now also plays a role) and, on the other hand, still telling its own exciting story that offers diverse facets and captures the atmosphere of Alien. If you survived the first two adventures of the trilogy and wonder if it is possible to increase the challenge a bit more, Heart of Darkness is just right for you.

(Björn Lippold)

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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