A couple of months ago, I started running the “Alien: Destroyer of Worlds” cinematic scenario for a group of my players. I’d best describe it as a “multi-session one shot” – the players aren’t going to playing these characters again, but the story will take more than a single session to resolve.
I’m going to do a full review of the module for the podcast once we’ve finished playing, but at this mid point stage, I have to say that this is one of the best put together published scenarios I’ve ever run.
I won’t spoil things by spilling any of the story details – my players are still playing this – but I love Free League’s approach to their “cinematic” scenarios. Essentially created in a three arc format, the module is presented as a single story, but with a lot of freedom for the players to choose what they want to do and where they want to go.
Indeed, in the session which we’ve just finished, as the whole city exploded into war around them, the team were considering multiple different options – do we go to the space port and try and help the civilians get off world and then maybe hitch a ride on their transport, or do we make for the relative safety of the Marine Corps base and try and ride the space elevator out of there? The way the module is written provides sufficient scope for the GM to explore either option should the PCs decide to take them.
In fact, I’d go as far to say that although there is a story here it is open ended enough, and gives the PCs enough freedom of choice that what Free League have actually created is a setting that the characters can then explore. Sure, you can run this as a by the numbers “go here go here and have an ending” railroad, but that generally isn’t fine. I know that my group chose to explore the various locations in an order I didn’t think they would, and managed to leave certain other areas unexplored, but that’s fine! This isn’t a video game where you try and get a “100%” achievement…
There is also more than enough meat for a GM to put their own spin on things – I know that I’ve not run the entire scenario as written, and instead have put my own spin on various things whilst keeping it true to the spirit of what is intended. For example, I LOVE the agenda system that Alien uses, so I felt the need to go into the default agendas presented and make them slightly more punchy than those presented out of the box.
I’ll obviously reserve final judgement until we’ve played through the whole scenario – after all, will the finale be pay off enough for everything that the characters have gone through to get there? – but at this stage I would highly recommend this product to anyone who really wants to experience the universe of the Alien RPG. As one of my players said “It feels like we’re in an Alien movie – and a good one at that!”
High praise indeed!