RPG Review

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White Death, a sci-fi/espionage mystery adventure

From: The Design Mechanism

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

White Death is a new Role Playing Game Adventure from The Design Mechanism.

Up front, I am not familiar with the Mythras system, but I am told it is similar to the Basic Role Playing system which is derived from the classic Call of Cthulhu system, among others.  These systems I am very familiar with.

Earlier last year, Chad handed me a copy of his latest work and asked me to review it.  The way he described it to me intrigued me – elements of Cold War espionage, mystery and sci-fi coupled with an arctic theme was very much up my alley.  I had just finished writing a con adventure similar to this, set in an alternate future timeline – A Man in the High Castle meets The Expanse type setting.  At the very least, I could convert to something I play, if I wanted to run it.

It has nice and intriguing cover art.  It looks small and simple enough that it could be a convention game.  Skimming the introduction drew me even further as it mentioned 1980s and the Cold War – something I have somewhat familiar with in that I grew up in that era.  Diving in, my mind swam with ideas on what I could do with this adventure.

From the website: “A Soviet drift station in the Arctic ocean, seemingly abandoned. The Agency wants to know what the Russians were doing there and why it was so abruptly vacated. It has assembled a team to investigate; to uncover whatever it was the Soviet Union was using the station for.”

The adventure itself is a simple mission to something called a drift station.  A drift station is an transitory Arctic station usually used for geological or meteorological monitoring, that are built on ice flows.  Sometimes these stations were secretly used to monitor (aka spy on) the enemy.  Occasionally, the ice flows these stations are built on break away, and float off into the ocean.  In this case, a particular station suspected of being a secret abandoned Russian base of some kind, has broken off and is drifting away.  However, weather is making approach tricky and the intelligence is unclear as to what might be there.

The players are agents of an Agency.  This could be the CIA, MI6 or any other agency that might see the Russian intelligence and military services as adversaries.  It also says that this adventure can be included in something called the Luther Arkwright campaign, which is a campaign setting published by The Design Mechanism based on the award winning graphic novels by writer/artist Bryan Talbot.

The detail in the adventure is excellent.  It has the feel of an espionage and military adventure from the beginning.  It also has some subtle nuances that make the adventure very intriguing and suspenseful.  The cold isolation of the adventure makes it even more exciting.  The players parachute onto the drift and investigate a very cold and dark mystery.  The more they reveal, the more interesting it gets.

From the website: “But what the agents find might not be what they were expecting. And what’s more, the Russians are coming back…”

Without giving too much away,  the adventure does follow certain tropes but also has some surprises in it.  It does have some homages to John Carpenter’s The Thing and well as Alien.  However, the adventure is far more than just an investigation of the abandoned station.  There are events and encounters throughout that challenge the characters.  The station holds some secrets as does the ice itself.

The adventure provides six full-fleshed out characters in the Mythras system, all with their own skills and short backgrounds.  It also provides some custom rules for Sanity and Tenacity, cluing you that this game will get interesting.

In conclusion,  White Death is primarily a survival horror adventure with considerable mystery and intrigue.  Depending on what characters you use, the adventure can have even more intrigue.  The story of the adventure alone is fun and intense, regardless of system.  It is well written and definitely something I would run. 

For more details on The Design Mechanism and their new Role Playing Game AdventureWhite Death” check them out at their website.

Codex Rating: 19 out of 20

Product Summary

White Death

From: The Design Mechanism

Type of Game: Role Playing Game Adventure

Written by: Chad Bowser

Contributing Authors: Pete Nash, Lawrence Whitaker

Cover Art by: Dan MacKinnon

Additional Art by: Earl Geier

Number of Pages: 32

Game Components Included: Single Adventure, no core rules 

Game Components Not Included: Core Mythras rules

Retail Price: $ 4.99 (US)

Website: Product Website

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

 

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