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The Sevenfold Path


Author: Jeff Moeller
Art: Divers Hands
Publisher: Chaosium Inc. MULA Monograph 0403, October 2011.

Review by: G. Roby
The monograph is 137 pages in total and is divided into the "sourcebook" part (page 22-41) and the rest. No appendix or extra handout-pages added: the 4th scenario ends on page 137. It is one big scenario - you can play just the first scenario, but I would call the book one big scenario. The author describes his campaign as "very pulpy" and I have to agree on that point. Its not the monster-everywhere pulp - it's rather the background and a few monsters or .. hmm... Entities. But on the other Hand it's really strong on the investigative side too. So I think a keeper can move the main "feeling" of the campaign towards the favoured play-style of the group. The scenario itself is not very deadly - and if you skip one maybe two scenes or let the investigators prepare carefully - it's provides good chances to stay alive.

What really is a good thing in this scenario is the general background of the northern mythology in the storyline. It gave the scenario a good unique feeling and made it more believable to take place in Iceland. Plus some very nice real historic elements (e.g. Laki) blend into the background of the story. I really enjoyed that.

The writing is fine and it was easy to follow the flow of the story. Some parts (especially the ruins in the first scenario) are a bit too detailed. It might be helpful for new keepers, but I found it a bit too long. I know that I would have to highlight the hot-spots anyway and make sure my players get all the relevant information. But on the other hand it really gives a good feel for the "old iceland", because it's the first historic place the players go to. Later locations are described with less details so it might be good to have the first one with many details. The second of 4 parts starts on page 77.

For the investigations offers the author good written "research" overviews. They offer enough for the keeper to keep track on what the investigators still have to find and what they need to find out to progress. Even some very nice small things are mentioned like customs. All that might help the players later on.

Handouts and Maps are not great. They are ok to work with, but nothing more than that. The layout is fine. From my point of view handouts should always be solid. Parts like "A Cthulhu Mythos roll equates...." is a no-go for me. (Turn to Stone, #1) I would have to rewrite that handout: take out the maybe information and just add it verbally if the investigators made the roll.

The Adventure Hook should be built up a bit. If Investigators might ask why they we're called - the Keeper should have a bit more solid answer. The whole Arne/Lini plot could be bit more clear: why the investigators? But that's normal keeper work.

The scenario suggests a 2 months+ time-gap between part two and three. I'm not a big fan of such things, but if you have specific dates I think the scenario should provide a nice interlude.

The last part is really good written. It provides different versions of the same material and makes a good mixture of folklore, myth, literature and storyline. Really well done! It's hard not to spoil on this part - but the book really offers something uniquely "Icelandic" here.

If the keeper provides a good feeling of isolation throughout the campaign it will add to the atmosphere. Keepers might put up a sticky note on the inside of their Keeper's screen "Isolation" - the book misses to mention that more often (I think it is just mentioned once). Same for the Daylight conditions - the keeper should keep those things in mind to set the "northern" tone right.
Daylight info: http://www.enjoyicel...daylight_hours/

Overall is the book worth buying if you want something take place in Iceland. It's not one of that sort where the story can take place everywhere - no it has to be Iceland! That makes this campaign special. You still have to cope with strong pulp elements - even if the whole campaign is heavy on the investigative side - don't forget that! But the monograph gives a good overview of Iceland and Reykjavik and offers an quite unique scenario in a specific area of the world. It gives enough material to fill the scenario with living NPCs and add a nordic feel to the whole campaign.

If I would play that campaign with my players: I would cut on the pulpy side! But that's my taste. If you don't want to play the scenario but looking for a Iceland sourcebook you might be happy - you might be disappointed - really depends on the things you want to find. The book is not a Swiss army knife sourcebook - but more than enough to make this scenario unique and believable.

P.S. Hidden on page 83 is a link to a wonderful little video from 1926. I don't want keepers to miss it - that's why I add the link from the book here:



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