In the lawless times of the dark near-future predicted by this game, Dark Minions take advantage of governments preoccupied with cost-cutting and public disinterest to get up to all sorts of things, and this adventure leads the party into a whole can of worms as they start investigating the disappearance of a nurse on behalf of a distraught uncle. The evidence they unearth should lead them to a dastardly plot set to engulf Moscow... a long way from a missing young lady in New York.
The Referee's Synopsis lays this all out and explains that each sequence leads into the next, with clues for later events scattered through earlier ones... yet, if the party strays off course, it should be relatively straightforward to point them back again with a few well-placed additional pieces of information. It all begins with a worried ex-pat Russian, Lobov, who has a tale to tell about his niece...
He has some letters that she sent to him which have some rather disturbing comments about the hospital in which she was working. He'd already hired a private detective, but he hadn't got very far, so he's turned to the party for help. The letters are reproduced and can be used as handouts... good luck with her handwriting, it's dreadful! Lobov will fund the party's travel to New York and some limited accommodation and expenses once there. Most people they meet either don't know anything or are actively unhelpful, the logical conclusion is to investigate the hospital she worked in itself. There's plenty of background to enable this investigation to be as thorough as the party wants.
One thing leads to another and the party ends up in Russia, whether they intended it or not... and on dodgy ground as they don't have the correct paperwork. More well-resourced opportunities follow, along with informal contacts with like-minded investigators in Russia. There's plenty to do, although you may need to point the party in the right direction upon occasion - they are in an unfamiliar and foreign land, after all. Once the immediate threat has been dealt with, they'll then have to deal with the Committee that runs Moscow, which leads to a further job before they can think about coming home.
Background information on both Moscow and New York is provided, which will be of use in setting the scene not just during this adventure but any time your campaign involves either city. Throughout the adventure, there are ample opportunities to use (abuse?) empathic characters with feelings and full-blown dreams that you can describe to them in appropriate places. Specifically Russian monsters and equipment are also to be found at the end of the book as well.
It makes for an intriging adventure, although players who thirst for action may find parts of the investigation slow and tedious... it's supposed to be, and opportunities to get more physical are there in the course of time, possibly even more enjoyable for frustrated players who feel the investigation is going nowhere fast. A good adventure for the more thoughtful, who enjoy atmosphere and role-playing interactions - even dealing with officialdom - at least as much as they enjoy a brawl!
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Reviewed: 19 October 2017