A holiday resort is a place you go to relax, sit around the pool, eat and drink, stuff like that, right? Not if you're playing Dark Conspiracy it's not...
This three-part adventure tells the tale of the inhabitants of another dimension trying to sneak into our own, with the intention of getting up to no good once here - and they've chosen a prime vacation spot as their infiltration point. The Introduction explains what is going on and provides a synopsis of the entire plot. To start with, of course, you need to find a way to get the party into the right place, the holiday resort of Bar Harbour - which is a real place in Maine as it happens, so you can use real maps and other materials to support your game. Several ideas are provided: you can pick the one best suited to your group or come up with your own... after all, you know them better than the authors do! The three briefings provided are for parties with eco-terrorist leanings, members of the military, and people who just happen to be there - either they've heard some of the rumours provided or they might just have decided it was time for a vacation!
The first part of the action takes the party to a nearby island. Getting there (unless you take the military option) is a bit of an adventure in itself as the authorities are barring access. Once there, the party can explore and try and figure out what has been going on... and will probably find themselves fighting for their lives before too long! This adventure requires good combat skills as well as brains to complete. There are lots of atmospheric descriptions here, whatever's happened is decidedly nasty.
The second part of the adventure seems quite unconnected, and indeed could take place after some intervening adventures. All the more surprise when elements from the first part are revealed! Again scenes of mounting horror have to be investigated and dealt with. During this part, the party should discover (or be given) a particular device that will become important during the third part, which takes them to the alternate dimension... well, they do say the best form of defence is offence. This all begins with an intriguing note from an academic who needs some more, shall we say, action-oriented folk to follow up on his reseach. What better idea than go stop the invasion at source?
Throughout the entire adventure, there are loads of options to enable you to react appropriately to whatever the party does... and plenty of possible outcomes depending on their actions and how successful they are. Oddly enough, as I sit reading this adventure for the purposes of review, I realise that I played it some 20-odd years ago! I enjoyed it as a player then, and now I've seen how it's all put together, I understand how it makes a truly cracking adventure. Lots going on, all manner of useful contacts, potential for follow-up adventures... what more could you want? Well, perhaps a holiday resort that IS safe and relaxing - but we're here for adventure!
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Reviewed: 27 October 2017