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D20 Modern: The Beast Within

The Beast Within

This is a fine, fast-paced adventure with a heady mix of investigation and combat which should keep the interest of all manner of players. It starts with a bang (almost literally, the recommended 'hook' is involving the characters in a road traffic accident!), and sweeps them along as they start out thinking they are just clearing their names from a minor traffic infraction and maybe investigating a murder to attempting to stay alive and, possibly more importantly, sane.

After a comprehensive overview describing the background, major NPCs and a likely course of events, the adventure is presented in a comprehensive manner. It is broken down into sections, with plenty of options to account for both character choices and the outcome of die rolls, and includes checklists of what information should be available at each stage. This makes it easy for a novice GM to use, and frees up the more experienced one to manage the flow of the adventure and concentrate on the role-playing aspects of creating his alternate reality, while knowing that every necessary detail will be to hand when needed.

Every NPC is provided with a 'profile' explaining what he is like, and a couple of in-character quotes; most have full statistics (except those who are not going to engage in combat for whatever reason). There are also comprehensive maps of the complex that the characters will either have to break into or out of... and a note on the in-game versions of insanities they may develop. There is also a rather neat police accident form which can be personalised (well, you need to print it out and write on it) to suit the precise incident that starts the adventure off.

Overall, this is a good fast-paced adventure with a lot going on for the characters to investigate... and plenty of ways in which it can be made personal, this is not one they will want to just walk away from. The ending rather lets it down, being a bit weak and trying to claim with no real reason that "Nothing really happened," but an inventive GM will be able to be more creative and find a way to round things off in a more satisfactory manner - perhaps the characters will attempt to sell their story and so encounter interesting people and further adventures...

This adventure is well worth using as a one-off, in starting a campaign based in Pinebox, or as something that starts off as a mild annoyance on the way to do something else and turns into a full-blown and quite scary adventure with no warning.

Return to The Beast Within page.

Reviewed: 16 June 2007