Originally designed as a two-round tournament scenario to be run on the convention circuit, this is a tightly-scripted adventure set on the seamy side of Hong Kong, where cutting-edge technology rubs shoulders with ancient mystiscism and traditional Triads put an unusual spin on 'normal' street gang thuggery.
It opens with a synopsis of the adventure and a survey of the background setting (although reading the Hong Kong chapter of Runner Havens is recommended for the GM who really wants to get into the spirit of it all). As a tournament game, pre-generated characters are provided, although it will not prove challenging to adapt it to an existing team of 'runners, especially as they are being sent to a location strange to most if not all of them. A neat touch in the notes for the first scene, when the characters meet to get briefed for the job, is a note about giving players time to interact as the provided characters are an established team whilst their players may just have met for the first time!
The adventure proceeds apace, with well-scripted scenes in which the information you'll need to run each scene placed at your fingertips. There's an extensive 'Cast of Shadows' section with NPC details to refer to as well. Atmosphere is well done, with encouragement to highlight how different this all is from what the 'runners are used to, especially as the Mr. Johnson has chosen to provide luxury transportation, accommodation and support services for his hirelings... but naturally expects quality service in return!
An interesting feature of this adventure is that one of the characters provided is a Hacker, and provision is made in the shape of things for him to do... a nice touch, all too many folks shy away from writing for Hackers as it can be a bit hard to cope with someone off netrunning whilst the rest of the party remain in the 'meat' world. Here things are interleaved nicely, and if you prefer to use your own characters it will be worth considering providing an NPC Hacker if nobody in your group plays one.
As a whole, the adventure is well balanced with investigation, interaction and combat a-plenty, with scope for those who use magic as well as those who specialise in combat, infiltration or talking... nobody should feel excluded from the action for long. The whole flavour of Hong Kong as a location comes over well, I suspect that the author may have been there! There are both set-piece combat encounters and situations that may result in a brawl depending on how they play out. There are clear maps for those locations in which combat is likely or in which it is scripted to take place.
The characters provided are well-developed with complete backgrounds and could easily be adopted by groups who do not have time or inclination to generate their own, and could well continue on to other adventures if desired.
Overall, it's a well-written and interesting adventure with a taut plotline and plenty of action, something to keep to hand for when you fancy a couple of sessions of Shadowrun or for a suitable moment in a campaign where your own characters have reached sufficient renown on the 'running circuit to be approached for this job.
Return to Bad Moon Rising in the East page.
Reviewed: 8 August 2012