The Game Master's Kit consists of two components: a GM screen and a 32-page booklet which contains an adventure. A screen's a screen, right? This one has loads of useful combat charts on the GM's side and a sort of aerial view of a cityscape (Hive World, perhaps?) on the other side - not wildly exciting considering the scope of the setting, but reasonably fitting and not too distracting.
The adventure is called Desolation of the Dead, and follows on nicely from the one in the back of the core rulebook. It's set on Hive Desoleum and deals with corruption - and worse - amongst the Carrion Guilds (read: undertakers) in the depths of the most impoverished parts of the Hive. As you might expect, it begins with investigation - undercover is suggested but that's up to the Acolytes, however the denizens of these desolate deprived slums are none too keen on talking to anyone representing authority - and continues with a perilous journey to the prime suspect's lair with the likelihood of combat to thwart his evil schemes once they get there. There's plenty of opportunity for interaction and role-playing, with a lot of descriptive material to help the GM make it all come to life - reading it I can almost imagine the smells, fortunately there's no way to recreate those! There's some advice on how to keep the investigation flowing, but you will have to find your own way to ensure that enough clues are discovered to keep the Acolytes on track. Suggestions for follow-up adventures are included.
Even if you and your players do not fancy a squelch through the slime (it certainly doesn't present as a nice place to visit although it does sum up the underlying decay and foulness that pervades the Imperium well), the second part of the book may be of interest. It discusses the concept of the Nemesis, a recurring enemy who may be behind more than just the small-scale plots starting Acolytes deal with. There's often a sense of a lot more going on in the background, and this section discusses how to create the NPCs behind these vaster conspiracies, looking at who they might be, how they operate, and what their ultimate goals are... thoughts that could shape a series of adventures or even a whole campaign. Several samples are provided to use as is or as inspiration for your own creations.
The adventure is a bit linear, but exciting for all that provided the Acolytes can retain their lunches (perhaps writing the review whilst eating mine wasn't the best idea!) but the material about designing a nemesis and building a plot arc around him is excellent if you enjoy designing your own adventures.
Return to Dark Heresy 2e Game Master's Kit page.
Reviewed: 21 May 2015