This is basically an adventure module, which starts out (after some directions for the Referee that are good but a bit condescending in tone!) with a trip to a system called DM +17 2611-II. It's assumed that the party have been hired by a company called Trilon, who want to explore the place... if that's not the case, you might wish to ditch the opening 'ship's log' handout and substitute your own events which will end up with the same result: the ship crashed on the surface of DM +17 2611-II due apparently to a Kafer attack.
However you get to this starting point, this starts off with a survival situation in which the party will need to assess their injuries (determined using the task system) and see what equipment they have managed to salvage... before the crashed ship blows up! Not to mention that the Kafers might be coming to clean up...
Next comes a Referee's Synopsis of how the adventure as a whole ought to play out. Beginning with a crash-landing on an unexplored and inhospitable world, the starting point is pure survival, and a trek to somewhere a bit nicer than the ice field/tundra they have crashed upon. Further exploration can lead to 'First Contact' situation with the as-yet unknown denizens of the planet. Are they even sentient? Meet them and find out.
It is anticipated that the party will be stranded here for quite some time, years perhaps, before they are rescued. This will give them time to explore, to learn about the planet and all its inhabitants, and to get involved in anything that's going on. Once rescued, they'll need to determine how much information they will share with the rest of humankind. There's fame to be had - which could lead to a whole raft of potential adventures - or they may prefer to stay quiet and look at carving out their own domain on DM +17 2611-II.
The next section is The Planet. This provides a wealth of data about DM +17 2611-II itself, as well as ideas about how to run this extended survival scenario with plenty of advice on the sort of challenges that the characters will face and, from the mechanical standpoint, what they will need to do to overcome them. To help, it's followed by a section on Encounters and other material that cover the strange lifeforms that live on DM +17 2611-II. For example there's one called Color which helps you develop evocative descriptions of what the party sees and feels as they explore.
Finally, there's extensive information on the dominant life-form. They are truly alien, but are explained clearly and it should prove an interesting exercise to 'play' them for your party. Referees who get most of their enjoyment out of providing 'opponents' for the characters to fight may find this module less engaging, but if you like exploration, discovery and interaction this should provide a memorable game for you and your players. Unusual challenges include getting to grips with a completely non-verbal language/communication system and even getting involved in local affairs.
Overall, this is a lot more than a 'mere' survival adventure, with a very original bunch of aliens with whom to interact. Groups who like to push the boundaries with their games should find this enthralling.
Return to Energy Curve page.
Reviewed: 9 November 2015