This adventure is set on the planet Aurore, in a system which was recently a battleground between humanity and the Kafer, an alien race that does not seem disposed to find ways of sharing the galaxy with other sentients. The book contains background material on Aurore itself, the major settlement of Tanstafl, the Kafer, and a whole series of interlinked adventures suitable for a party of freelance adventurers or mercenaries. Most of this work is for referee's eyes only, with the usual 'read alound' material and a few handouts.
The first section, Aurore, is written to provide the referee with background information on the planet itself and the Eta Bootis system in which it was found, with the specific intent of providing material to remind players that their characters are on an alien world. For a start, Aurore is actually the moon of a gas giant that's almost but not quite a full-blown star in its own right. It's tidally-locked and only parts of the planet are habitable, so settlements need to be located with care. There is a lot of physical and astronomical data to absorb here, things which give rise to a unique planetary setting. There are environmental dangers as well, things that long-time Aurorean residents are accustomed to but which can easily catch newcomers (like the party!) unawares.
The next section, Aurorean Biology, delivers a wealth of native lifeforms, many of which are actively inimical to people. It seems that mutually-incompatible biology does not stop them trying to eat people, even if they won't get nourishment (or may even be poisoned) by the attempt!
These sections are followed by one about Tanstaafl. Built on the site of the first colony, this is the premier city on Aurore, situated near to the spaceport of Port Blackjack. As well as describing the city in reasonable detail, it also lists a lot of other settlements to be found on Aurore, mostly with a sentence or two to give at least an idea about them.
Next is a section on Kafers. This is definitely 'referee territory' - very little is known about this race at present except that they are not interested in forming alliances or sharing the galaxy with anyone! However, what little is known about them and their activity is presented in a separate sub-section that can be shared with players as you see fit. The rest they'll have to find out the hard way...
Then comes the Campaign Introduction. This begins with some background and scene-setting information, which assumes that the party has arrived on Aurore in search of adventure or as mercenaries seeking work - of which there is plenty either in the militia or as a private military contractor. Four actual adventures are provided, as well as ample scope for devising your own given the information in this book. Having played through this module many years ago, I can now see how the referee used elements of the adventures provided and wove them into a plot of his own design making use of the material here...
Overall, this work provides an interesting setting and a wealth of background material, with loads of adventure ideas to use in conjunction with your own plots to create a memorable experience for all concerned.
Return to Kafer Dawn page.
Reviewed: 12 November 2015