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Maiden Voyage (Penumbra / D20) by Chad Brouillard
ISBN: 1589780035
ISBN13: 978-1589780033
Author: Chad Brouillard
Book title: Maiden Voyage (Penumbra / D20)
Other Formats: doc mobi docx rtf
Pages: 40 pages
Publisher: Atlas Games; First Edition edition (August 1, 2001)
Language: English
Size PDF version: 1118 kb
Size ePub version: 1177 kb
Size fb2 version: 1665 kb

There's a tale you might hear in a tavern by the docks, if you catch an old sea dog on a dark night laden with rum. He'll tell you of an all but forgotten sea god with a hatred for the living and their ships that so brazenly cross his waters without offering the blood sacrifice he demanded in the days of yore. The god's powers have been waning, as brave sailors of all the races bravely cast off in search of far horizons and treasures to fill their holds, but on the darkest of days his might returns.

The grizzled sailor may have known someone who set sail on the Sea Maiden, just before such a day three decades ago, and never returned. Others may tell you that the crew of the Sea Maiden was restless, and mutiny was in the air; the crew no doubt ended up hanged as pirates in a distant port. But your storyteller assures you he knows better: the dark god of the sea had his vengeance -- and he will have it again one day soon.

Maiden Voyage features:

* A plot easily added to any game with a sea journey. * Diagrams of two seagoing vessels for players to explore. * A cut-out section of NPC stats and background for easy reference. * A new monster, the Sea Scourge, and a new monster template for GMs to apply to their unfortunate victims.

Books reviews
"Maiden Voyage" by Chad Brouillard, published by Penumbra and distributed by Atlas Games. An adventure module for 1st to 3rd level characters. Here's a quick look at the contents.

The "Intro" only has a brief "Before the Adventure" overview, and the Open Gaming License.

The "Before the Journey" chapter details "The Albers", a small one-masted ship, and a couple of encounters with dock NPC's, and the Albers crew, among other things.

"Day One: First Impressions", contains a card game characters can learn, and some shipboard rumors, including the sighting of a "Sea Serpent", and an eclipse.

"Day Two: The Calm Before the Storm", shows the players not only a valuable prisoner, but that the crew is very restless.

"Day Three: Murder and Mutiny", allows players to help with the investigation of a murder and the results of their investigation.

"Day Four: The Ghost Ship". Herein lies the core of the adventure, the sighting and subsequent boarding of "The Sea Maiden" and what happens next.

The appendix gives stats for the NPC's and three pages of player handouts that I think are hard to read, and would probably be worse if copied.

This 40 page adventure would serve as a great intro to seaborne adventures, or simply a filler between two city adventures. It is unfortunate that the open gaming content uses a background color that makes the text here hard to read as well. Ordinarily, I'd give this module a solid four stars, but with the text in many places hard to read, I just can't give it more than three. Still, if you're looking to see if your players are interested in seagoing tales, it's a good start.
Atlas has been really hit or miss with their Penumbra titles. Some, like Three Days to Kill or In the Belly of the Beast, have been great. The Tide of Years was solid if a bit hard to work into a campaign, while Thieves in the Forest was a bit too simplistic for my tastes. Maiden Voyage continues Atlas' trend of uneven quality. The basic concept is sound. The module describes the events surronding a sea voyage, and should be pretty easy to work into any campaign where the players have to go from point A to point B via ship. However, the basic execution displays quite a few weaknesses.
The module relies quite a bit on roleplaying between the ship's crew and the characters, but the crew is very poorly detailed and represents little more than a collection of cliches. None of the characters really stand out, and roleplaying them will require a bit of work from the DM. The ecounter with the most potential, an excursion to the ruined hulk of a dormant ghost ship, is severely underdetailed and really fails to take advantage of such a cool setting for an adventure. Instead, the module revolves around interacting with poorly described, generic NPCs and a pretty pedestrian fight with some attacking undead.
This module ranks above Thieves in the Forest but below The Tide of Years. Atlas really needs to start producing better modules if it wants to compete with companies like Green Ronin and Sword & Sorcery. I expect a lot more from the company that produces games like Ars Magica and Unknown Armies.
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