Visitor Q: Glad to hear you've enjoyed it. To be honest, my low opinion of If Looks Could Kill is mostly based on how overwritten and hard to follow it is. It could be a fine scenario if someone deleted half the text and reorganised the rest. I generally dislike linear scenarios, so I would have to dismantle this one to let my players play on their own initiative... but the text seems very unfit for this purpose. I just can't imagine how you can use it in any other way than simply going one paragraph after another, exactly in the order they are written. Anything else and you get lost immediately. As I've mentioned, I'm mainly an OSR player and the recent WFRP 4e adventures generally feel like overwritten railroads to me.
Thad said, I've been reading these scenarios to select some for my upcoming WFRP campaign. I might try running If Looks Could Kill anyway just to see if my intuition is right.
Here's some I actually like:
***** NIGHT OF BLOOD
This very short, 7 page scenario is a great one-shot experience and I can't really think of any negatives. The basic premise is that the characters are caught outside in the woods in the middle of a stormy night, and they seek shelter in an inn in the middle of nowhere. A classic horror setup. There's something weird going on in the inn but they can't really put their finger on it at first.
The adventure is structured as a map of the inn which the players can explore on their own and gather clues. These are cleverly scattered around to build tension and anxiety. The core of the adventure is in roleplaying with several NPCs (and great ones, too!), which are - again - a bit disturbing. It takes a while to really find out what's going on - but then, the situation really explodes. The underlying structure reminds me of A Rough Night at Three Feathers, in that there's an underlying "script" of what would happen if the players didn't disturb the process. But of course they'll disturb it.
I love the open-ended structure of this. The players face many interesting decisions an always have a free initiative to act. I've played this twice with two different groups, and I already want to play it for the third time, this time trying a slightly different approach in how I'd play the NPCs... just to see what difference it would make. This is high praise.
7 pages, free to download, the best WFRP 4e adventure (although a reprint) I've ready so far.
**** THE AFFAIR OF THE HIDDEN JEWEL (included in Enemy in Shadows Companion)
This was a very pleasant surprise!
This is a slightly comedic "melodramatic" adventure. It's a bit over the top, with mustache-twirling villains and maniacal pyromaniacs. It even advises you to enjoy all the clichés.
The first part is situated in inn. The players arrive to meet the innkeeper who's searching for a gem that's been stolen by cunning bandits. The second part of the adventure happens in a tiny, decrepit chateau in the middle of the woods. In between, there's a lot of negotiations, suspicions, bomb dodging, horseback chases and other tropes. The NPCs are fun an interesting, borderline parody. The whole thing reminds me of Robin Hood with Kevin Costner (although the adventure is older than the film).
Structurally, these are two locations (an inn and a chateau) with detailed maps. There are some NPCs placed in them, each with their own goals and motivations. There's a modest timeline of events in the beginning but the second part is completely unscripted. The chateau is actually just a map, a list of its inhabitants, and that's it – the rest is up to you and your players. Despite that, there's a promise of a great story based on interesting NPCs. I have to admire this old-school brevity (the original from 1988 only had 8 pages, the new reprint is just a little longer) and how the adventure trusts the GM to be able to handle this without a precise script.
All in all: a funny, over-the-top, mostly social adventure with almost no supernatural elements. Pure unpretentious fun.
*** IT'S YOUR FUNERAL
This is the newest Graeme Davis scenario that uses the Rough Night at Three Feathers Structure. This time, there's a funeral, a dozen of NPCs or so, and seven plotlines. You get the description of the NPCs and the goals, you get the assumed timeline, and then you let your players ruin it all. Have fun!
I love the location here - this takes place in Morr's gardens, and really brings this aspect of Warhammer lore to life (heh). Basically, it shows you how funerals and the clergy of the god of death work in Warhammer - not by telling you, but showing you, and immersing you in a story. It's basically impossible for the players not to be dragged into the events.
This is a fun scenario, as the Three Feathers-based ones tend to be, even though this one has some rough edges:
(1) A large part of the action happens in crowd scenes with way too many important NPCs present, which may be a bit too much to handle for the GM. Brain overload. What's worse, the presence of the town watch and the castle guard might actually dissuade the players from doing anything. I've actually played this as a player, and many times I've felt the best course of action was just to watch, letting other people deal with stuff. It was fun but a bit too passive at times. There's surprisingly little small-scale action with only a handful of NPCs which the players could more easily join.
(2) It all takes place in a graveyard, which is a huge open space where people can see almost anything. It's very hard to think of secret actions to do. Combine this with the crowd scenes, and the whole thing actually feels less varied and more linear than it is – it can feel as if everything were happening at the same time, at the same place.
(3) Some of the plot lines don't actually make sense. The main plot is about changing coffins (a) in the middle of the funeral, (b) in an open chapel with no doors, which is (c) surrounded by a crowd of people. Why?! I just don't understand why the plotters wouldn't do this before the funeral. It's also pretty much impossible for them to succeed because they logically must be seen - and yet the timeline happily assumes the plot will just suceed. It's breaking my suspension of disbelief and I find it hard to run and justify at the table. (Fun fact: At one point, the timeline is literally broken because the plotters seems to be swapping a coffin that hasn't arrived yet.)
(4) Some of the plot lines feel rough and unfinished. Actually, the whole adventure feels rough and unfinished. I know it came from a brainstorming session at some come. But it seems that Greame just haphazardly put the thing together and released it as quickly as possible, without giving it much though. I'm pretty sure this hasn't been playtested at all.
Still, a fun scenario with some rough edges to fix.