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Emissary Lost (2018)

Yea, no, Ghazali is not the best way to prepare for the rest of Coriolis’ scenarios. This is Emissary Lost (2018), the first part of the Mercy of the Icons campaign. There’s…a lot here. Most of it is good, some of it is under-baked.

Let’s start with the under-baked, actually. Under all the good stuff are two scenarios that are pretty linear and…I don’t want to say railroady per se, but they seem to spin on some fairly narrow assumptions from the designers about what the players will opt to do. That’s not ideal. Neutral things you might not like: the plot involves an extremely elaborate conspiracy with lots of factions and NPCs, which is honestly a little hard to parse while reading let alone running at the table. Also, the thread here is going to lead to big paradigm shifts in the Coriolis setting, which feels a little hasty to me.

All that said, here’s the good: literally everything else. The art is fantastic and evocative throughout. It spurred me on to read more and learn more even when I was getting a little lost, because the people and places depicted demand to be experienced. There is so much love for this setting on display, endless detail, really (Free League takes its name from a faction in the game, indicating the company’s investment). The NPCs in particular are endlessly fascinating, refusing to be pigeonholed as good or bad, they’re both, and often they are impulsive and don’t act in their best interests.

There is also a ton of supplemental setting material. The scenarios are really fairly brief, but the setting info coupled with some tools for generating adventures, adds quite a bit of value (and non-linearity) to the proceedings.

But do I want to run it? I don’t honestly know. I enjoyed reading it and I generally enjoy the setting, but both running and playing this campaign does not seem easy…

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