The Ragged Edge (A Playtesters Review)

Neo

Mongoose
Okay the second review

BABYLON 5 2nd EDITION ADVENTURE; THE RAGGED EDGE

by Gareth Hanrahan

b5raggededge.jpg


This hardbound book rolls in at 168 pages cover to cover and can be played either as the conclusion to the previous The Cold Equations adventure or independantly on its own. It is set during the second series of Babylon 5 during the year of 2259. You can start this adventure at 2nd level and will finish it roughly at around 10th level. I should note its a little unfair to refer to this beast of a book as "AN" adventure as although it runs along a central story it is made up of not one but TEN independant scenarios!! And I have to tell you we had a blast playing this, Gar did an awesome job and before I've even told you what is in it i'd say go buy it :D (do I get pluggers fee? :) oo er ).

The cover of the book depicts a rather small image of the front of a Centauri Primus vessel and its launch bay along with a couple of escorting Vorchan flying through space. The rest of the cover is the nice new second edition starburst stylisation and logo.

As this is something of a MEGA campaign i will not give away anything but the basics of what each scenario is about as I dont want to spoil things for anyone.

The contents of the book are as follows.

Contents
Introduction
Scenario One - Intiation
Scenarion Two - The Proving Ground
Scenario Three - Excess Baggage
Scenario Four - War of the Queens (not as camp as it sounds honest :) )
Scenario Five - Green vs Purple
Scenario Six - The Turning of the Year
Scenario Seven - Escape from Babylon 5
Scenario Eight - And All Across the Galaxy the Stars Were Going Out
Scenario Nine - Heart of Darkness
Scenario Ten - The Orestes Legacy
Conclusion
Appendix A - Autumn Shipping
Appendix B - The Far Star
Appendix C - Blanks
Appendix D - The Earthforce Connection
Appendix E - Handouts (which will hopefully be available as a download!)
Index
License


as you can see..BIG BOOK...

so a brief idea of each adventure etc..

Scenario One - Intiation

In this adventure the characters are offered a job by Autumn Shipping Incorporated, to test thier skills and problem solving abilities. The job itself seems relatively simple sell the narns something they need.. the problem is they are already able to obtain said item for themselves so the characters must get them to buy the item from them and not obtain by other means. This adventure requires some creative thinking, diplomacy and good salemanship on the part of the players. As with all well thought adventures thier are many routes of approach to solving the problem.

Scenarion Two - The Proving Ground

In this adventure the characters are sent on a special training course by Autumn Shipping, which they soon discover is not just a communication and moral building exercise but instead intending to improve thier trade and espionage skills. Of course it wouldnt be much of an adventure if it didn't have complications :) and not all of the other trainees are what they seem.

Scenario Three - Excess Baggage

while on thier way back from thie training course the characters are sent into Centauri space to pick up a new vessel for Autumn Shipping. Once onboard they start to gain some insight as to the nature of thier employers. but also they suddenly find themselves the guardians of a spoilt centuari noblewoman fleeing an unworthy marriage and having to deal with some rather irate individuals as a result.. worse still they are suddenly being blamed for her kidnapping!!

Scenario Four - War of the Queens

A mysterious attack by a renegade Gaim on an old friend of Haversham leads the characters on an investigation.. an investigation whose implications could have drastic repurcussions for the entire Gaim species! worse yet they find themselves needing to put themselves in dire danger in order to put things right.

Scenario Five - Green vs Purple

I suspect the nature of this adventure will be fairly self evident to any Drazi fans out there, but the pc's contact Haversham sends the characters to a Drazi world where a Purple warlord has taken power.. on this planet they are required to secure the safety of a group of important tourists stranded amidst the Purple and Green strife. Of course things arent quite as simple and straightforward as they appear and the PC's suddenly find themselves knee depe in intrigue and needing to choose a side.

Scenario Six - The Turning of the Year

In this adventure the characters are sent to Narn to a certain object they retrieve in the "Green vs Purple" adventure above. As they attempt to discover more information about the artefact they run afoul of the schemes of a certain narn who sends them on a dangerous mission into the heart of Centauri space.

Scenario Seven - Escape from Babylon 5

In this adventure the characters return to the B5 station only to discover thier contact Haversham has vanished and that they are suddenly suspects balmed for his dissapearance, and needing to avoid numerous groups like the Ministry of Peace and b5 security itself as the characters must elude them all and try to escape the station while trying to discover what happened to haversham themselves.

Scenario Eight - And All Across the Galaxy the Stars Were Going Out

The characters now on the run from the Earth Force and the Ministry of Peace, and following clues they have discovered along the way to certain factors (which i wont mention) they return to Io where they meet someone who has some answers and sends them to Earth to perform a task. As the Pc's leave Io they are contacted and asked to rescue another individual who is more than he seems at first contact from an orbital satlitte before the Psi Corp captures the individual, things are obviously not as straight forward as they would appear and the characters are on the clock before the Psi Corp arrives and needing to avoid automated defences or abandon the individual in question.

Scenario Nine - Heart of Darkness

Sent by the contact they met on Io to ensure the safety of Susanna Luchenko, a Senator of the Russian Constorium and influential opponent of President Clark they suddenly find themselves admidst political strike and manoeuvring, assination plots and more. Thier decisions in this adventure can have significant effects on the outcomes of further reaching schemes going on around them.

Scenario Ten - The Orestes Legacy

Now having travelled to Centauri Prime carrying with them an important package they are thrown amidst Centauri politics where they finally recieve the answers to a lot of questions and discover just what it is they have become involved with and not only involved with. Before logn the characters are under attack by assassins the likes of which only thier worst nightmares could conjure up. Provided they survive they are later offered a choice that will have a dramatic effect on thier futures from this point onward.

Conclusion

where things can go from the adventure.. an insightful section with some good ideas

PRO'S
This adventure has it all and in bucketloads it is well thought out, doesnt just focus on combat indeed the Pc's will be forced time and time agin to thgink creatively and outside the box if they want to get ahead as thier actions all have consequences and they will be juggling relations will several factions throughout never really knowing quite whom to trust or not. It is a great introduction to most of the major races (except the minbari) and some of the league races and also to the ever changing political goings on of the universe at large that make up the B5 universe.
There are also new feats, equipment, contacts and ships stats a plenty to add something to your games even if you dont play the adventures.
also the locations and individuals (some iconics like G'kar and Marcus Cole) are also nice touches for the fans of the series.

CON'S
This has very few cons, the prime one for me was the maps.. I should note the maps are not bad but when you look at the maps provided in the first adventure in this two parter Cold Equations and then look at the ones in this mega adventure you will no doubt like me be left thinking "well what happened"? again they arent bad but the standard that was set in the first adventure is strangely absent in this one.
also many of the now established contacts and npc's of this adventure and cold equations should have been given faces in my opinion, simple head and shoulders artwork would have been a great way of giving face to the names they are dealing with time and time again. There is of course a fair bit of series stills used throughout as usual but beyond the maps no original art at all, which continues to be a sore spot for me, though certainly no fault of the writer Gareth or his writing, which continues to bring b5 to life in these adventures in an inspiring fashion.

OVERALL
Overall this adventure is top notch, the few art issues I have do not detract in anyway from the quality of these adventures and thier thought inspiring nature.
This adventure is epic and ends in a way that is unique and creative and will be something people will really like.

Visually 6 out of 10 The stills are nice, the maps good but coul;d have been better, the lack of any visuals for the important npc's however i feel was an issue though may not be so for others.

Content 10 out 10 normally i do not give higher than 9 as there is always room for improvement but this mega campaign is just immense and provides somethign for everyone. I am normally not a huge fan of published adventures instead preferring to create my own, however over the years there have been a handful across the various games that drew me in and stood out for thier quality and this and Cold Equations are among that small number. I would definitely recommend fans of the rpg buy this, they'll be glad they did.

Structure 9 out of 10 this adventure is structured in a useful way all pertinent info for each adventure is with each adventure. And should a GM have trouble finding anything there is a pretty extensive index in the back, which makes getting to the right page a breeze. Very well done.

Overall 9 out 10 Near perfect, nuff said
 

Tegman

Mongoose
I got it yesterday, but I didn't have time look at everything, but what I saw looked good. Nowdays I don't have so much time to come up with adventures of my own so this book is worth a lot to me, that's for sure.

I'm currently GMing a Conan campaign, but when that one is on hold I'll have plenty of adventures for B5. I think I have around 8 for the first season, and a couple for the second PLUS this book, so my players wont be disappointed. I will just have to up the competition when I start with The Cold Equations and The Ragged Edge, but that's no problem.
 

Neo

Mongoose
k, the review has been completed for those interested (check the first post).
 

frobisher

Mongoose
Alone in the Night said:
Here is a question though: How easy is it for players to blow the crap out of the entire thing with a well placed (or poorly placed) PPG shot?

Impossible if I was GM'ing ;)

It's all down to preparation. If you've played with Captain Random before, you'll know the stunts he'll try and pull and you can make it so that he can try, but never "suceed".
 

Neo

Mongoose
Alone in the Night said:
Here is a question though: How easy is it for players to blow the crap out of the entire thing with a well placed (or poorly placed) PPG shot?

Each scenario is very well thought out and doesnt have only one means of approach, indeed the locations, the npcs and the objective are presented but how the pc's get there is largely down to them.

It isnt that easy to break a scenario with unplanned actions and even then part and parcel of what a GM is for is to make sure that those curveballs still work around to the same objective even if in a roundabout fashion :)
 

ShadowScout

Mongoose
Got it, read through it...

...and i have to second all you wrote about it!

I might have a few quibs with it, but they're rather minor ones (easily corrected by GM-induced changes; for example, it's bad form to use Shady creatures when a group of common Centauri special ops commandos will do the job just as well; so that's what I will do instead, same goes for the ShadowShip in the final confrontation - in 2259 the Shadows aren't moviong openly, so their ships will stay hidden unless they really need to DO something, so that's whyt it will do in my campaign...) I liked the whole storyline very much, and will introduce it in my next run (just have to see how I can mesh it with the stuff from "Into the Crucible", which I like too... but if I handle the final outcome a bit more "grey" then suggested it will do nicely to prepare my players for the next part of my campaign...)

Anyway, I had another idea while reading through TRE... concerning maps:
(Mongoose guys, this concerns you, so please read this and think about it)
I noticed we get really great downloads for the handouts from Mongoose. Why not also a "Map Pack" for each supplement? It would make things much easier, especially for those GM's who like tactical combat in their games (which also becomes more and more likely as more 25-mm miniatures are released - I could esily see a bunch of my "Harlequin-made" character miniatures fight a running battles with the "Mongoose-made" Narn Warriors on a map printed by my inkjet...)
And if this were made, why not have the maps as edit-able "jpg" files? That way a GM could use his graphic skills to "fill out" the maps to his liking... and then submit them back to Mongoose, who could make the best maps available to the general public again!
And while we're at it, why stop with maps from the supplements? I would really like to have the map of the "Lightbringer" from Signs&Portents-15!

Come on, give us maps... you know we want them! :wink: :) :D
 

Mongoose Gar

Mongoose
ShadowScout said:
Got it, read through it...

...and i have to second all you wrote about it!

I might have a few quibs with it, but they're rather minor ones (easily corrected by GM-induced changes; for example, it's bad form to use Shady creatures when a group of common Centauri special ops commandos will do the job just as well; so that's what I will do instead, same goes for the ShadowShip in the final confrontation - in 2259 the Shadows aren't moviong openly, so their ships will stay hidden unless they really need to DO something, so that's whyt it will do in my campaign...) I liked the whole storyline very much, and will introduce it in my next run (just have to see how I can mesh it with the stuff from "Into the Crucible", which I like too... but if I handle the final outcome a bit more "grey" then suggested it will do nicely to prepare my players for the next part of my campaign...)

Ah, you have to leave the Shadow Ship at the end. The entire special effects budget was spent on that reveal :).

More seriously - glad you liked it.
 

Chernobyl

Mongoose
I'd agree with encounter maps and minis. At the moment I think my cardboard heroes are going to come in handy until we get some of the more common minis available - lurkers, station personell, zocalo types, etc... I love the look of the mini's I've seen so far but they're all combat-types (minbari soldiers, narn warriors, centauri guards...) and I'm looking for some of the less obvious types...diplomats, agents, maintenance techs, etc...
Not that I won't buy the existing minis but thought I should make my tastes known!

Chern
 
Chernobyl said:
I'd agree with encounter maps and minis. At the moment I think my cardboard heroes are going to come in handy until we get some of the more common minis available - lurkers, station personell, zocalo types, etc... I love the look of the mini's I've seen so far but they're all combat-types (minbari soldiers, narn warriors, centauri guards...) and I'm looking for some of the less obvious types...diplomats, agents, maintenance techs, etc...
Not that I won't buy the existing minis but thought I should make my tastes known!

Chern

Here, Here!

The current minis look great (well except for the centauri noble with the topknot :? , but that's an entirely different discussion) but some "average joe" miniatures like traders, maintenance techs, diplomats, lurkers would be awesome.
 

sigma957

Mongoose
only real problem is either a narn or a centauri pc makes the whole thing fall apart, well narn more than centauri
 

Mongoose Gar

Mongoose
I'd argue with that - any character with the potential to break the whole campaign structure (like, say, a Narn military officer in active service) is unlikely to get recruited by Autumn Shipping in the first place.
 

sigma957

Mongoose
in the case of narn active mil, yes he wouldnt be recruited,

however even a non active narn who is free and able will find a certain plannet hard in the extreme to visit, at the end at least if not earlier
 

Mongoose Gar

Mongoose
Early on, Narn in Centauri space will face harassment and extra scrutiny, but they've got the necessary documentation to be there legally, so they should be ok. And by the end of the campaign, well - if you don't have a enough ranks in Intrigue to at least wear a black hooded cloak, then I'll eat the hat of your choice. :)
 
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