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Brotherhood of the Hand


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TERROR'S MARTYR

 

YAY4BotH

 

Brotherhood of the Hand is, in short, a well-dessigned, short, and flashy ride, with plenty of substance to the play. The scenario's plot felt a tad awry in terms of "stranger" and eventually "ghost town", but the sequences themselves were marvelous. (I'm giving Drizzt a bonus for *not* including the "two gates you must open" dungeon in his waterfall maze, I have no idea how many of those I've seen!) The nodework was great, so were graphics, and so was gameplay. It was a bit short, but it was probably better for it (although I still feel gameplay would increase, with a bit more length). I reccomend you play this scenario. I don't care who you are in particular, I doubt anyone could find this experience particularilly painful at all. Good

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ALCRITAS

 

A bit too short

 

But otherwise, very good. The Temple puzzle is one of my all-time favorites.

 

You see, Donald Trump got hit by a falling anchor, and while his brain was intact, his body was shattered. The only way to save him — put his brain into the body of a cat, Bill D. Cat to be specific. Eventually Trump bought up the rest of Bloom County, forcing all the residents to move elsewhere. Steve Dallas got a stint in “Cathy”. Oliver was shipped off to “Family Circus” (Forced busing). Milo went off to “The Farside” to be periodically eaten by snakes. Portney and Hodgepodge? Cleanup duty on “Marmaduke”. And Opus and Ronald-Ann crossed the tracks to live in “Outland”.

 

About a year and a half later, Trump went broke, and I wrote Berkley Breathed to see if Trump would maybe have to sell Bloom County back. I never got a response.

 

* * *

 

In The Brotherhood of the Hand, Drizzt’s (author of Forsaken) second scenario, your party travels to the Outland of Exile, returning to the secret society the scenario gets its name from. Of course, being a Blades of Exile scenario, trouble awaits. You’ll quickly discover that the leader of the Hand is in trouble, and for some reason, needs the help of your party in particular.

 

After a somewhat peculiar detour to a local Exile fort, and a battle with some disgruntled Sliths, you’ll find yourself back at the fortress of the Hand, where the scenario offers your party a choice — proceed directly to the finish, or take a detour in an attempt to win.

 

The more direct route is perhaps a bit too direct. The intervening dungeon is very clever, but ends far too quickly. Playing through to finish the first time, I was rather shocked when I got the “Congratulations, You’ve finished the scenario” message in what seemed like twenty minutes after I started. The “Finish” route leaves the player feeling rather empty, as if he or she has just shown up, hacked up some baddies, and then left. You’re aware that something’s going on around you, but you have SO little information it doesn’t achieve the mystery atmosphere the scenario seeks to achieve. You end up feeling a little too much like the occasional “random extra cop” on The X-Files, just sitting there going “Huh?” as the scenario ends.

 

Fortunately, the scenario picks up dramatically if you decide to try and win it. The initial puzzle in the Vahanati Temple is extraordinarily clever — one of the best three or four BOE puzzles ever — , and the levels revealed by completion of this puzzle are very well done. The information provided and atmosphere created by these levels easily allows the scenario to realize the mystery atmosphere it seeks, and makes it quite a pleasure to play. The winning ending is perhaps still a bit too abrupt, a presents a bit of potential plot flaw, but it does nicely set up a potential sequel, assuming Drizzt ever comes back from Germany.

 

All said, The Brotherhood of the Hand is quite an enjoyable and engaging scenario, just make sure you don’t stop short at finishing it. The Brotherhood of the Hand is for High Level Parties, and is rated R.

 

GOOD

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ROSYCAT

 

Good

 

The Brotherhood's fort's secret passages were a bit excessive, but at least they were justified (unlike in many scenarios). The cameo appearance of Drizzt as powerful warrior annoyed me, but these are trifles. Otherwise, this is just a terrific, solid Blades adventure, now holding a place (well-deservedly) as a classic. This is not the best to be found in the community, but it comes pretty bloody close, and precedes the spectacular SoftS.

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CORWIN

 

Good

 

Good fast-moving plot, the combats were rather dull, and the gelatinous cube puzzle was not really intuitive. (you can shatter the fine blocks too?)

 

Also I did not really like the Drizzt Do'Urden stuff, and putting him as the reason the scimitar took its name seems to be a bad mixing of Exile and Forgotten Realms. ( although it was funny that drizzt has no reaction to things like "Wulfgar, Breunor, Twinkle, Icingdeath, Entreri, Jarlaxle, Do'Urden, Baenre" etc.)

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CALIGULA

 

The Brotherhood of the Hand by Drizzt (Chris Risberg, risberg AT aol DOT com)

 

The following review can contain some major spoilers, so read it at your own risks.

 

This is Drizzt’s second scenario and is loosely linked to his first, The Forsaken, who was pretty good. This one takes place in Exile, where you’re member of an organization called The Brotherhood of the Hand, whose activities aren’t really legal.

 

You’ve been called back from the surface for unknown reasons, and for unknown reasons, you have to meet the leader of the organization. Not an easy task, as you’ll quickly see. But enough with the plot. Let me only say it deals with some criminal investigation.

 

Now, what’s this scenario worth? It is indeed smaller than Forsaken, but is even better, in my opinion, though some critics can be made.

 

First of all, the plot is a really good one and is well-told and well-led.

 

Well-led indeed, as you’ve sometimes the impression it is open-ended and your decisions can have an important impact over the events (like fight not the sliths). In fact, it is more linear than you think, and the way it isn’t obvious can be a credit to the author. Of course, the fact that you have in fact very few freedom in action at the end can be a critic too.

 

Then, deeper in the scenario is the atmosphere, which is pretty gloomy at times (hey, it’s R-rated!). But, as with many scenarios, the R rating is as much a marketing tool as a reality. Though, it has some dark aspects, following a tradition initiated by Alcritas in On A Ship To Algiers, namely murders and mutilated bodies with convenient descriptions. The scenarios is gloomy at times (hey, it’s R-rated!); this is a nice change from most of the scenario, with their good feelings — you’re member of Cosa Nostra, after all.

 

Another tradition, not initiated by Alcritas but followed by him, a trick used by Simmic, Measle (but in a funnier way) and Kylaer too — or a flaw should I say, in my opinion – the damn IATDAIAA syndrome (I-Am-The-Designer-And-I-Am-Almighty). You name it: Drizzt cameo appearance as a powerful warrior. This kind of feature can be neat or cute, but I think it’s rather silly if you look at the internal coherence of the plot.

 

(No offense intended, obviously).

 

Ooouch!

 

I said no offen.. Arrrgh!

 

Drop this scimitar, want you?

 

Splash...

 

As Caligula luckily began his review by the end, The Lyceum authorities are able to provide you with the following statements, taken from scratches:

 

The graphics are really good-looking. Drizzt didn’t made them all, but he used damn good pics, and that’s a clear Plus in his scenario.

Another good point is the use of some puzzles, especially the Lich’s game. This level is a real pain, and every Blades player should give it a try, although it is easier to win than you may fear at first (cheating is not an option).

So, globally a good scenario; its end is a plus as it isn’t the normal happy-end. Though, the player can feel a bit frustrated.

Another problem I see is the implication of the Forsaken Theme. You’d better have played the other scenario or some aspects f this one will let you scratch your head.

This relation with Drizzt’s former scenario isn’t clearly made and could have been better done. However, we can still give him time to link all this in his third scenario (and pray he’ll made a third, as he is a worthy designer, after all).

 

The Brotherhood of the Hand is rated R (quake, mortals) and is for high level parties. In fact, you shouldn’t have problems with a level 20 party; a weaker party can be in trouble, depending on some of your choices, but could still win, I think.

 

My rating: Good

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I liked Brotherhood of the Hand, thought it had an interesting plot, good puzzles, and challenging combat. I did think that it was a bit too short if you don't find the temple puzzle, and I would have liked to see some larger differences in the plot if you help the town with their Slith problem.

 

That being said, a very good scenario. Good

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