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Tatterdemalion


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THURYL

 

I preferred the Bodyguard storyline, myself. Still, I didn't really enjoy this scenario as much as Tarl's previous effort (Islands of the Wheel) - maybe it was the fact that the "three scenarios in one" seemed to have too little in common, or maybe it was just because I played the Sorcerer storyline first, which definitely has the weakest plot of the three. While the idea was novel, and I definitely see merit in this scenario, I wouldn't feel right giving it more than Average

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STAREYE

 

This scenario was a very formidable effort to say the least. It had definite innovations and definitely belongs on the solid adventures table. As far as total enjoyment went, I felt it was a mixed bag at best for me at least.

 

In conclusion, it's a great scenario, but I would not rank it on the top 10.

 

My Score: Good

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ALCRITAS

 

I would

 

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Warning! Spoilers for Tarl Roger Kudrick’s Tatterdemalion lie ahead!

 

I wondered, when sitting down to write this review, what more could be said about Tarl Roger Kudrick’s (tarl AT charm DOT net) masterpiece, Tatterdemalion, that hasn’t already been said? Winner of the Blades of Exile scenario contest, and almost universally praised, Tatterdemalion is usually the first words out of BOErs mouths when asked their favorite scenario.

 

My biggest, heck my only, complaint about Tatterdemalion is that it lives up to its billing of three scenarios in one. As anyone who’s played the scenario knows, one the very first things you do in Tatterdemalion is opt to join one of the three groups of the region — the Bodyguards, Holy Ones, or Sorcerers. This choice influences the entire scenario, changing the very nature of it, to the point where there are truly three scenarios in one.

 

My objection? There are three different scenarios. If you’ve played A Small Rebellion you know that at the end, when you decide to support the resistance or oppose it, your actions carry a significant consequence. In Tatterdemalion, that’s just not true. Choosing a group does more than change where your loyalty lies, it shapes the entire world, far beyond the rational course of your actions, in many cases retroactively. The very nature of the Tatterdemalion changes radically, and the nature of the other foes undergoes substantial variance as well. It’s almost as when you eat the berries, you slip into some sort of parallel dimension, where things are very similar, but not the same.

 

Now, I’ll quickly concede this has one very positive consequence — each time through, the mystery element remains strong. If the Tatterdemalion had remained the same, the second and third time through would be no mystery whatsoever. Still, I think this a shortcoming of the scenario, and here’s why. In my opinion, the most interesting part of scenarios such as this is seeing how the world changes as a result of your actions, and seeing how the people respond to you after you’ve made your choice. This gets lost when the world is radically and retroactively changed in ways independent of your actions.

 

Now, to a small extent, this gets preserved — the worlds are very similar after all. However, the player can never really be sure what changes are the result of his or her actions, and what changes are merely independent fluctuations in the world. An example — during the Sorcerer version, it is revealed that the Tatterdemalion is really a human disguised by a powerful illusion, casting suspicion on the Sorcerers. Now, the Bodyguards always hate the Sorcerers, but to what extent is their animosity due to your party choosing to become Sorcerers intrinsically, and to what extent is it exaggerated because they suspect the Sorcerers are behind the Tatterdemalion? It’s impossible to say.

 

In my opinion, Tatterdemalion would have been better if it had been one scenario, with three ways through, rather than three separate scenarios. Nevertheless, as I feel it is three separate scenarios, I shall review them as such.

 

REVENGE (The Holy Ones) — In a word, Amazing. A strong, detailed, captivating, and compelling story, with a superb plotline. There’s an old rule of thumb in writing that goes something like this — one coincidence is a stretch, two is suicide. I think this rule gets relaxed somewhat in fantasy RPGS, but it needn’t be here. Revenge would make a good novel, let alone a Blades scenario. Revenge is rated PG, and is designed for beginner level parties.

My score — 10. (Best)

 

ADDICTION (The Bodyguards) — This one is also quite excellent. The mystery element only suffers by comparison to Revenge, to anything else, or in absolute terms, it is magnificent. The plotline is also very strong, although a bit-inaccessible to the player. (It all makes a good deal of sense, it’s just not something the player can anticipate before being told explicitly what’s going on, unlike with the other two.) Nevertheless, it’s another great scenario, one I wholeheartedly recommend. Addiction is rated PG-13, and is designed for beginner level parties.

My score — 10, although I think Revenge is better. (Best)

 

MYSTERY (The Sorcerers) — This version didn’t work as well for me. Of the elements that vary the most (the side quest and Sorcerer cave), this version has the best of both, even if the Lich’s tower is a bit illogical. However, the ending truly left a sour taste in my mouth, ruining what was otherwise a solid plot. Mystery really only suffers by comparison to its siblings, but it is, in my opinion a significant step downward. Mystery is rated PG, and, like the others, is designed for beginner level parties.

My score — 8.5 (Good)

 

Overall - BEST

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THE CREATOR

 

Dodgy graphics. I know that graphics aren't as important as a good story, blah, blah, blah, but they really do hurt this scenario. You just can't feel riveted when you're fighting enemies that look like a child's finger painting. And some of the dungeon design is quite suspect.

 

That said, it's a heck of a lot of fun. One thing that Tarl does especially well is characters. It's been years since I've played this scenario, and I can still remember the names of many of them - that truly is an achievement. Good

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Definitely one of my favorite scenarios. While the graphics could have been a bit better, I still thought they were interesting. The three stories in one idea was very clever, and it was a lot of fun to play. It is amazing how the same land sets can be used to create three different worlds, all with lots of detail.

 

Overall, one of the best scenarios made in BoE.

 

Best

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Tatterdemalion is another of the best scenarios from the first year of BoE. But even in that era, I felt it lacked polish. It is creative and certainly worth playing, but I found it much harder to get into than other scenarios. It had some elements that were pretty cool by themselves, but as a whole, it just didn't come together. If it wasn't released so early on (and didn't win the first contest, something that still confuses me), it wouldn't have made such a big splash.

 

Average

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