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A Small Rebellion

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Good- the above reasons apply. The plot was nice although some motives aren't explored. The nodework was reasonable, although one of the problems with the 3 scenarios is that Jeff included every sort of node to try and show people how they worked.


With a bit of improvement, this could be turned into a truly great scenario. As it is, it's a good introduction into the potential of Blades.

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Why did I decide to write a review of A Small Rebellion? Probably because all the rest of Jeff’s scenarios had already been done and I felt like completing the set. This review does contain some spoilers, but since this is the second scenario that most people play that shouldn’t cause any problems. I’ll start with the good points.


A Small Rebellion is quite easily the best of Jeff’s four scenarios. True, it doesn’t have a whole lot of competition in that respect, but this is nonetheless a very good scenario. In his own words, “I am prouder of A Small Rebellion than almost anything I’ve done...”. It remains the only scenario to have kept me up playing until three in the morning.

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The most noticeable thing about it is the excellent dark atmosphere it generates. I wouldn’t mind betting that Alcritas’ unique style was at least partly inspired by this scenario. This atmosphere is developed very well, as you explore towns and find torture chambers for disobedient serfs, or when you talk to victims of rebel attacks.


I started playing this scenario expecting the oppressive Empire to be the baddies and the underdog Hill Runners to be the goodies. As the scenario progressed I found the truth to be less and less clear cut. Though on opposing sides the rebels and the Empire, and especially their respective leaders, proved to be startlingly similiar in their methods. Both sides used the other’s atrocities to justify their own and neither were above cold blooded murder or torture. Even Stalker’s and Jaen’s respective audience chambers were almost identical.


One touch I liked in particular was the way I was given contacts by the rebels. These were people I had already met and never thought to suspect. A harmless old alchemist, a trainer, even an officer in the Empire army, all turned out to be rebels with orders for me. It was a much better way than meeting dark, anonymous characters in narrow alleyways.

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I thought the combat was well balanced for the most part, an exception being the final fight against Jaen. There was not a single spellcaster, meaning the fight is a joke for anyone who knows that enough blesses will make you invulnerable to physical attacks. However, this is only one relatively small problem. I could not fault the rest of the scenario in this respect.


Now on to the bad points. A Small Rebellion suffers from a couple of basic design flaws. The first is illogical monsters. Considering that the Empire was supposed to have wiped out all monsters on the surface, one has to wonder what all these ogres, giant slugs, swamp folk, giants, hydras, etc, etc. are doing there. No explanation is given, Jeff just seems to have decided to put them there because “a scenario has to have monsters”. I find this very painful. It insults the intelligence of the player by expecting him to accept these without question, and it pulls focus away from the Hill Runner — Empire conflict, the only one that really matters.


It’s second flaw stems from the fact that the scenario has exactly 20 towns, just like VoDT and Za-Khazi. Jeff seems to have decided that 20 towns is a good size for a scenario and edited A Small Rebellion to fit. Put bluntly, it shows. There are pointless fill-in dungeons that serve no purpose but to give the player somewhere to wander and fight through. Again, there is no logical reason given, you are just expected to accept them. The Zaskiva sewers are a pet hate of mine. I find it hard to believe anything could have deteriorated so badly a scant ten years after being built. Even if that is ignored, one has to wonder how they became so choked up with hostile monsters. Perhaps Jeff believes in spontaneous generation? Not to mention all the secret passages (in a sewer??). And aside from all of that, why on earth are there basilisks down there? There isn’t any reason for it, and it doesn’t make sense that they could survive in the air down there, considering that they are not immune to disease.

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Sadly, you can not even point to the tight programming as a plus for this scenario. I counted three reoccuring messages that should have been one-time, and after you have defected to the rebels the Empire cities do not always turn hostile (despite entry messages saying they do). Only minor problems, but they rob the scenario of its bug-free status.


These flaws are tragic, as they prevent what could have been a truly brilliant scenario. Even in spite of them it manages to be very good, containing some of Jeff Vogel’s finest work. I give it a score of Good.

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As the sceond scenario I ever played, it holds the bar by which I judge most other scenarios. It shows what can easily be done technically but more importantly shows what can be done storywise. Anyone can master nodework, but it takes a true artist to tell a good story and make a player care. Jeff didn't always acomplish this but with A Small Rebellion he did. It's still one of my favorite scenarios and it probably always will be.



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This scenario was good. I can't say I liked it as much as most people seem to have, but I enjoyed this.


However, I did think that it didn't respond to my rebellion fast enough. I turned on the Empire almost instantly, and the Empire didn't figure it out until several missions later.


Eh, anyway, good, but it didn't blow me away the way that it did others. I thought VoDT was about on par with this. I give it Good: strong, but BoE can do more than this.

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