Thursday, August 10, 2017

White Noise Review

This is another one of those games I've been putting off reading because I was hoping one of my friends would run it. White Noise is a short horror adventure from Just Insert Imagination written by Jamie Pierson, Eric Lamoureux, and Morne Schaap. In my previous review of Aliens vs. Rednecks, I said this was one of their plug & play adventures designed to be a complete grab and go rpg adventure but I was mistaken. After a little research, I found no reference to this being one of their PnP adventures. If it is so, please correct me. Edit: Since publishing this article, Just Insert Imagination has confirmed that White Noise is indeed a Plug and Play adventure.

From the get go I was stoked to dive into this adventure because I've been craving a good horror game to get into. The cover art inspires the imagination as if you're looking out the porthole of a ship or airplane which is backlit with a red warning light. The game takes place in Alaska during the cold war in 1967. The players are a part of a corporation security team sent in to "clean up messes before the public finds out." The players know that the corporation they work for is dabbling in "biochemical pharmaceuticals" and have cleaned up some of the experiments before. Their job on this mission is to fly from the corporation's headquarters in Portland to a research facility in Alaska and lock down the facility. Then they need to find out what happened and report back to Headquarters.

White Noise uses the setting rules of Blood & Guts, Jokers Wild, and Gritty Damage. It wouldn't be a horror game if Gritty Damage was missing. With chances of infection after each wound, a player has the possibility to pick up a mutation from the included Mutation Table (I would prefer to use the Mutation Deck from JII). After the introduction there are 4 scenes for the players to go through. This should be enough for a 3 to 4 hour game session provided that the players at the table don't just rush through each location. This is where the GM really needs to manage the game progression. 

It is mentioned a few times to use "facility worker" encounters but there are no NPC's included within the two PDF downloads from DriveThruRPG. After looking through the two documents, it is clear that this was published too early. It's a shame because there is a good story plot and background info but it just feels as if it's unfinished. There are also some worker journal handouts provided but no mention in the adventure of when or where to distribute them. I have no doubt that most GM's have enough creativity to figure out how to make this adventure work but as an adventure module it is incomplete.

Both documents contain 5 pre-generated character sheets. No, you don't get 10 different characters. There are two different versions of the same 5 characters. Both sets of characters look good but one set clearly has a different layout so you can easily separate them from each other (you'll see what I mean if you get this pdf). The character sheets look really, really good. I love the dot matrix form feed paper used as the background. Each character is unique and they also come with a secret. After each player picks their character the GM is instructed to hand out the secrets to the respective player. My personal favorite secret is Bamm's. I don't want to give away any spoilers on the player secrets. 

I guess I thought this was a PnP adventure because when I originally looked through the pdf's there were enough supplements to make me think that was the goal. Out of all of their PnP games this is the only one that appears to be slightly disorganized. In this adventure you get a cover page, 2 pages of backstory and adventure, a one page Mutation Table, a one page sonar map of the Alaskan area, 2 pages of basic figure flats, 2 pages of Worker Journal handouts, 3 pages of table tents, and 6 pages of pre-generated characters. 

As usual, Just Insert Imagination has set the bar high with excellent artwork and layout. Plenty of supplements make this adventure almost convention ready. Without NPC's provided, I can't give this one a complete thumbs up. It just needs some work to make it a great adventure. Now, it is pay what you want on DriveThruRPG so I encourage you to pick it up and form your own conclusions. Edit: For some reason I did not see the section titled Monsters just after the pregen of Doc (Medic). I am very sorry for this error on my part. Thank you for pointing this out to me Eric.

5 out of 10 Lotus Masters recommend this adventure,
but it could easily be 7 out of 10 with minor fixes.