[Editor’s note: The following preview is based on a complete, but not finalized, product; in advance of a crowdfunding campaign. -dc]
If you are a regular reader of The Rat Hole, you will undoubtedly have noticed that I am personally quite fond of Endless Realms. It’s one of those games that I was lucky enough to discover going into their first Kickstarter, and follow it’s growth in the years since. So when I was asked to preview their new adventure, Fungi Fight For Freedom, in advance of the launch of their Kickstarter campaign, I was ecstatic.
Add to that, the fact that FFFF features a new Adventurer Race that (literally) evolved from one of my favourite entries in the Creature Compendium. The Enlightened Fungloi were created through a mix of science and what we would consider magic, by a pair of Al’Miren alchemic researchers, expanding on the work of the infamous Val’Raith whose work could be likened to H.G. Wells’ Dr. Moreau. Val’Raith’s name appears in numerous entries in the Creature Companion book as having created a number of merged species such as the Chimera and Centaurs.
One of the cooler things about this adventure is that it isn’t just a random one-off. It draws on the foundations set up in previous publications and sets up several potential story points for future releases (some of which have been announced and others that have only been hinted at).
The adventure itself is separated into five Acts. Act 1 starts the adventure with a fair amount of explosion that places the newly Enlightened Fungloi Adventurers in a cell that they’ve been held in for some time. I think it’s obvious enough to not be considered a “spoiler” to say before the rest of the adventure can happen, the players must escape from their cell and the room it is located in. The following four Acts, take place as they progress through the complex. There is a logical and encouraged path to take but there are plenty of points where things can go devastatingly awry.
There is a good mix of combat, mystery, and problem-solving, but it’s hard to say much beyond that without risking spoiling all three. Throughout the adventure, the players will have the opportunity to “interact” with creatures that have been established in past releases, as well as new and exotic “challenges” created by the same twisted Al’Miren minds that spawned the player’s Enlightened Fungloi characters.
One thing that comes across well in the writing is that antagonists weren’t twisted by evil, so much as they were by time. The Al’Miren race is exceptionally long-lived. Think about how squirrelly you get if you are heads-down in a project for a week, even a day. Now live that 24/7, sequestered away, for a year, a human lifetime, centuries. It’s something that’s been explored in numerous media, but one of the best examples is the increasing depravity depicted in Interview with a Vampire. It’s one thing to face any old evil Evil, it’s another to face an Evil that has depth and a character arc all to themselves. The first is usually fun, the second is compelling, immersive, and still fun.
If you’ve never played Endless Realms, this is the perfect excuse to give it a try for a few nights (you’re likely to need anywhere from three to six sessions to play through it, depending on your group). Even if all you like to do is free-read RPG adventures (not as uncommon as you might think) this is has a terrific storyline to do that. No matter what your motivation to do so, Fungi Fight For Freedom is worth checking out.
We’ll have a regular CrowdFUNding Spotlight on the Kickstarter campaign after it goes live, January 10. But until then, you can find Lunar Games and Endless Realms online at www.endlessrealms.ca or on Facebook at facebook.com/EndlessRealmsRPG.