By Paula R. Stiles
Banks, Cam, ed. Supernatural (Role-Playing Game): Adventures. Lizz Weis, proofreading. Dan Bryce and Nick Kremenek, illus. Digger Hayes, art direction. Margaret Weis Productions, Ltd., December 2009. 97 pp. Hardcover, PDF. $17.99 (full price $24.99).
There are two ways to use Supernatural (Role-Playing Game): Adventures: as scenarios for playing the RPG or as a tie-in collection of short stories. I’ve already reviewed the Supernatural Role-Playing Game for Innsmouth Free Press. You should read at least that review (and check out the original corebook) to get up to speed if you want to use this companion book to play the game. However, if you’re just looking for new tie-in stories to read, you don’t really need to bother. The stories are surprisingly easy to read, giving you relevant history, then the story and character situations, then a walk through the scenario with the complicating situations (usually attacks) coming last. Oddly enough, it’s not that hard to follow as a story. It’s just written in a somewhat different format than your traditional beginning-middle-end short tale (or maybe I’m just used to experimental science fiction and fantasy). One caveat about buying just to read, though. These scenarios are written so that you can use any hunter characters you want, so Sam and Dean barely appear in the book. You can play them as characters while playing the game, but you won’t find anything specific to them in Supernatural Adventures, other than the nice cover.
There are five scenarios in all, written by five different authors: “Red Ghost” (Jess Hartley), “Transmutations” (George Holochwost), “Hell Hound on My Trail” (Graeme Davis), “His Lesser Half” (Ralph Dula), and “Synchronicity” (C.A. Suleiman). “Red Ghost” is a story of two Old-West ghosts (a camel and rider) trapped in a destructive cycle together. “Transmutations” is about the club scene and involves a creepy, supernatural drug called “Prima”. “Hell Hound on My Trail” is set during season two and is probably the one most closely connected to Sam and Dean. In this one, the hunters run into a demon at a crossroads with a sob story that could get them into a lot of trouble. “His Lesser Half” is about an MOTW that is after an evil human – which one do you go after? In “Synchronicity”, a war-damaged veteran is victimised by an evil spirit into doing its bidding – killing other hunters.
According to the book, these scenarios can be played individually or as part of a larger “campaign” (story), and you can change the settings to anywhere in the world (or different time periods), if you like. You can play Sam and Dean, other hunters from the show, or make up your own. If you’re in it just for the read, you can enjoy all the folklore and descriptions of side characters. Much fun to be had there. If you want to play the game, though, you really will need the corebook (that’s why this is “just” a companion book, as it doesn’t stand alone in RPG terms). Adventures frequently refers to the corebook and it doesn’t explain the rules to you.
This has been out for a while in pdf, but it just came out as a physical book in stores. I’m told that Guide to the Hunted (a guide to MOTWs) will go on sale in the next month or so and will bring the game materials fully up to date with the show. We’ll give you our review when it does.
You can find Supernatural: Adventures at DriveThruRPG.com.