Chris’ Quick Take: An adventure in the finest traditions of Fantasy Flight Games, Ghosts of Dathomir is yet another example of how FFG, and their SW RPG in particular, have turned me around from previously dismissing published adventures. Sterling Hershey is in his prime with a well crafted adventure that has me excited to get it on the table, and pleased with how much support is provided for the GM within. Worth a buy.
The boat has finally come in for Ghosts of Dathomir, a published adventure appropriate for Knight-level Play and aimed primarily at the Force and Destiny game line. The adventure takes players from investigation and artifact “recovery” (read: heist) on Toydaria, through an escalating encounter, to the dark world of Dathomir, and an exciting finale. Considering this is a gift guide, I’ll keep this spoiler free, just in case players are considering this as a buy for their game master (to my players: sorry, already have my copy!).
While I have yet to run Ghosts of Dathomir, just from reading the adventure I know it is one my group would love. I’m excited by the adventure’s balance of investigation, combat, social interaction, and action adventure set pieces. My sense, again having not put it on the table, is that Ghosts of Dathomir is well paced. Not only that, but from the generous game master notes and sidebars, I feel supported with the information I would need behind the screen to ensure it is well paced and engaging. I will say that, while the adventure provides hooks for Edge of the Empire and Age of Rebellion groups, this is through and through a Force and Destiny adventure. To make the most of this excellent adventure, you will want to be running it for Force sensitive player characters.
Ghosts of Dathomir does a lot to help out the game master. I was struck with the attention to usability throughout the book, with seemingly every inch of the text finely honed by Hershey for maximum utility during prep and at the table. The read-aloud text is flavorful, yet kept at a reasonable length, while encounters and locations are detailed in an easily accessible point form packed with all the information the GM would need. The book is peppered with helpful sidebars and sections in case the players take a number of different turns, use non-standard approaches to problems, or wind up in situations such as being captured. Rather that simply act as an on ramp back to a railroad, these sidebars are often well thought out as encounter seeds in their own. One example of this is presenting quick and easy rules for a captured player to flip the interrogation on their captor, presenting another opportunity to gather information should the player character have the skills. Ghosts of Dathomir bears all the marks of being written by a veteran freelancer and game master.
A stand out feature is the inclusion of twelve terrible Force visions to inflict upon the players. Each includes well written read-aloud text, guidance on when and on whom to use it, and even links it to the often underutilized Emotional Strength/Weakness system. These are given proper coverage, with about a page of explanation and three pages of visions. There is guidance on how to implement shared visions between player characters and most amazingly, suggestions on how to have players sort of co-GM by running a “vision version” so to speak of their character within another player’s vision. I’m not sure if the awesome of that came across right, so an example: Brett’s character is having a vision which include’s Alex and Will’s characters, rather than have the GM narrate what Alex and Will’s characters do in the vision, it is up to the players. At the end of the vision, only Brett’s character remembers the content, as Alex and Will’s characters were not actually participants in the vision. As Hershey notes, this is a great way to keep the other players involved.
In terms of extras or value-adds, Ghosts of Dathomir includes a broad array of material for SW RPG game masters. Both Toydaria and Dathomir are treated with one page gazetteers, bringing both into the game’s Galactic Civil War era setting. Reading between the lines, I believe I can detect some Legends inspired points in the Dathomir entry, but that might just be wishful thinking. Two new creatures, belonuks and sprantal, should serve as Knight-level threats on the horrific world of Dathomir. I’ll be tucking stats for these guys away somewhere safe, as their awesome more than makes up for the lack of Rancors on canon Dathomir.
Two cool new vehicles make their appearance, the wicked looking NN-01 Imperial Enforcement Airspeeder and the handy 580-AVA “Dash” speeder bike. Both would make excellent additions to a GM’s holocron, the first as an alternative to the Imperial Patrol Transport, the second as an obvious item of PC interest. A number of threats are reprinted in the adventure for your convenience, but new threats are on hand which could easily be recycled into other adventures.
Last, and certainly not least, is the Force power Jerserra’s Influence. This power projects terrifying visions, allowing the user to weaponize fear. Mechanically, it is excellent for dishing out strain and at higher levels provides potent Control options such as requiring the target commit Force dice, or even dictating the action of another character. Players have an opportunity to deepen their knowledge of this power as the adventure proceeds, with main story beats unlocking higher levels of the power. The power itself is a handy addition and perhaps a strong temptation towards the Dark side for players. It also makes an excellent threat power for NPCs, and one I will be keeping on hand for use in my own games.
Overall, Ghosts of Dathomir is well worth the price of admission. Adventure modules like these are the reason FFG has been able to convert me from adventure-skeptic to habitual purchaser. Even if you won’t be putting this on the table, the master crafted components within from veteran Sterling Hershey can be extracted and used with ease in your own campaign. I unreservedly recommend it for Force and Destiny game masters.