Beneath the Banshee Tree is the first adventure for Sertorius, a game we released last summer. One thing we wanted it to do was highlight some of the unique aspects of the setting and I think we succeeded in a big way. It is a mystery set in the mountain city of Talyr. We chose the investigative adventure structure because that is one of our major strengths. We've been designing investigations from the beginning (since before Bill and I launched Bedrock Games) and wanted to continue that into Sertorius, while adding something new.
Here are some of things I think I like about Beneath the Banshee Tree:
It combines mystery and sorcery in a way that brings the setting alive.
At the heart of Beneath the Banshee Tree is a mystery spawned by magic. The supernatural aspects are not an afterthought, we put a lot of consideration into how the realities of magic in the setting would shape the adventure. Spellcasters in Sertorius have resources available to them that open up all kinds of possibilities and we worked hard to explore those possibilities.
It is more than an adventure.
Beneath the Banshee Tree is a complete adventure but it is much more than that. It includes new setting material on the city of Talyr, illustrating the inner-workings of a unique location in Gamandria.
The adventure includes important points of investigation that illuminate life in Talyr, including coffee houses, inns, markets, criminal networks and other key areas.
It mixes things up.
Those familiar with our other investigative adventures know we usually structure things in a way that allows the players to explore as they desire with an accompanying timeline to help keep things interesting and fun. Beneath the Banshee Tree is similar but randomizes the timeline, making for a very different game each time you play.
It has a great villain.
We don't want to give away anything but I really like what we did with the villain for this adventure. The motive here is a bit different and the antagonist's fellow-conspirators are equally compelling (at least I think so).
It has a complete cast of suspects.
We always like to include entries on the NPCs in our investigations. The book includes a chapter devoted to all the possible suspects and other important NPCs. This includes a description of their motivates as well as possible clues and leads they can give to the party.
There is a free PDF.
We released the adventure as free PDF last year. It is out there and costs nothing, people can run the adventure without paying for the book. Another good thing about this is it gives people who are thinking of buying the print version a chance to examine the contents at no cost. The only difference between the two is the PDF has some color elements (the map for example) while the print version is black and white.