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7320: Harlequin's Back (1994)[]

Autorzy: Nigel D. Findley, Paul R. Hume, Carl Sargent, Mike Nystul, Steve Kenson & Tom Dowd
ISBN 1-55560-248-7
Ilośc stron: 152
Wydanie: Drugie
Status/Availability: in print/common
Plot: Unlike the first Harlequin adventure, this is not a series of linked adventures that can be played separately, but rather one big adventure made up of a five smaller ones and some in-between sections. The basic premise is that the runners go on an astral quest (involuntarily) to stop the "Enemy"—in which we recognize the Horrors from Earthdawn—from crossing into the astral and physical planes much too early. The separate adventures are all manifestations of their attempts to find something that will stop this Enemy.

Aftermath: The runners appear in a desolate wasteland where a small village is trying to survive against the best efforts of both the environment and an opposing people. It's the runners' job to save the village and at the same time steal an item they need for their quest from the village's enemy.
A Fistful of Karma: The next "world" is a Wild West-type place with magic added in for good measure. Here, the runners must defeat the local tyrant who oppresses the people of a mining town; doing so gives them another item they need. Also, they must help the sheriff face his problems and stand up to them.
By the Sword: This part of the quest takes place in a land based on the early legends about King Arthur (not the later Christianized versions), where the runners must help an old and weary Lancelot regain his honor by finding a piece of his broken sword and making good for his past mistakes. They then get to carry the sword with them to the next adventure.
The Impossible Dream: An immensely tall tower must be climbed, after the runners talk to the Architect, a man living in a ruined village at its base. The runners must defeat the man who talked the villagers into building the tower, and rescue the Architect's girlfriend. The Architect then turns Lancelot's sword into the third object the runners need for their quest.
The Songbird: The runners are in a ruined city with dead bodies everywhere, and they must make their way to a tower where a songbird sings. The bird is the object of their quest so far, and once they defeat its guardian they can take it to Harlequin. The bird's singing fails to stop the Enemy, though, forcing the runners to go on to find someone who can.
The Masquerade: In this adventure, the runners go to a large party in a 19th-century setting where they will meet all manner of weird and wonderful guests. A murder is committed, and the runners should help solve it; this leads them to secret tunnels and chambers, and a face-off with their host andhis deformed brother before they can rescue the person they came to find.
Finally, the runners return to the site in the metaplanes where Harlequin was attempting to stop the Enemy, and find him overpowered by an agent of that Enemy. The runners must fight off this rather powerful character, and then make probably the biggest decision of their lives: to stay here and prevent the Enemy from coming closer, or to go home and give them another shot.
Thoughts: If you don't like the immortal elf/Horrors theme Shadowrun was involved in when this adventure came out, it's probably best to stay away from it. On the other hand, for an epic adventure that requires a lot of thinking, good roleplaying, and characters who can handle themselves, you could do a whole lot worse than run Harlequin's Back.

Additional Thoughts by Mark Steedman: Take the notes about runners who care for the world etc. given by FASA seriously; if the runners meet FASA's advice criteria it's wonderful, otherwise things may well go wrong. Similarly for players that like such things. By the Sword: beware that players can easily wander in the wood forever, a little gamemaster fiddling may be required to avoid boredom. The Impossible Dream: the one bit that just gets silly. I would try and make sure this runs rapidly unless your players really like a ridiculous adventure where reality itself forces them on one route! Finally if you cannot run it at least Aftermath and A Fistful of Karma would make quite entertaining astral quests in and of themselves, dropping the link to Harlequin. Note to comply with FASA's big timeline this adventure MUST run prior to the Aztlan sourcebook as this refers to it, and MUST occur well before August 2057 as events then assume this happened many months previously.
Similar Products: Harlequin
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