Tabletop Review: Deus Vult: The Hoffman Legacy

Deus Vult: The Hoffman Legacy
Publisher: Mongoose Publishing
Pages: 66
Price: $9.99
Release Date: 02/24/12
Get it here: DriveThru RPG

In the wake of the change of hands of the rights to Glorantha, Mongoose Publishing took the rules set they’d created in a more generic, setting-independent game. That, of course, necessitated some additional work to create some pre-designed, official worlds for new GMs and those who weren’t interested in engaging in full-scale world creation. One of the worlds that was created is the setting called Deus Vult (“God Wills”) – set in 12th Century Europe, with players taking part as members of a secret order within the Catholic church, organized to “save humanity’s soul from the predation of supernatural evils.”

The Hoffman Legacy is an adventure set in the Deus Vult “universe”, detailing the life’s work of a man driven mad in the pursuit of inventions to help stave off the workings of the supernatural.

The adventure revolves around the titular Hoffman, an artificer (specifically a Prior Artifex) within the Order who was well known for his amazing inventions – the most famous of which was also the least well known. Hoffman was in the middle of working on it when a horrible accident drove him permanently insane. In his brief lucid periods, he has spoken of the device and even sketched out some details, a device he calls a de-arcanizer, a device that can stop magic from working. This information, gathered and provided to the players, leads them on a hunt for the device, before it falls into the wrong hands.

The adventure is separated into a few distinct acts, starting with information on where Hoffman had been, and who he had been working with, when he was working on the de-arcanizer. With a name and a location, the players play at sleuthing out the location of Hoffman’s workshop, and hopefully find the invention.

Of course, if it was that easy, you’d not need a fully-fleshed out adventure. Instead, the players find that the man who had been helping Hoffman had the device, and intended to use it to make a name for himself in the Order, but the plan went awry, and he landed himself in hot water – calling upon the players to save him and find out where the de-arcanizer has landed.

This leads them further along, to a secret auction, and even, eventually, to Rome, right under the nose of the Mother Church – who must never know about the work of the Order.

The Hoffman Legacy, like any published adventure, can feel a little rail-roady at times, with some events needing to occur, sooner or later, for the adventure to progress. In the hands of a capable GM, however, it ought to be easy enough to maintain a level of flexibility without leaving the players floundering for ideas on how to proceed.

As a first adventure, I think that The Hoffman Legacy ought to be a great way to get new players involved, and give them a taste of the sort of issues that await them in 12th Century Europe, working for the Catholic church, but unable to speak of their doings to any outside of their order.

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