Lover in the Ice (No Security)
Developer: Hebanon Games
Page Count: 26
Release Date: 11/19/2012
Get it Here: Hebanon Games
Lover in the Ice is the third release from Hebanon Games, a new RPG adventure design company that got its start back in June of 2012 when 250 Kickstarter backers threw money at them. I’m happy to say I’m one of them. I love that Hebanon Games is not only taking adventures Caleb Stokes originally wrote for Call of Cthulhu (and a few other Cthulhu related systems). Even better, Hebanon has made all of their adventures free to the general public. Just peruse their site and download the ones you want. So far they have released Bryson Springs and The Red Tower, both of which are excellent. Unlike those previous releases, which were set in the 1930s, Lover in the Ice is set in modern times. 2008 to be exact. It’s a very different adventure to be sure and it’s going to take a very special Keeper to pull this one off without the game either degenerating into sophomoric jokes straight out of a bad B-Movie adult comedy or having at least one VERY uncomfortable gamer at the table.
You see, the entire adventure revolves around sex and violence. It’s an alien horrific form of sex, but that makes it so less rape-y and thus a problem to present at the table. There are a lot of gamers that either are uncomfortable with sex being the focal point of an adventure (especially a horror adventure) and some that as soon as sex enters become exceptionally immature because they can’t handle the topic appropriately. So if rape is a trigger for you or adventures that revolve around sex, especially very violent deviant sex (we’re not talking light BDSM here( is not something you can roleplay through without bringing the adventure down for everyone else experiencing, you need to stay far away from Lover in the Ice,free or not.
Lover in the Ice takes place during a massive ice storm in mid-sized Missouri town. The Nor’easter and rain combined to put the entire town out of commission and a huge chunk of the town is without power. Quite a few places has suffered damage from the crushing weight of the ice including a very unfortunate place that stored the slumbering remains of a strange South American creature whose entire body from the torso down is a giant phallus that it uses to rape, kill and impregnate its prey. Those impregnated (really it’s a parasite) by the creature become completely obsessed with sex and violence, merging the two into one in their now insane minds. This leads to some pretty messed up situations and the people killed by these “Seekers” them impregnate the corpses via the creature living inside them and the dead bodies become eggs of sorts for more of the original creature. It’s a weird way to reproduce to be sure, but players and their Investigators alike will be horrified by what they encounter, although not in the way they are accustomed to in a dark and spooky pen and paper style game. So if you do feel you are up to the task of describing lewd acts of sex and gore or describing what someone looks like after masturbating to Crush and Vore after several days straight without stopping, this may not be an adventure you want to run. Likewise if players have a weak stomach are aren’t comfortable with the subject matter, consider running one of the other fine adventures by Hebanon Games.
Now I’m not saying all this to run you off or to suggest this is a badly done adventure. It’s a very good adventure that is assured to shock and disgust those that play through it. It’s pleasure and violence taken to the nth degree and rolled up into one when someone is implanted with a Seeker. I kept thinking about the old Hellraiser comics Marvel put out via its Epic imprint when I was a kid. Those filled with Seekers should bring about that sort of atmosphere and the creatures themselves should just creep out everyone who encounters them. I mean, a Deep One or a Star Spawn is one thing, but at least they are trying to jam the genitals down your throat while deciding if they want to eat you or just maim you up a bit. Anyone who plays through Lover in the Ice will remember it for a long time.
Of course you could always play the adventure like an over the top B horror movie like those USA Up All Night used to show. I mean, you have a South American sex monster who is trying to turn sorority girls into sadomasochistic nymphomaniacs and the adventure culminates with the creatures crashing a college dorm party in an attempt to turn all the teens into Seeders with uncontrollable appetites for sex and violence. So if you feel your troupe can’t handle the course nature and graphic descriptions of running Lover in the Ice seriously, make it into a softcore horror movie straight out of the 80s.
The only bad thing I can say about Lover in the Ice is that the art isn’t very good. I know there were some delays with the art caused by Hurricane Sandy and that Hebanon games sent out an artless version on November 2nd, but the version with Art we got on November 19th…well it’s not very good. Especially compared to the previous two releases. The cover looks almost like bad 90s video game CGI and the main creature art in the middle of the book still looks like a rough etching. The art for the Seeker creature is pretty good, but it doesn’t match with the description given for it. The maps are just not very well done. Basically the artwork is nowhere as good as the previous two releases. Let’s be honest though – you don’t pick up an adventure for the artwork; you get it to read and/or play, so the low quality of the art in this release is a minor issue at best.
For those that have played/read through previous Hebanon Games releases, or at least listened to them via Role Playing Public Radio, you might be lucky enough to find Easter Eggs relating to those adventures. That’s a cute little touch that people who have played through things like The Red Towerwill definitely appreciate. Of course, there’s a chance you might never encounter these things, but it’s no big loss if you don’t.
At the end of the day, Lover in the Ice is the hardest of the Hebanon releases to recommend. Although you can play the adventure as a schlocky B-movie or a very straight laced, either way the theme of the adventure and several of the encounters may be hot button issues for some gamers…or just something they can’t roleplay through seriously. You’ll need a very specific team of players and a really good GM to make it all the way through the adventure without it degenerating into something that will leave at least one player annoyed or squicked out. It’s well written and can be exceptionally creepy if framed correctly, but it’s decidedly not for everyone. I’d definitely recommend either Bryson Springs or The Red Tower over this, if only because they’re going to be appreciated by a much larger audience. Lover in the Ice is a little too niche for everyone and the rape-y/kill-y aspect will leave some gamers unsettled and horrified – just not in the way you expect to be from a Cthulhu-esque adventure.