Tabletop Review: Accursed: The Banshee of Loch Finnere (Savage Worlds)

Accursed: The Banshee of Loch Finnere (Savage Worlds)
Publisher: Mellior Via
Cost: $6
Page Count: 21
Release Date: 04/02/2014
Get it Here: DriveThruRPG.com

Unlike the short story seed, Half-Light, which I reviewed a little bit ago, The Banshee of Loch Finnere is a full length, fully plotted out adventure featuring an exciting plot and some gorgeous artwork. The cover by Alberto Bontempi is almost worth the six dollar cover price alone. I have to admit that, while both reading and experiencing The Banshee of Loch Finnere, I almost forgot this was an Accursed product and found myself viewing it as a Ravenloft one. That’s high praise indeed. In fact, this adventure has probably surpassed The Festival at Glenelg as my favorite Accursed product.

Caer Kainen is under the control of The Morrigan, as are many lands these days. Although Clan Finnoul has been humbled, decimated and dominated since the end of the Bane War, their mind is on a more pressing horror – that of the Banshee of Loch Finnere. While sitting around nursing old grudges and being on the losing side of the war, a vengeful apparition roams your ancestral home with the single minded purpose of wiping out what remains of Clan Finnoul. At the time of the adventure’s start, three members of the clan have died, and the player characters are there to see if they can prevent any more deaths. What follows is a three act adventure that should last roughly half a dozen play sessions, and it features a nice mix of mystery, intrigue, investigation and violence. GMs running The Banshee of Loch Finnere should be familiar with the Cairn Kainen setting (it’s in your Accursed core rulebook).

I really loved this adventure. It’s well laid out, offers a decent amount of back story regarding the location and core antagonist, and gives a list of locations in the general vicinity for players to visit and for GMs to craft subquests around. I also liked that the adventure focused primarily on investigation and discovery rather than constant combat. After all, there is a mystery to be solved rather than a dungeon to crawl through. In fact, I counted only eight combat encounters in the whole adventure, several of which can be avoided altogether based on the choices the PCs make and/or how good they are at thinking things through rather than hacking and slashing. Of course, there are gamers out there who want non-stop combat, and Accursed CAN be that type of game if a GM runs it that way, but this is certainly not the adventure for those gamers. Rather, The Banshee of Loch Finnere makes a great way to bring in fans of Call of Cthulhu, Chill, WoD and other slower paced horror gamers into the Accursed fold.

I really liked the pacing and progression of this adventure. It’s slow moving like an old Victorian ghost story, and it really gives the GM a chance to set a somber yet spooky tone for the adventure. As Accursed is a game of monsters fighting monsters, it can be hard to really craft something frightening for the setting. After all, if you’re playing a mummy or a Dhampir, are zombies really going to terrify you? The local townsfolk, yes, but not the PCs. The Banshee of Loch Finnere, however, creates an atmosphere of dread because the PCs really can’t punch a curse in the face or do battle with the banshee directly. For all their combined powers, the PCs greatest weapon against the evil in this adventure is their wits. By the end of the adventure, players may have pissed off two major powers in the Accursed world, as well as either helped the banshee to find peace or destroyed her outright. There are a lot of ways this adventure can unfold, and it’s nice to see this isn’t an on-rails piece where PCs are simply along for the ride.

Again, the core plot piece of finding out who the Banshee is and why she has her heart set on the destruction of Clan Finnoul is straight out of the old AD&D Second Edition version of Ravenloft, as it highlights the power of a curse, how horrific and/or terrifying a run of the mill monster can be if written correctly, and it just oozes atmosphere. It also helps that there are squabbles between the dark rulers of this setting similar, to those that occur in the Dark Domain. Because of this, D&D gamers might want to pick up this adventure as well and do a bit of tweaking so it uses 2nd or 3rd edition rules rather than Savage Worlds mechanics. Note that this is a LOT easier than you might imagine, as the entire adventure is stat-free/systemless except for the last two pages of the PDF, which gives monster stats in Savage Worlds terms.

In the end, The Banshee of Loch Finnere is exactly what I’d give to someone who was curious about Accursed. I’d have them play through this adventure and, if they had fun, lend them the core books to decide if this is a system they wanted to invest in. Of course, Accursed is a pretty expensive game to pick up, as you’ll need the core rulebook, the Savage Worlds core rulebook and the Savage Worlds Horror Companion just to get started. That can be a pretty pricey undertaking. At only six dollars, The Banshee of Loch Finnere is a great way to see if Accursed is the horror fantasy system for you without spending fifty to a hundred dollars in books you might not actually use. There’s absolutely nothing negative I can say about the adventure itself. So if you’re a fan of horror fantasy at all, definitely make a note to yourself to pick up The Banshee of Loch Finnere when you get a chance. You won’t be disappointed.

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