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Item - Trapped in the Museum

Series: Risus: The Anything RPG — no. 2
Platform: Adobe Acrobat
Author: Schweighofer, Peter
Date: June 1, 2003
Length: 16 pages (57 sections plus rules, introduction and "further adventures" section)
Number of Endings: 2
User Summary: You are Jamie Douglas, a student of history. Near the end of a stressful semester, you mysteriously awaken in a sarcophagus in the local museum....
Demian's Thoughts: I had fairly high expectations for this adventure based on the quality of previous Risus offerings. Unfortunately, though, it appears that Peter Schweighofer is not as expert as S. John Ross at making good use of the Risus system or the solo adventure format. As in Schweighofer's earlier Star Wars Role-Playing Game adventure, Imperial Double-Cross, the player is given a lot of options, but these options have little impact on the story's momentum. Even though locations can be explored in different orders and the tale's final confrontation can play out in a large variety of ways with dramatically different outcomes, the adventure still feels extremely short and barely interactive. All roads eventually lead to one of the adventure's two endings, which are almost completely interchangeable, and the player almost always ends up with the same vague idea of what's been going on. This lack of player involvement could be tolerable if either the story or the gameplay were interesting, but neither is. The tale of mysterious goings-on in a museum by night couldn't be more tired, and there is no challenge to the gameplay; while there is some dice-rolling and combat, there is no real strategy to it, and reaching one of the endings is inevitable. I feel a bit guilty being so critical of this adventure -- after all, its author has generously given it away for free, and he has also long been a champion for the inclusion of solitaire adventures in role-playing games. Still, given his long advocacy of the format, it seems strange that Schweighofer doesn't make more interesting use of it; perhaps he is more comfortable writing ultra-short introductory adventures for rulebooks. In any case, I appreciate the thought, if not the actual fact, of this offering, and I hope that future adventures will contain a bit more substance.

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