A few years ago, 2011 or 2012, I started to work with LPJ Design on a product for his Obsidian Apocalypse line, and after what was for me at that time a fair deal of work, the project got scrapped at the last moment.
So when Louis approached me again in early 2015, asking for me to work with him on a series of adventures for his NeoExodus campaign setting, I was very hesitant that it was going to go south again. But with a solid contract in place, I signed on…
And it was a great idea.
The project that came out of that was the Chronicles of the Gatekeepers: a worlds-spanning adventure serial (I’ll get into that in a moment) that took players from their favorite campaign setting to Exodus, and even briefly to Earth. It introduced the new races of Exodus, some of the major themes, and it did so in only two adventures!
Well, two and six half adventures.
One of the big differences in the Chronicle of the Gatekeepers is that we didn’t make it a typical adventure path. There weren’t a bunch of adventures that drew the party from one event and place to another. Instead, there were two keystone adventures, Alpha and Omega, and then six short, optional quests in the middle that can be completed in any order. We called the format the adventure serial, because the middle adventures were short, one-shot things that a GM could take or leave based on their opinions and how long they wanted the campaign to be.
Asides from being a great idea in general, it also provided a great opportunity to spread out the sorts of adventures the party can have on Exodus, and the setting’s awesome new races. Want a combat adventure? You play To Not Serve Man (4/5 stars) and meet the canibalistic calibans. Want a dungeon-delve? Play What Comes Before The First (4/5 stars) and learn about the First Ones. A Chill Wind Blows (4/5 stars) is a wilderness adventure that introduces the P’tan. In His Bad Books (5/5 stars) is a dungeon-exploration adventure where the party meets a cynean. Speaking the Same Language (5/5 stars) is a single, giant puzzle where the party meets Prymidians. Not of the Same Mind (5/5 stars) is a social adventure that introduces players to cavians. (for an average of 4.5/5 stars)
Before they can side quests, the party has To Save a Soul (5/5 stars + ENZ seal), where the party is chasing a necromancer who has stolen their mentor’s soul and fled through a strange portal – guarded by never-before seen Vespans, an insect-like race of servant drones. Fighting them off, the party chases them through the portal and finds themselves face to face with a manticore: which is frankly a mean trick to drop on a tired and injured party. Fortunately, the manticore is then surprised by Large-Biter, a soon-to-be ally for the PCs who helps the party fight off the manticore and chase down the vespans… over the series of several side quests, once the party has managed to get out of the dangerous territory they’ve found themselves in.
And after the side quests, the party is faced with the Dawn of a Thousand Wars (5/5 stars + ENZ seal), where they travel from NeoExodus… to Atlantis! This adventure reveals that Exodus was, long ago, a staging ground for an interstellar Atlantean empire, which has mostly crumbled and recently found itself under attack… by a strange force they call only Entropy. The necromancer the party has been chasing is but one of thousands of mad wizards and scientists from across countless worlds, gathered here to prepare a counter-assault against the unstoppable invasion. Of course, a more pressing concern is that the party is in the middle of a hostile and heavily militarized city who is sheltering a soul-stealing necromancer. By the time the party has tracked down the necromancer (or he, them) and put an end to him, they have put the city on the hunt for them, forcing them to make a final-stand against an army… from a shooting range containing dozens of incredibly powerful weapons.
The mini-game here at the end of the scenario is one of my favorite things I think I’ve ever built, both mechanically and thematically. Where else do players get to fight an endless stream of soldiers using gatling guns, rocket launchers and a giant death ray? And where you win by blowing a hole in the side of Atlantis, releasing ten thousand mad scientists? Yeah, I didn’t think you had another adventure where you could do that.