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Lord of the Rings Roleplaying Early Access

Horror, Humor, and Heroics?: The Haunting of Abbeyham Priory Reviewed

They Came from Beyond The Grave! - The Haunting of Abbeyham Priory (Onyx Path Publishing)Game Title: They Came from Beyond the Grave! – The Haunting of Abbeyham Priory

Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing

Author: Cat Evans

Artists: Durwin Talon, Brian LeBlanc, and Ken Meyer Jr.

Year: 2021

Genre: They Came From Beyond the Grave! horror roleplaying quickstart and adventure

Pages: 49 pages

Price: Softcover $8.99 or 2.99 in PDF at DriveThruRPG

The Haunting of Abbeyham Priory is the official quickstart for They Came From Beyond The Grave!, introducing Storytellers and players to the key rules, tropes, and flavor of the game as they take on the role of paranormal investigators in 1970s Britain. Can these intrepid sleuths discover the Abbey’s dark secrets and escape with their lives?

Abbeyham Priory works well as both an introduction to the particular of Beyond the Grave! And to the Storypath System at large. There is a gradual addition of challenges and a smart variation of challenge types. In addition to ensuring that all players have their moment in the moonlight, the structure of Abbeyham Priory demonstrates to the novice Storyteller how these different styles of scenes and challenges can all contribute to moving the plot forward. The text also benefits from its just-in-time reminders to Storytellers, helping them to facilitate a fun, seamless experience, even for a total novice.

They Came from Beyond The Grave! - The Haunting of Abbeyham Priory Interior (Onyx Path Publishing)The adventure also benefits from a heavy dose of humor in its Storyteller-focused text. Descriptions like “a fairly genteel mob, more likely to shake placards than pitchforks,” and characterizations such as a man who “gets a little too close to whoever he’s speaking to and smells strongly of wet dog” set the scene and the tone, reminding the reader that Beyond the Grave! is a game of both chills and laughs. This also helps to flavor the flavor the various NPCs, helping them to stand out and have personalities of their own.

Rather than providing a concrete series of events, the adventure provides key clues, when appropriate, along with alternates. This helps to ensure that even if players do something wildly unexpected, the adventure can still continue on without major improvisation on the part of the Storyteller.

Abbeyham also serves as a nice example of how to manage the time jumps that exist as one of Beyond the Grave!’s key setting elements. Here, they further the plot and play up the horror elements, helping to drive home the danger characters are in without needing to rely on a clunky exposition dump. They’re slotted in here in a way that makes sense and minimizes confusion, allowing players to simply go with the flow.

The quick start is generally well laid out and friendly to navigate on screen. The only complaint of note is the remaining “p.XX” notations, though this may yet be corrected.

The Haunting of Abbeyham Priory is an entertaining one shot that serves as an enjoyable on-boarding for those new to the game or a ready-to-go one shot for experienced players. For those curious about They Came From Beyond the Grave! or trying to bring new players into the fold, Abbeyham Priory is a solid option, merging entertaining and supportive Storyteller instruction with a tale that feels like it could have come straight out of a Hammer Horror.

Sami Yuhas

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    Our Summary

    Horror, Humor, and Heroics?: The Haunting of Abbeyham Priory Reviewed

    The Haunting of Abbeyham Priory! blends humor and horror to introduce first-timers to They Came From Beyond the Grave!

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    About The Author

    Writer, gamer, and necromancer bard (at least in D&D). Sami focuses primarily on board and tabletop gaming, with a focus on sci-fi and fantasy, as well as worker-placements and co-op titles. She prides herself on the ability to overthink world building in games, and cites a three post manifesto on the costuming of XCOM 2 as among her greatest nerd achievements.

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