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Valkyrie Magazine and RPGnet are happy to provide this review.

Mob War

Shadowrun Adventure

FASA Corp.

64 pp

Time moves on in the Sixth World again with this scenario for Seattle based shadowrunners. Trouble has been brewing in the shadows for some time now and matters have come to a (horse's) head with the assassination of Don James O'Malley, boss of the Seattle Mafia. Obviously this event leaves the whole criminal power structure of the city under review and the syndicates start to redraw their territorial lines. Your shadowrunners are going to be interested in the whole host of nuyen friendly business opportunities now up for grabs. This book shows just what you can dangle before your hungry players.

The multiple plots are distinctly non-linear. The author provides four separate `tracks' or plot outlines, one for each of the major criminal organisations. The players can jump onto a track and follow it to it's conclusion or hop around from one back story to another. The only scripted events are supplied as a short timeline of events, but otherwise the adventure is completely open ended.

Thankfully the players can enter the adventure through a number of different routes, so although the book appears to cater for criminal types, there's just as much scope for the team to be Lone Star lawmen or a news hungry media team, a concept introduced in the Shadowrun Companion. This is a big improvement on the old Mr. Johnson hook, and does show that the events that happen in the Mob War will affect everyone's lives one way or another, no matter who you are.

Of the four tracks provided, the Mafia works best. Reading this you find yourself doing Al Pacino impressions in your head. The descriptions of the major players are inventive yet also trigger all the old movie archetypes that you know, excellent stuff. The other syndicates don't fare so well. The Yakuza are the current crime overlords of Seattle but there doesn't seem to be too much to get your teeth into, whilst the Triads and the Seoulpa Rings get scanty attention. Each track has a couple of adventure frameworks for you to flesh out and a handful of plot hooks to generate ideas from. These are all adequate at least, but they all need plenty of advance work.

The book rounds off with a "Threats" style treatment of two dragon crimelords, and it's the first time that the book really feels like it's describing a world drastically unlike our own. Until now the criminal politics could have applied to the current day just as easily.

Overall: A decent introduction to running a crime based campaign but you'll need the Underworld sourcebook to really make the best of it. All these adventures need work, and to get the most from the book you'll have to get your runners to jump around the four plots, otherwise you've just shelled out for a quarter of a book, and that would be criminal indeed.

Review by Barry Stevens

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