I'm reading through the published adventures available for Cubicle 7's Wrath and Glory Warhammer RPG. On the wings of Valkyries is the second part of a quartet of adventures, including Bloody Gates, Lord of the Spire, and Affliction Ascendant. Each adventure occurs during the same military campaign to liberate Tora Armis.
This review contains spoilers.
Being the second part in a four-part series, On the wings of Valkyries is a Tier 2 adventure. I love the disconnected continuous narrative of this series. The first adventure has the players breaking through the barrier around Tora Armis as if to enter the spire, and this adventure takes players inside the spire but not through the pathway they helped clear in the first adventure. The story feels like it connects, but actually it only introspects. You get a brief vantage point of the next part from the story you're playing, but the parts never directly converge.
Assuming you play the first part, you see the ground troop's view of the eponymous Valkyrie ships taking flight for the spire. It's a brief moment that gets notated in Bloody Gates for the Game Master to mention to players. I love that idea, and I look forward to playing this whole adventure from its many different angles.
In this Tier 2 booklet, players are a special strike team who enter the spire at an upper level, and make their way down to neutralize the enemy from within their own stronghold.
In the first section, players must transfer themselves from their Valkyrie to the spire. The Valkyrie can't land, so players must rappel down to a landing zone that's equipped with enemy anti-aircraft turrets and troops. Obviously, it's a pretty immediate start to the action.
In the booklet, there's actually 8 pages leading up to the "immediate" start of the action, but a lot of that's background for the Game Master. There's a half-page of content that the Game Master is told to read or paraphrase to the players, but I think it would only be necessary if the group hadn't played through Bloody Gates.
In the next section of the adventure, players must rappel further into the spire. They meet up with a contingency of loyalists who've been hiding out within the spire and are eager to assist the strike team in defeating the heretics. This is interesting, because it provides players a friendly encampment while they're otherwise behind enemy lines, and also serves as a reminder of why they're fighting. These loyalists are a bunch of ordinary Imperium citizens who had been living their normal lives when a group of fanatics decided that the Emperor was dead and that the spire would serve as a focal point for His glorious rebirth.
Of the loyalists, there are 8 who are able to accompany the players further into the spire. They help guide the player characters through the spire, and they can also help fight when needed. I love how Wrath & Glory manages to make the player characters feel like part of a whole troop, but in a way that doesn't require the Game Master to perform additional administrivia.
The third section of the adventure is another intersection of the first book and this one. In this adventure, the players experience the Poxwalkers as they first rise up, and it's as horrifying a sequence as when they pour out of the spire.
From there, the player characters hunt down the cause of the Poxwalkers, and more importantly the cause of a warp storm raging around the spire. The storm is preventing a Space Marine drop pod from entering the spire, so it has to be cleared.
The psyker causing the trouble is Raurok, and once he's defeated the drop pod of the Absolvers chapter of Space Marines can descend into the spire for their mission. That mission, Lord of the Spire, is adventure 3 in this series.
Having troops provides some interesting options for players. In this adventure, a player can spend a Glory point to call for support. The For the Emperor action means that one of the 8 loyalists takes damage instead of a player character. It's a great mechanic, and I use a similar one for henchmen in Pathfinder and D&D. I appreciate how Wrath & Glory abstracts troops accompanying player characters so that they're meaningful to players but not a burden on the Game Master to track. From experience, I do find that players tend to personify ally NPCs, but I think the extreme militarism of Warhammer encourages a "cost of war" flippancy to NPC lives. Don't learn the names of these soldiers, because they're just cannon fodder, and that in itself is the holiest of martyrdom in service to the Emperor.
This was another good adventure. It's a classic behind-enemy-lines scenario, and because it's only Tier 2 I think it's reasonable to expect players to approach certain tasks as a stealth mission. I'm eager to break out the ceramite armour for the next adventure, Lord of the Spire.
All images in this post copyright Games Workshop.