RPG Reviews – Charlie Foxtrot Adventure Compendium (Battlelords of the 23rd Century)

Charlie Foxtrot Adventure Compendium (23rd Century Productions LLC.)

When diving into a new game and setting, it can sometimes be overwhelming to plan out adventures and scenarios. Maybe the setting is very expansive, so it can be hard to narrow down just what kind of game to play, or there’s a particular feel the GM wants to nail down and would like some assistance. If the core book contains a sample adventure that’s great, but they can’t always cover all possibilities. That’s where a product like Charlie Foxtrot comes in handy.

Charlie Foxtrot is a compendium of five different scenarios for the Battlelords of the 23rd Century RPG. While the core theme of the game is military science fiction, the adventures here help show how that can be expanded to fit a variety of campaign concepts. While I haven’t had the chance to play through them, they read very well and look well-constructed, helping the GM handle the framework as laid out, but also accommodating potential deviations from the presented adventure.

Throughout each scenario various helpful “GM’s Notes” are presented. These give useful guidance on how to manage each Act/Scene, how/when to make rolls, how to handle the NPCs and antagonists, and how to make modifications when necessary. For someone learning the game, these are incredibly handy, especially as a rules medium-heavy game like this can include a number of mechanics that one might forget during play.

Pregenerated player characters are also provided – a different roster for each mission. These have been constructed to a set experience and cash level, as well as designed to be useful for the particular mission. While you can use your own characters, modifications either to the scenario or the characters will be necessary.

The book opens with an overview of the current timeline and status quo of the universe, along with a brief overview of the planets in the sector of Alliance space in which the scenarios occur. From this you can get a sense of their relative location and develop further plots for the area.

I’ve kept the specific details to a minimum to avoid spoilers, but have aimed for an overview that illustrates the utility of how each adventure is presented.

The first scenario, Last Resort on the Space Resort, is a “bug hunt” on a space resort that goes terribly wrong, both after encountering the creatures, and due to the untimely introduction of another group of antagonists in the second Act. It keeps things nice and straightforward throughout, offering fun set pieces for dynamic and interesting combats, rife with an excess of complications. The Aliens aspect could be played up a bunch in the first Act to make it a bit of a sci-fi/horror scenario, before letting everything completely go to hell. The enemies are described well and the GM is presented with a number of logical strategies for them to use, which will need good rolls or savvy characters to overcome. It ends with catalog entries for a bunch of new gear, to add even more value to the scenario. It’s scene-based, so avoids railroading by allowing players to conclude events before moving on to the next scene.

Pirate Raid sets the PCs as pirates, but a couple of options are suggested to allow different character groupings. It actually places them in the same scenario as Last Resort, but from the side of a one of the antagonists, which is clever and gives the overall scenario more replayability. It even makes it the kind that could be run for two different groups at a convention, resulting in a showdown between both groups of players.

Extract and Deliver is a, well, extraction scenario, focusing on stealth and espionage. It operates under a timeline and naturally throws a few wrenches into the gears that will affect how PCs perform this job. In extracting a former assistant to the villainous Uncle Ernie, they won’t even be able to tie him up (due to reasons), and will have to contend with the usual “don’t let harm come to the subject” guidelines and any opposition. This scenario is designed to be much more freeform and location-based, so the GM gets a healthy amount of information on the location and ways to infiltrate, with Acts and the narrative advancing upon completion of certain goals.

Who doesn’t like a good train job? In Express Train to Hades, the mercenaries are hired to break a prisoner out of a train before it reaches an inescapable prison. It’s the only viable location to do this, as the prison is inaccessible and the planet in general is brutally inhospitable. Both the travel time and planet’s atmosphere contribute to a time limit on completion. There’s a lot for the PCs to contend with and some for the GM to track (fast turns, corrosive atmosphere, the guards and escaping prisoners), but it’s structured well, so the GM shouldn’t have too many balls in the air. If the GM wants to add further complications, there are options suggested to present differing agendas to turn the PCs against each other.

The premise of Routine Inspection is that the PCs are members of an Alliance Colony Assistance and Relief Team, mandated to confirm colonies in their sector are productive and self-sustaining. This places them in probably the most altruistic role so far in the Compendium. Of course, it doesn’t play out so simply, as an inhabitant of their next destination is very interested in helping her presence secret and uses her exceptional abilities to assist the colonists. The PCs will interact with a number of the colonists during their inspection (the required areas highlighted so the players know the full extent of their duties), all who have some agenda. Consideration is given to the outcome of the players choices throughout, which is helpful, as they can achieve very different results based on what they do. Though the conclusion is likely unalterable, it should be a fun ride to get there.

Hold the Line takes place during an Arachnid invasion of Beaker 6, with the PCs members of the Galactic Army. It’s a tense and fast-paced scenario that will hopefully keep the PCs on the edge and on their toes as they assist in recovery and evacuation of the colonists. It’s naturally very combat heavy, but you’re playing Battlelords, so… It’s quite cool how the results of the PCs efforts at various stages affect the final scene – causing some serious conflict between people who are supposed to be on the same side.

I like Charlie Foxtrot. As someone with a minimum of free time on my hands any of the scenarios contain enough information for me to use as-is and would make a fun one-shot, or springboard to a long-term campaign. It also helps flesh out the Battlelords universe, showcasing different campaign possibilities. Though some work would need to be done to use all scenarios for the same group of PCs (and especially if they were original characters), individually they all stand up well on their own. The book has a great layout, with very nice art depicting the various species of the universe and lots of maps and floor plans for the locations in the adventures. There are advertisements featuring new gear and other elements to help bring you into the universe.

To explore the Battlelords universe from a variety of angles, you can pick up Charlie Foxtrot from the below Affiliate links to help support this site!

DriveThruRPG (PDF)

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