Small Statues of Ponies? Who’d’ve Thought? A Review of Curse of the Statuettes Adventure
I’m an unabashed fan of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. I put it in the same league as something like Animaniacs and Tiny Toons, where, sure, I may not be the real target audience, but I feel it’s a quality cartoon product that has enough references to keep me interested (they dress up as the characters from Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas at one point, for example). So yes, I do also enjoy the Tails of Equestria RPG book and, as soon as I could, ordered my copy of The Curse of the Statuettes, the first full-length adventure for the game. It got here the other day, and I figured, for my 25,000th post (more on that later), I’d give it a (spoiler-free) review. So let’s get into it.
So let’s head out into the badlands and take a look at The Curse of the Statuettes.
The first thing I noticed about the box was that it seemed rather tall. Opening it up, I can see why, there’s the book, pad of character sheets, GM screen, and dice in the box, but there’s also an insert that adds to the height of the box. I’m somewhat confused by the insert, as it seems rather superfluous. The box could’ve just been a bit shorter and everything still would’ve fit easily. But there we are, then.
Getting to the individual components, we have the set of dice on top in their own bag. They’re a standard set of polyhedral dice. Solid colors with white numbers. They’re entirely serviceable, but… I dunno, I really think this was a missed opportunity here. I would’ve gladly paid a couple extra dollars for the entire pack if the dice were customized in some sort. Maybe the MLP logo on the highest number on the dice, or maybe make them swirly in color. Something just a bit… more. As I say, they work just fine, but maybe a bit of a missed opportunity there.
My disappointment is turned around when I get to the GM screen. Now, GM screens I’ve had for various games in the past have simply been card material, like a standard folder you’d get for schoolwork or such. This is actually cardboard, like a hardback book, with the front and back with paper over it. When you flick it, you get a solid, “thok” sound from it. It’s good quality, I feel. And, on the inside, there’s plenty of info for the GM to use during the game. A very nice product, indeed. Happy with this one.
Making our way further down, we get to the big pad of character sheets. There’s four different “styles” to the sheets. They’re differentiated by the outline of a pony in the character portrait section, already having outlines for earth ponies, pegasi, and unicorns, plus one blank, if you want to draw in your own. They also alternate between a set of purple-outline and red-outline. The purple-border are more feminine-faced ponies, while the red-outlined are more masculine. These are just fine as well, though I do have a small question: might it have been better to have four smaller pads, but each kind separated by type. I’ve not actually pulled out any of the sheets yet, but I’d be concerned of taking sheets out of the middle of the pad as they might be needed, rather than just peeling off the top sheet of one of the four pads (one for each type of pony, and then a “blank” one). I’m sure there was a production cost issue here, and as with the dice, it’s a minor gripe, but still just a little bit of a head-scratcher.
That brings us to the adventure book, itself. Now, most of us, with the RPGs we’ve played in the past, even if they’re in vastly different systems and settings, many encounters can be summed up with, “stab something until it doesn’t move anymore, take the valuable gear, and move on.” Now, obviously, Tails of Equestria isn’t your typical RPG. If you have to get back an artefact, you’re probably not going to be killing the pony that’s currently got it so you can bring it back. So, for me, at least, I’m happy to have something to help guide me along in an adventure and help me know how to run the game. After a couple of these, I would feel much more comfortable making my own adventures. But, starting out, with something that’s a bit fundamentally different from what I’ve known before, it’s good to have a template you can go off of later.
As for the adventure, itself, it picks up right where the sample adventure ends in the Tails of Equestria main book. The pony characters must figure out why ponies are randomly turning into little statuettes. The Mane Six have gone missing while researching this phenomenon, and so the only ones who can help are the PCs. There are plenty of tests to overcome, clues to find, familiar faces they might run into, adventure, excitement, really wild things. I like the book’s layout. It’s very straightforward and is open enough for interpretation. It’s “vague in all the right ways,” letting your particular group try and figure out how to overcome the obstacles, while still giving you a direction in which to push the players. In many places, for the various tests, it gives examples of what sort of things might help out. And also, as with the original rulebook, it’s written in such a way that if this is your first-ever adventure you’re reading (well, I guess second, since there’s one in the rulebook), it is easily understandable. If it uses jargon, it makes sure to explain what they mean the first time around, so you shouldn’t come across any terms that aren’t defined in the book.
Small aside: the slight damage you see in the corner of the book in the photos happened post-acquisition but before the photos were taken. During transport to and from the office, my lunch leaked a little onto the corner of the book. Curse you, shoddy plastic containers! *shakes fist*
Overall, I’m happy with the set. The dice were a little disappointing, and the PC sheet layout is a bit of a head-scratcher, but the quality of the GM screen is top-notch, and the adventure is interesting, engaging, full of excitement, and sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
Now, as I mentioned at the top, this is my 25,000th post on TGN. That’s, obviously, quite a lot. It’s been quite a ride. A lot has changed since Post #1. We’ll just have to see what the future holds.