I just completed this adventure in my weekly campaign and wanted to share my review! Minor spoilers ahead.
The premise of “The Man We Knew” is simple: the Crew is called by an old friend (Cash Chi in the adventure as written, I tweaked it to Glenallen, a former PC of a player who stopped playing) to help with a job. When the Crew arrives on Catapult Station (the setting for this particular adventure) they quickly learn that Chi is has died, seemingly in an accident. From there a good old fashioned investigation kicks off.
The adventure does an excellent job of providing NPCs, most of which have a solid amount of backstory and descriptions. I didn’t feel boxed in by any of their histories or personalities, but at the same time I was given enough to know how to flesh them out in the moment. There were a few NPCs that didn’t quite catch the attention of my players, namely Sidney Rook (who they met briefly but never followed up with) and Red Rivers (who I honestly forgot about entirely), but the majority of NPCs played a very important role in the Crew’s investigation.
Similarly, the module does a good job of providing locations for scenes to play out, although I found that most of them weren’t necessary for the investigation. The Cuckoo Clock, the doctor’s office, the Silver Falcon Saloon, and the Underbelly Cable Station were the biggest set pieces during our playthrough. That being said, I think my group’s lack of exploration of the Catapult Station isn’t a knock against the module itself, but more of result of how they tend to approach problems (namely directly and often with a gun in each hand).
The one part of the module we didn’t get much use out of was the list of Factions. They did provide some good background and I will likely incorporate one or two of them in future adventures, but given the personal nature of this particular “job” they felt largely unnecessary beyond their role of “the factions have locked down the station, you can’t leave right now.”
The adventure is broken down into a three act structure with quick yet detailed descriptions of various scenes. Much like the NPCs, these were an excellent balance of details and space to grow. Each scene has a flavorful quote and quick descriptor that makes it very easy to get a sense of the expected mood and 3-4 quick paragraphs to describe what’s going down before the PCs arrive. Informative “If, then” statements that direct the GM to the next scene make it very easy to manage the flow.
Admittedly my group’s finale was very different than what was written into the module, but everyone at the table was quite satisfied with how things went down. The Crew finally got some closure on a pretty major moment that happened early on in our campaign and tied off a few loose ends.
Overall this adventure was very good! It is laid out in an easy to follow, easy to use way. There are enough NPCs with diverse motivations and personalities to attract pretty much any Sad Space Cowboy I can imagine and get the investigation started. The points of interest are good, although there are a few that seem to “simply exist” but aren’t directly incorporated into any of the potential scenes. My only real “complaint” is that the Factions felt largely unnecessary, but that’s more from the fact that the crux of the job is so intensely personal to the Crew than the factions not being interesting.
I highly recommend this module to anyone looking for a job/adventure that slots nicely between some larger jobs. If you do plan on running “The Man We Knew” I would recommend introducing Cash Chi earlier into the campaign so there is more of an emotional connection (or even just to avoid the “Remember the New Guy?” trope). Alternatively, do something similar to what I did and incorporate an already existing NPC - the adventure is certainly flexible enough to change up a few details without giving yourself too much work. You will want to read over the entire module at least once before running it, but at 27 pages with fairly large font that’s not a particularly challenging endeavor. The adventure is well-written, easy to follow, and a synch to referee!