Review: Melior Via – Substitute (Hope Preparatory School)

Hope Preparatory School: Substitute
Substitute is an adventure for the superhero setting Hope Preparatory School (powered by ICONS) written by Scott Schletz and published by Melior Via.
By Aaron T. Huss

Substitute is the first adventure module for the Hope Preparatory School (HPS) setting for ICONS, depicting teenage super-beings and their life as students at HPS. Following in the footsteps of the HPS setting, Substitute revolves around events that occur within the school, involving the students (not just the PCs), at least one teacher, and potentially other faculty members depending upon the results of certain events.


Substitute is a location-based adventure placed at Hope Preparatory School. To avoid spoiling any pieces of the adventure, I will leave it at that. In addition to the adventure, there is source material detailing Pryde Academy, the evil opposite of Hope Preparatory School including stats for some of its members. This adds another option to the HPS setting and another layer for possible campaigns.


Substitute is a good adventure module and one that really follows that teen super-being appeal. There are plenty of opportunities to incorporate high school life, considering what it’s like to be a teenager and surrounding by your peers. The continuing development of HPS is moving in a good direction and the setting really comes to life within these adventure modules.


Publication Quality: 9 out of 10
Substitute has a clean, effective, and efficient layout and format. It could use a couple more illustrations, but the book looks great. The content follows the same flow as the first adventure module and flows well from beginning to end. Melior Via is consistent with their publication formatting and the quality really stands up against much larger publishers.

Storyline: 7 out of 10
Substitute has a storyline that begins strong but fades quickly at the end. It develops well through the entire module until you reach the climactic point where you would think something really big is going to happen, but doesn’t. There is no shortage of high school-like moments and it fits very well with the Hope Preparatory School setting. However, I was really looking for that big ending and was a little let down.

Desire to Play: 8 out of 10
For those running a campaign set in the Hope Preparatory Setting, Substitute is a good fit in the early stages of that campaign. It’s open-ended and the beginning can be placed virtually anywhere in the early days of your campaign. In addition, Substitute introduces a new part of the HPS setting, Pryde Academy, which can open-up any campaign to lots of new options and direction. In fact, inherently, Pryde Academy opens up the setting to a number of built-in conflicts simply because it is the evil opposite of Hope Preparatory School.

Overall: 8 out of 10
Substitute is a good adventure module and can fit easily into a greater campaign. It allows for a good introduction to Pryde Academy and can keep the PCs on their toes while the worry about what may come from their evil counterparts. The ending is a little rushed, but with a few tweaks, it can be carried out to a greater climax, making for a solid ending to any adventure.

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