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Wild West RPG
by David L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/09/2022 15:03:51

I first purchased Wild West when it was first released by FGU. I have found it to be totally unique from all ‘other’ games that have been published because of the way it handles Character Creation, Skills, Horses and Combat.

Character Creation: Each Character has Primary and Secondary Characteristics. There are nine Primary Characteristics and eight Secondary Characteristics. The Primary Characteristic Values (CV) are determined normally by rolling 3d6 for a CV of 3-18. The Secondary Characteristic Values (CV) are determined by using various math formulas using the Primary CVs. For Example: Height-in-inches: Add the Physique (CV) to 54 + 1d6. The result will be your height in inches. So if your Physique CV was 12, then 12+54+1d6 (3) would equal 69 inches, or 5’9”. The Character’s “Damage Factor” (Total Hit Points) is one of the Secondary CVs. This is obtained by adding the Weight, Physique and Constitution rounded up to the next 10. For example: The Character weighs 202 lbs. You add Physique (12) and Constitution (12) to get 226, which is rounded up to 230. This 230 is then apportioned to the various parts of the body. The Head, each arm and Leg gets 10% (23 points) each. The Chest is 30% (69 points) and the Abdomen is 20% (46 points). This comes in later in Combat or injuries.

Skills: The Character starts with six Primary and four Secondary Skills. Each Skill has a CV and starting Experience Points. Some skills can only be taken in the first six Primary Skills (Doctor/Medical, Dentist or Veterinarian). This can pose problems for the Gamemaster, since many Players will choose Medical as one of the first six, and you will have a party of doctors running around in your campaign. This is highly unrealistic, since doctors were very few and far between in the Old West. You may want to limit your party to one, maximum. Or, you could state no one can learn it to make it more exciting, so if anyone gets hurt, they have to find a doctor. (Basic first aid can always be applied to stop bleeding, etc.) The last four skills can then be chosen. Lastly, there are a few Skills that can only be learned AFTER the characters are in-game. Each skill’s CV is determined by a formula. As an Example, “Quick Draw” is determined by adding Agility + Perception, then dividing the sum by 2 to get the CV. Thus, let’s say the Character’s Agility is 15 and the Perception is 13; 15+13=28. 28 divided by 2 = 14. This Character’s Quick Draw CV = 14.

Experience Points: Experience is also treated differently than on ‘other’ games. Each skill has its own experience points, so your skills are very important. Each successful use of a skill raises the Experience Points in that skill according to the difficulty (See below). So if the Character practices Quick-draw (which you see in many westerns), his experience will go up.

Horses: Horses were highly-prized possessions in the Old West. Horse thieves were normally strung-up on the spot if caught in the act (or once they were caught). To indicate this importance, horses are also created similar to characters. They have their own CVs and will also have Experience Points for Skills they have learned.

Combat: Combat in Wild West is DEADLY. One well-placed shot can kill the character! In this area, Wild West is very realistic. Remember apportioning the Hit Points earlier? If the person above gets shot in the right arm (23 points total), the rules explain the results according to the damage taken. As an example, if the person has taken 50% but less than 75% damage, the person has a 50% chance that the use of the limb is lost! So don’t think that your Character will be taking lead and shrugging off the damage. Combat is divided-up in 6-2 second segments. So each Combat ‘round’ will have 6 segments. Each Character will ‘plot-out’ his/her round. After each round, the Characters then do it again, until the end of the combat. Each Action takes up so many segments. As an example, Black Bart does not have Quick-Draw, but wants to shoot another person. Drawing a pistol without Quick-Draw takes between 1-5 segments! This is covered in the rules. Let’s say it takes him 4 segments. He lines-out the first 4 segments. This leaves him 2 segments left. Bart then decides to Aim (1 segment), and Fire (1 Segment). So, in the first Combat round, he draws his pistol and then aims & fires (in the last segment). However, the Character has Quick-Draw and is quite experienced. He only takes 2 Segments to draw his pistol, then he decides to aim, fire, aim, fire (each one segment). So, the Character is able to get off one shot while Bart is still drawing, hitting him in the chest. Due to damage, Bart has lost 50% of his damage points in the chest and has a 75% chance of losing consciousness for 1-20 minutes. Bart rolls the percentile dice and rolls a 71. Oh so close! He clutches his chest and falls in the street just as his gun was clearing the holster. He did not even get to aim and fire. Combat is now over. However, since this happened in town there is a good chance there is a doctor, and Bart can recover. Once again, Combat is Deadly!!!

The Role-playing Probability Chart (RPC): This chart is the meat of the game and makes Wild West different than all of the ‘other’ games. All chances of hitting a target or doing anything in the game relies on this one chart! Each point of experience and digit/point of CV makes a difference in the successful outcome, as well as the difference in the difficulty of the task performed. There are three scales of difficulty; A-Hard/Complex, B-Difficult/Medium and C-Easy/Normal, but not so simple as an automatic success. An example of this would be firing a pistol at a target at short range. It will be on Line C; since it will not be an automatic hit.

Looking at the Combat above, since the Character was successful in his quick draw and Pistol marksmanship, he will gain experience in each.

There are further modifiers for cover, running, distance, etc.

Wild West also has rules for wound recovery, damage taken while traveling wounded, TNT damage, Brawling (good Saloon fights, anyone?) etc.

Equipment: Wild West has a good list of equipment, guns (by year introduced), and such, plus how much money a particular job/profession made in a month. A normal run-of-the-mill Cowboy made $15 - $35 a month, while a full time Town Sheriff made $30 - $40 a month.

Overall, I have loved this game. It makes the characters role-play rather than shooting everything in sight. However, if you like “A-Team” type play (lots of shooting, yelling, running around with nobody getting shot), then you may want to play another game for combat.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wild West RPG
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Bushido
by James G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/09/2021 13:51:12

I'm GMing a play by post (PBP) Bushido game on the Unseen Servant forum. I'm also a feudal Japan history otaku who lived in Japan and studied Japanese for five years. I can say that this game is not only a lot of fun, but it manages to capture a samurai-era Japan feel. That aside, the game mechanics themselves make for really interesting games. Combat is detailed and has a lot of tactical options. It feels like a miniatures wargame in the form of an RPG. The rules on characters' social standing are interesting and they can create interesting situations. A character with a greatly higher social can essentially force another character to do something or not do something. (We lost one player because of that-- he didn't like the idea of his PC not having complete autonomy.

As was mentioned in another review, the rules are kind of hard to comprehend. Some concepts mentioned in earlier sections aren't explained until later sections. But all of the many pieces do fit together in the end in an elegant way. I'd recommend reading the entire player's book through, without trying to fully understand each section as you go. Once you get a grasp of the overall picture, the individual smaller parts will make sense.

Overall, a really brilliant game design and much fun to play.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bushido
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Privateers and Gentlemen
by David T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/25/2021 12:26:42

Rules to play your own Hornblower, Aubrey or even start as a midshipman and work your way up through the ranks (Promotions and Prizes), aimed at British or US officers, although I guess you could play a privateer (or pirate even) from any nationality. There are also rules for a fully fledged minatures game (Heart of Oak booklet) and desgning your own ships (Tradition of Victory). There is a mass of background detail and a timeline from 1754 to 1827 and price lists for Britain and the US.

Excellent value for money.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Privateers and Gentlemen
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Bushido: Honor Bound
by James G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/17/2021 19:13:03

This is a nice work. It has four adventures, the latter two of which tie together. But the second is a sequel to happen some years later after the first, when the PCs are more powerful and established in Nippon. Here's my subjective lists of positives and negatives. (I emphasize "subjective," because I've been a feudal Japan history otaku since... the last few decades of the 20th century). So my tastes are a little skewed.

Starting with the subjective negatives (which are few): -I had a little trouble figuring out the plots in the first two adventures. Who the NPCs were and what their goals and motivation were. It took second reads and some scrolling up and down to get it. -The names of NPCs and places were invented. When samples of actual Japanese names from the period can easily be searched. Japanese names have a logic, they're made of components. (E.g. Yamamoto, Ishiyama, Yamamori. Yama means 'mountain.') I thought that throwing in authentic names would subtly add to immersion into the world of Nippon. Which is a hard enough task already for any Bushido GM. (I warned you I was otaku) -I didn't know what level characters the encounters were designed for. They seemed very challenging for 1st Level characters. (We have to face it, everybody playing Bushido these days is probably starting out at -1 Level (character generation) and working up to Level 1.

The positives (which are many): -Well organized, with complete information and no holes left open. -Establishes the PCs a base and surrounding area, with excellent maps, include a town map, topo map, and various detailed interior/grounds maps to be used however needed. But samurai Nippon-style, doesn't really let the PCs become insiders, without much effort. -Early on introduces the social interaction, On and Rank considerations. Forces the GM and players to learn and think through this pretty unique Bushido system. Provides ample opportunities for using Skills such as Go, and opportunities for downtime training at temples, dojos and such. -Nonlinear adventures hint at "Honor Bound" being a setting for sandbox, as much as an adventures module. -Complicated thought-through explanations of many if/then situations, depending on whether a certain NPC survives, whether the party has a ninja or not, whether he/she is detected, etc., etc. GMs, don't read until you need to. You'll only do needless work that the author has already done for you. When it comes up, find your situation and apply it.
-Nice black and white ink-like illustrations of NPCs. -The author was kind enough to include recommendations for inspiration fiction reading for players and GMs. -Many

This module/adventure fighting encounters lean toward the fantasy/supernatural, FYI. But a GM can easily shift toward a more historical bushi vs. bushi (or other human) viewpoint. There's solid sandbox framework here. Also some rather hard to fully take in complete adventures, possibly way too hard for 1st Level characters. But many good ideas, and many aids for setting up a Bushido campaign.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Bushido: Honor Bound
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Space Opera
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/13/2021 14:01:59

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/

Space Opera has always been one of those games that I have wanted for years but never tried. Anytime I thought about the game it was usually out of print and the prices were a bit high. Then I'd forget about it again. Reading through all my old Dragons, especially in the 1980-1983 time frame, there was an ad for it every issue.

Since this is SciFi month I figure I should go back to this one. Thankfully for me, it is now available as a PDF from DriveThruRPG.

Space Opera (1982)

Space Opera, 1st Edition, was released in 1980 which makes it one of the first competitions to the Classic Traveller RPG. The 2nd Edition version, which is what DriveThruRPG has, was released in 1982. I can't really speak to the differences. According to a post over at Wayne Books, there are not really many differences between the 1st Ed "Blue" box vs. the 2nd Ed. "Black" box save for the art.

There also seems to be a slight difference between the two black box 2nd edition covers.

Space Opera was written by Edward E. Simbalist, A. Mark Ratner, and Phil McGregor and published by Fantasy Games Unlimited.

The PDF from DriveThruRPG is 200 pages split into to two volumes. There are two color pages of the box art and the rest is a very old-school style b/w text with some minimal art. While this sounds like a drawback the game is very much a sandbox-style game. So the "Art" that would be here is from whatever your favorite sci-fi property is. Space Opera tries to be all things to everyone and ... well we will see how well it does at this. The PDF is a scanned image, then OCR'ed. There is no bookmarking.

Out of the box we learn that Space Opera is exactly that. A game to emulate your favorite Space Opera fiction. This is not the hard science of Traveller or the weird science of Gamma World/Metamophasis Alpha. This is Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers. I have heard it described as "not drama, but melodrama."

The sections are numbered like many old-school war games. 1.0 is "Space Opera" 1.1 is "Required Materials & Equipment" and so on. There are four major sections of Vol. 1, the player's book, 1. Space Opera, the introduction, 2. Character classes, 3. PC Career Experience and 4. PC Knowledge and Skills. Vol. 2 is the "Star Master's" section. Yes they are indeed called Star Masters. Here we have sections 5 to 18. 5. General Equipment Lists, 6. Personal Weapons, 7. Heavy Weapons, 8. Ground Combat, 9. StarShips, 10. StarShip Combat, 11 StarShip Economics & Interstellar Comerce, 12. World Creation, 13. Cultural Contacts (aka Aliens), 14. Directory Design of Planets, 15. Habitable Planets, 16. NPC Races, 17. Beasts, and finally 18. Personal Living Expenses.

If it looks like the game is heavy on weapons and combat then yes, it is. It is also so wonderful old school with bunches of different systems and sub systems.

Instead of completely reviewing a 40+ year old game let through out some caveats and some points.

First, while this game was certainly an attractive alternative to Traveller at the time, we have many more games out now that do this all better and with clearer rules.

Second, if you are a fan of older games or a fan of Sci-Fi games then really is a must have for your collection. The PDF is nice and cheap compare to the $100+ to $300 range I see copies go for online. For $10.00 it is worth your while if you are curious about the game, the history of RPGs or Sci-Fi games.

Now some points. Or how to get the most out of the 10 bucks I just asked you to spend.

Section 1.2 covers units of measurement, all metric focused. Many games do not have these, this is useful for anyone working in three-dimensions or needs a good idea what a cubic meter is.

Section 1.4 has good advice on dicing rolling in any game. Don't roll unless the outcome is in question or it serves the drama. There are lots of time to roll the dice, it doesn't need to be done all the time.

Section 2.0 covers classes. They boil down to Fighting, Tech, Science, Medical and Specialist. We will see these in one form or another time and time again in nearly every other Sci-Fi RPG from Stars Without Number, The Expanse, to Starfinder and even Star Wars and Star Trek.

Section 2.2 is a nice overview and random tables of Planet of Birth. They are all d20 rolls and should work with every other system out there. My back of the napkin math even tells me it would work great in such games like White Star.

Section 2.3 character races has great guidelines for just about every sci-fi race out there. Humans, future humans, evolved apes, cats, dogs, bears, birds, lizards. All here. Again guidelines so cut and paste into what other Sci-Fi game you have going on. No giant insects though.

Section 3.1 on covers some great guidelines on Mercenary service. I can't vouch that the economics will transfer from game to game though.

Section 4 has so many skills. I prefer a simpler skill system these days, but this would help you define some specialized ones.

Section 4.10 has a lot of Psionic skills as well. Might work with Stars Without Number. This is also how you get "The Force" without pissing off Lucasfilm/Disney.

Section 5. So. Much. Equipment!

Section 15. Great toolkit for habitable planets.

Section 16. NPCs and sample Alien races.

I said above it tries to be everything to everyone. It does this by taking every sci-fi trope there is and giving it a home here. Does it work? Well...it ends up being very long, very complicated and somewhat unattractive, but I can't tell if I am judging it by today's standards, my standards for game design or the standards of the time. This is a toolkit game with 1000s of options and you only need to choose the ones that work best for you.

This is not the Granddaddy of Sci-Fi RPGs. That would be Traveller. This is however the Great Uncle. He still has some good ideas and since he has no kids of his own he can spoil the grandkids as much as he likes.

I am sure that there are groups out there still today that would LOVE this game. Me I prefer something a little more streamlined. That all being said, I am glad I bought the PDF of this as opposed to spending $100s on eBay for it.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Space Opera
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F.o.r.c.e.
by Marc C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/11/2021 14:52:33

The art by Jeff Dee is fantastic. The setting is clearly laid out and the adventure is detailed and fun. Includes color counters. Thanks to the publisher for making this classic title available.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
F.o.r.c.e.
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Aftermath!
by Lukas R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/28/2018 09:24:11

Complex system that's incredibly versitile, doesn't try to force its own flavour, and fits almost any modern setting. Books in the PDF are also very well structured and easy to read.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Aftermath!
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Age of Fighting Sail: Heart of Oak
by A customer [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/21/2018 19:54:47

As people have pointed out, the scan is not the best, but that is the only reason I give it four stars. The rules themselves are amongst the best I've ever owned. While others say that the gunnery rules are an afterthought, I find them to be very accurate, as far as the decisions a ship's captain would make, and I like the fact that the gunnery rules leave those decisions that would be made by subordinates (type of shot to be used, etc.) out of the game. The continous broadside rule is a very accurate depiction of the way gunnery was handled at the time, and immediately called to mind Jack Aubrey's order, "Keep 'em spitting, Mr. Calamy!" If you have an interest in this time period, these rules are a must in my opinion.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Age of Fighting Sail: Heart of Oak
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Aftermath! Asteroid Cybele: THe American Wasteland
by robert t. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/02/2018 07:13:45

Played aftermath back in the 80's always like the game. The material contained is very good. Every thing u need to run a campaign.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Aftermath! Asteroid Cybele: THe American Wasteland
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SwordbeareR: Dwarven Halls
by David G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/11/2018 06:43:55

Nice product, worth it for the Danforth art alone. Has some excellent Dwarven city maps which can easily be used in other games.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
SwordbeareR: Dwarven Halls
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Bushido: Honor Bound
by Paul R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/31/2017 05:35:09

I purchased this product along with 'A Tale of Honour Lost' as I have recently started my first Bushido campaign and was keen to acquire some starting adventures to go with the other two I already had; 'Takishido's Debt' released by Games of Liverpool and the only ione FGU ever published; 'Valley of the Mists'.

I was particularly attracted to the fact that whilst several of the four adventures it contains are linked, the other two could be run separately, and in all cases, could easily be set in any province of Nippon. I like the flexibility to be able to do this. The likelihood of an additional multi-part adventure by this author in print form is to be welcolmed.

At the present moment in time, I have not yet run any of these adventures, but am already looking to gradually incorporate some foreshadowings based around the character backgrounds already designed. I like the formatting and style of the artwork and text as these are evocative and easy to read, which during a gaming session, is important.

The settings are supported by some good maps, and these alone and the detail that goes with them, would allow any creative GM to plot some further adventures, which again makes this good value. Even with the ink and paper required to print this adventure out, I calculate the cost to me would not be much greater than £4.00, a bargain!

The province of Kai is detailed enough with the major schools of teaching, shrines and temples being listed in the format of the main Bushido rule books. The first two adventures were my favourites; 'The Will of the Noble' and 'Rightful Possession' (the latter being linked with the third; 'Amakurikara'), as they offer opportunities for good role-playing.

Player characters will be able to undertake investigation and combat in an exciting combination where one type of action does not overpower the other. The balance is fine and should cater for all tastes. The fourth adventure is really more of an encounter albeit it 'Things To Come' is also a kind of sequel to the second and third, set years later.

The adventures provide rumour tables, in keeping with the styling of the originally released 'Valley of the Mists' although it is left to the GM as to how to present these within the storyline as the author suggests this makes for a much better flow of storyline. The black and white art work and maps add a certain look which I like very much.

The pacing of these seem to invoke the life of people living in a mythical Japan (Nippon) and it would be very easy to add in as much history from our real world as you like to increase the enjoyment for the players. There are several periods of history between the thirteen and seventeenth centuries that were very turbulent times indeed!

I hope there will be many more titles next year and beyond. I always felt Bushido had been abandoned unfairly and unwisely as a games system, perhaps because it retained (simpler) mechanics also seen in the 'Aftermath' RPG which was so more detailed and far too complicated to teach and follow easily during several gaming sessions.

Highly recommended to players and GM's alike.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bushido: Honor Bound
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Bushido: A Tale of Honor Lost
by Paul R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/30/2017 17:21:09

This was one of two Bushido adventures I downloaded - the other being 'Honour Bound' - and I was very keen to see what the flavour of these would be, having previously purchased the only other two scenarios produced by FGU and Games of Liverpool.

The format and styling were identical and the typeface easy to read. I liked the art work, particularly within the dramatis personae section, given that they were black and white but still managed to spark the imagination as much as colour ever could.

The layout of the adventure was clear and made understanding the context and flow of the possible outcomes ideal for a new GM, as I had owned the game since its release and have only recently begun a campaign within the last couple of months.

I was therefore looking to purchase some additional scenarios, to enable me to widen the scope of the campaign to incorporate much more of Nippon, encouraging travel by the PC's and facilitating my creation of encounters to test their mettle and honour.

Nippon, like Japan, offers a unique wolrd of adventure, and this scenario brings to life the desperation of the townsfolk left in the town of Tanomo as well as the determination of the ronin; Genji as well as providing a unique shugenja villain who has tainted a province.

There are some interesting overland encounters that can be used again and again, with some specific to the plotline of this adventure in some way, and others, unconnected. The diagrams and maps are nicely drawn and easy to review against the text of the adventure.

The adventure progression is also written from differing persopectives - that of the ronin and shugenja in particular - which maintains the pace of discovery should the player characters act in the most likely fashion but still allows a great deal of flexibilityif not.

The overall adventure could probably cater for a variety of player character experience levels although I have no doubt the encounters could be adjusted fairly easily if there are less than four which is probably the ideal size for most adventuring groups these days.

l am looking forward to running this and expanding upon it where possible.

Highly recommended to Bushido players and GM's.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bushido: A Tale of Honor Lost
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Aftermath! Asteroid Cybele: THe American Wasteland
by George T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/11/2017 13:04:20

Played and run Aftermath! since '82 (or 83?) System is wildly adaptable to game play types and adventure styles. Just purchased Cybele last week. Read it cover to cover. Don't like the premise of the disaster but(!) I am going to use a huge amount of the scenarios and groups that are in the book for my own campaign. For me, great buy. Very happy with it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Aftermath! Asteroid Cybele: THe American Wasteland
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Aftermath! Magic!
by George T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/11/2017 12:58:40

I've run Aftermath! campaigns since 198(2?) and I love the system because it is so versatile. I've used just about every genre of 'disaster' or 'aftermath scenario' out there; Bio War Plague; Zombie outbreak; Nuclear War; Mega Tsunamis from the California Plate collapsing; Mars Invades; Aliens Invade: Dimensional Rift; and a few other variations. I've used time frames from: Just after; 10 years after; 200 years after; My 'crew' spent months inputting the stats from nearly 500 weapons into Aftermath! just before the 'Technology Book came out. Although really upset that the book appeared right after we had done all that work, it WAS comfortingh to see that by following the stats in the books, "our weapons" that were listed in the book were all nearly identical with the Addendum. One thing I've never been happy with, is the home-brew system for "Magick" I developed for one adventure set. Now,Aftermath! Magic is out and, I LOVE IT. It fits well into the system and the minor tweaking involved to Characters is a 5 minute job. I have not played it yet, as the next game session is next week but I've read the book cover to cover a couple of times. I'm going to have no problems slipping this into the '200 years after the Long night' world I'm running right now. My players are gong to love (and Hate) this add-on. It will change up play style a fair bit for some and not at all, for others. Which is what a good addendum is supposed to do. Kudos to the team.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Aftermath! Magic!
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Villains and Vigilantes:The Centerville Incident
by Ken L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/07/2017 11:00:48

This seemed like a perfect fit for the manga/anime supers game that I'm running; it was an awesome resource. I had already introduced some elements of Deparrment 88, so this suppliment slid into place with no problem.

I ran the module mostly as written and found the range of aliens pretty interesting. This story also introduced the Galactic Police, which could start a whole line of further products on their own; they definitely deserve a sourcebook. My group really liked the NPC hero team on the cover, THE ARMORED DOLLS; pure scifi anime awesomeness!

The writing and pacing of this adventure is top notch and the interior art is well done and fun. We took two sessions to complete the story, but could see it done in a longer 3-act session.

I did feel the need to add a boss-level leader of the aliens, but that is more an issue of personal taste than any failing with this book. I shifted some locations and the McGuffin a bit, but this had negligible impact on the plot, which confirms how solid a product this book is.

If you're looking for a low prep, read and run adventure, this is the book for you!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Villains and Vigilantes:The Centerville Incident
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