I wanted to like it.
Let?s have a look by sections?
First of all ? the product starts off with ten pages of flavor text. A bit excessive in my opinion. Anyone buying this product probably has a good handle on just what this supplement is all about, the reader is most likely a pulp gamer who has purchased this in the hopes of finding some crunchy inspiration Death traps, exotic locales, ports of call, villains, etc. instead ten pages are wasted on what could be summarized in a paragraph or two, at ten pages this section is just too fluffy. It could easily be reduced by half, giving over the remaining pages to more crunch.
A standard introduction that speaks to this particular sub-genre of pulp. The author is very careful to point out that none of the information in this work is to be taken in any context other than a reflection of this particular genre of fiction and the style of the writing of the period.
The Mastermind revisited
In this section we are given an overview of the Oriental Mastermind and some of the particular traits that make the Oriental Mastermind special. That was the good part. The disappointing part is that we are given a set of stats for an Oriental Mastermind but no background on him. No history, no motivation, no information on his empire, secret base, connections, family, nothing-just abilities skills and numbers- this is one of those areas where we could use a page or two that was wasted on the flavor text in the beginning.
East meets west
In this section we are given a light overview of the history and struggles of Asians in America, with particular focus on the Chinese, ?Chinatowns? and the Tongs.
The Dragon lady
Here we are treated to a section on that most alluring of pulp fixtures the ?Dragon Lady?. Real world examples of powerful Asian women are offered in addition to a nice section on the motivations and behaviors of this Femme fatale as presented in the Pulp genre. A sample character write-up is added, but here again no specific background, or details about her organization, etc.
The Mysterious Orient
At the halfway point of the product we reach a gazetteer of sorts that takes us on an all too brief (two page) tour of the Orient, touching briefly with paragraphs on China, Japan, Mongolia, and Tibet. What?s lacking is any detail whatsoever on the cities that make the ?Mysterious Orient? so Mysterious- Shanghai, Singapore, Manila, Macao, just to name a few. There is a huge map of China though, which looks like it was photocopied from a 1930 high school textbook and takes up three quarters of a page; pure filler.
Enemies from the East
This section deals with the exotic adversaries that are in the service of the Oriental Masterminds. This section proved the least disappointing of the entire product. Besides your run of the mill Ninja, Mongol, and Martial artist write-ups, there are two foes that showed particular promise for my campaign: The Dacoit and the Black Monk.
Here the weapons of the Orient are described with stats and descriptions.
Horrors of the Orient
The monster manual section of the product. Three monsters are presented-a snake, a lizard, and a yeti. That?s it. What was I expecting? I don?t know- choking vines maybe, brain worms that are inserted in the ear and make their way to the brain, more stuff along those lines.
The product ends with three one-paragraph adventure seeds.
When I saw this product at RPGNow I was so excited I bought it instantly. I wanted it to be great; I knew it could be great. Man was I disappointed.
Nothing on deathtraps, exotic locales, or hidden bases. No detail on how the Oriental Mastermind?s organization operates, nothing on the various illicit rackets (dope smuggling, prostitution, white slavery, piracy, extortion), nothing on how the Oriental Masterminds empire influences city hall, the state department, or small countries. None of that.
On one hand it was only six bucks, but on the other hand I felt I spent four bucks too much.
<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Disappointing<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Disappointed<br>
[2 of 5 Stars!]