Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tommy's Take on Undead Stormtroopers, Dark Elves, People's Revolution

BATTLESCENES: THE UNDEAD STORMTROOPERS OF GRUNWALD

This is, apparently, the first in a series of "drop in and go" mini adventures, brought to you by Vigilance Press, who are offering up much awesomeness in their line of WWII PDFs.







***SPOILER WARNING***




Set in the waning months of the war, it is a last-ditch effort by the Nazis to bolster their numbers through the use of necromancy, raising the dead to become their new wave of soldiers. The main problem being that the dead hate the living.

Oops.

This is mitigated by mind control helmets on the commanding officers, which work so long as nothing removes the helmet.

The scenario is played very loosely, setting up the situation, and dropping the PCs into it (the Allies have figured out that the Nazis are up to something at Castle Grunwald, and arrive to see zombie being pumped out en masse)...from there, the whole thing is left very open. The castle and its guards are described (such as the troopers on jetpacks in the air), with the PCs getting to handle it however they see fit.

Important details are listed, along with two Optional Details (one involving a mystical artifact and the other allowing for an explosive conclusion to the Battlescene), and none of them contradict the rest, so they can all be used together.

Additionally, a couple of plot twists are provided, in case the GM feels like everything is going too smoothly.

Two pages of stats are included, for the various zombies, as well as the sorcerers powering the machine, and an optional megazombie foe.

It is not a complicated scenario, at all...but it is not meant to be. For $1, you get a few stat blocks, as well as an encounter that could take up an entire short session, depending on how it plays out. Combined with the PC teams provided in the other PDFs in the series, it could make for a great ICONS demo, or just a cool diversion in your game.

Honestly, you could even use it outside of the WWII timeline just by twisting things a bit, and maybe having the man responsible be Count Fenrise (see Eugenics Brigade) having survived the end of the war and hoping to cause the Nazis to rise once more (this time from the dead). Definitely buy it if you're digging the other PDFs in this series, it's well worth your dollar.

MONSTER BRIEF: DARK ELVES

Meant to go hand-in-hand with Player Races: Dark Elves, this Monster Brief provides some variations on Dark Elves, to be used as monsters and adversaries.

Two Edges and two Hindrances are included, though Poison Resistance and Obligation are reprinted from Player Races: Dark Elves.

The first variation present is the "Dark Elf Arachni", which are pretty much Driders (dark elves morphed into half-spiders), but this thing is freaking scary. A single arachni is absolutely dangerous both up close and at a distance, from throwing weapons to using crossbows to casting spells AND having a poisonous bite.

Honestly, I don't remember Driders being that scary.

Deepstalkers are Dark Elf assassins who are all part of a cult, said to worship something other than what Dark Elves worship. In addition to being specialized sneaky assassins, they also have access to miracles.

Dark Elf Painlords are dark elves who are also masters of torture, knowing how to strike in order to inflict the most pain in combat.

Next are the Dark Elf Priestess and High Priestess, who occupy the same real estate, just one is higher up the food chain than the other. Fit, capable combatants, they are also blessed with Miracles and more than a few Power Points.

Finally, we have the Dark Elf Warlock, which is really as close to magic power as most male Dark Elves get, and that tends to pale next to the Priestesses.

A very good listing of Dark Elf variations, hitting all of the common ones, as well as a new one in the Pain Lord. Very highly recommended if you run Savage Worlds and like your dark elves.

THE PEOPLE'S REVOLUTION

We have had the Americans, The Germans, The British and the Japanese...and now, we get the Russians.

This is an interesting product, as it can be used as a group of heroes in World War II, or a group of Villains in a Cold War era...and, either way, doesn't "officially" exist in the Vigilance Press chronology.

Up first is Red Hammer, a Russian supersoldier who essentially becomes kind of a Captain America/Superman to them. He is said to be immune to aging, which isn't mechanically represented anywhere in his stats. I think I understand why, as - aside from Immortality - there IS no "immune to Aging" power...though I think I might would have added Immunity with a new specification (since Immortality would mean he can't be killed, period). As it is, the only thing he has on his sheet that backs it up is Regeneration.

Night Witch is a female Russian pilot with control over electricity.

Ice Fang is a werewolf and soldier, who defends Russia but refuses to make an army of werewolves for them.

Trans-Siberian Express is Ice Fang's closest ally, a superspeedster. The two of them commonly coordinate together on ambushes.

The Red Legionnaire is kinda like what would happen if the Green Lantern ring fell in Russia.

Battle Czar really is kind of a Superman type for the People's Revolution, and is bitter that Red Hammer has assumed control of the team. This leads to potential internal conflicts because of the two.

Sovi-ape was Stalin's one successful attempt at cross-species Eugenics, a simian genius who feels alone in the world.

Revolutionary Fire, as the name sounds, controls flames, but he was also the cheerleader of the team, keeping morale up.

Killer Whale is an outcast from Oceana and a bitter rival of Swordfish of the Crown Guard.

Also included are the necessary rules for using them as a PC team, per the ICONS team rules.

Every character has art, with most of it being provided by Dan Houser and the rest by Jon Gibbons and Darren Calvert. It is a noticeable clash of styles again, but it's still awesome to see every character depicted. Personally, I didn't find the characters to be quite as inspired as in previous supplements, but the usability as heroes or villain, depending on the era, is tremendous. All in all, it's probably my least favorite entry in the line-up (especially among the villain teams), but that has as much to do with how high the bar has been set as anything...if you've enjoyed the series so far, no reason to stop now.