Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Tommy's Take on Day of Deeds, The Big House and ICONS Hero Pack 1




DAY OF DEEDS

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Day of Deeds is an adventure module for Mutants & Masterminds 2nd Edition, released by Action Games. It is a very interesting concept, a whole lot of Bad Stuff happens all at once, and the PCs have to try to get to the bottom of it before the city falls completely into chaos. The set-up is right up my alley: For each of the 24 locations, you can randomly roll a victim, an antagonist and a Wildcard situation. The chaos isn't completely random, there is a connection to it all.

WHAT WORKS: Though stats for the antagonists are provided, anyone familiar with their favorite supers system can use Day of Deeds with something other than Mutants & Masterminds. Myself, I would probably feel comfortable enough using it with Marvel SAGA, Marvel FASERIP, BASH Ultimate Edition, Savage Worlds Supers or ICONS. Also, anyone that pays attention too my reviews knows that I love random roll charts.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: The bookend segments are written pretty weakly. Basically, it's an excuse to get to random chaotic action. Really, even at the PDF price of $7.50, it's a tad overpriced for what amounts to a big random encounter generator.

CONCLUSION: I love the concept. However, neither the writing nor the production values fully justify the price tag. I can't comment on the stat blocks in the back as I'm not a Mutants & Masterminds guy, but I can say that if the concept appeals to you, most of the encounters are certainly easy enough to state up in your favorite supers system.

THE BIG HOUSE

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The Big House is a generic supplement by Scaldcrow Games that you can use as a superpowered prison for any supers RPG. It is 48 pages and stat-free, although it does have a system of icons to help you gauge how a given NPC should compare to your PCs experience-wise, as well as the level of threat they should pose. Similarly, important skills for each NPC are given on a 1-10 scale that you can use to judge where it would fall in your system of choice. A full map of the prison is included, with staff, security measures and so on, plus a handful of adventure seeds and a big worksheet of the cellblocks so you can track who is locked up where.

WHAT WORKS: I love the system for generically statting up NPCs and such, with a clearly defined scale that you can use to compare to your system of choice. If you're not a map-guy, and I'm not, ready made maps are even better.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: There are a lot of "see page. XXX" placeholders in the version I reviewed, and if you're fairly new to your system of choice, this is going to of limited usefulness to you, as the appropriate scaling may not be readily apparent.

CONCLUSION: Perfect for a GM that knows their system well but doesn't want to put the time in to detail every last aspect of a prison for their setting. I can't call it a must-buy because a) most existing settings already include a super prison and b) it certainly isn't the most helpful for beginning GMs, but it is still a very well-done product.

ICONS HERO PACK 1

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: 120 heroes and villains in one PDF, retailing for $9.95. Every character has game stats and art by Dan Houser. This was part of a promotion where people purchased slots for their characters, Mr. Houser drew them in the style associated with the ICONS rulebook and game stats were published for them. In addition, several of the ICONS characters from the corebook are also provided, such as The Whisper, The Hangman, All-Star and All American Girl. A whole slew of standees are also present, which should cover every character in the book as well as some blanks.

WHAT WORKS: If you're a fan of cardboard style standees in your game, having a bunch of new ones to play around with is always fun. Some of Mr. Houser's character designs are really great, providing some very interesting character images.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: Backgrounds are not present for any of the characters. Vital statistics such as height and weight are likely inaccurate as well, as a particular height and weight shows up a LOT (5'6" and 140 lbs) even when it seemingly makes no sense at all in context of the picture . Many of the Aspects are not defined (with only Epithet, Catchphrase, Social, etc.) listed, making the lack of background for several of the characters even worse.

CONCLUSION: While not a bad idea, the execution is flawed. You don't really get 120 ready to use Heroes and Villains, instead getting a few mostly ready to use Heroes and Villains and a bunch of guys you still have to use a little creative work on to make table-ready. While the standees, character images and what you can glean from the concepts aren't bad at all, be warned that this is not an "out of the box" product.