Sunday, September 18, 2011

Tommy's Take on Museum Mayhem, Moreau-1 Files and Copperhead Guard


WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: This Action Scene for ICONS is a little pricier than the Vigilance Press Battlescenes that have been released in the past, but you're also looking at about an additional 10-12 pages this time. The premise is a hostage situation at a museum, in which a sorcerer and his minions are repelling the authorities, so your superheroes get called in to do the deed.

What ensues is a nice set-piece against a sorcerer who has a variety of minions from generic thugs to mystics to mummy wraiths. If the villain's plan succeeds, it provides (intentionally or not) a shot out to the X-Men villain the Living Monolith. The adventure has lots of sidebars and "What Ifs" to help you out in case the whole thing is going too smoothly or two simply.

Two pages of figure flat stand-ups are included, for those who like such things (and I do), as well as a new power: Summon (more commonly used by villains than heroes, but laid out here just the same).

WHAT WORKS: Some VERY nice art here, my favorite piece being an action scene on page 6. A good amount of flexibility is written into the adventure, to help the GM along. The adventure is set in the USHERverse, the "modern day" of Vigilance's WWII setting, but you could easily replace USHER with SHIELD or AEGIS or whoever, if you wanted to move it into a new setting.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: And here we start getting into the problems of open content: Redundancy. Misfit Studios' DOOM filled in the same gap of a missing "Summon" type power, so now we have two third party versions of the power out there...and what happens when Adamant decides to do it themselves? My only other gripe is that I wish Vigilance had handled the new power the way Adamant handles new powers, by providing a "substitution suggestion" for the Summon power, for folks who prefer rolling up characters versus point buy (I hate ICONS point buy).

CONCLUSION: Not surprisingly, this is another great product by Vigilance, with sleek production values, lots of stat blocks you can use for your own stuff, printable stand-ups and more. I believe Vigilance will continue to be a growing force in supers gaming in the future.


WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: The Moreau-1 Files is seemingly unconnected to the USHER setting, the Wargame setting or the world being laid out in the Field Guide to Superheroes, but also seems like it would be very simple to insert in a number of settings. This $1 supplement is basically two full character write-ups: The android Moreau-1, and his creation Erapato. Moreau-1, as his name implies, is all about genetic engineering, tinkering with people and animals. It is laid out in the form of stolen intelligence, setting up the menace of Moreau-1. Erapato is an interesting creation, a type of elephant man designed to be the leader of Moreau-1's new race, though he's not so much a fan of his creator's tactics. Three plot seeds are also provided for using the material within.

WHAT WORKS: Moreau-1 and Erapato both have interesting character hooks, with Moreau-1 serving both as a supervillain arms dealer and a mad scientist, and Erapato perhaps attempting betrayal of Moreau-1 could make for some fun gameplay. As noted, the characters could fit well into a variety of supers settings with little work.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: Not much, especially for the price.

CONClUSION: Personally, I see a fair amount of potential use just out of this release (the first of three). There seemed to be a weird shift in fonts on the adventure seeds, but nothing to get too excited about. Thumbs up.


WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: A while back I reviewed WARGAMES: HEROES AND VILLAINS OF THE COLD WAR, which introduced General Venom (who is really kinda cool)...this supplement is The Copperhead Guard, General Venom's elite force of female assassins. Incidentally, the sole character image works, because the women all wear uniforms and tend towards similar hair styles (reddish, what with the copperhead image and all).

WHAT WORKS: Well trained mook stats are always nice. And really, anything without an individual name shouldn't be much more than that.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: Qualities and Challenges got swapped, unfortunately. This really just feels like an add-on to General Venom, as they are his bodyguards with nary a real personality to be found.

CONcLUSION: Not bad, but nothing particularly interesting, especially compared to, say, Moreau-1 Files, which is the same price but feels "heftier". It is worth noting that the Copperhead Guard aren't complete pushovers, especially when you factor in their Specialties.