Monday, February 28, 2011

Tommy's Take on Terror Network

Terror Network is a counter terrorism roleplaying game, and the first RPG released by Bedrock Games (distributed by Avalon Games). I have previously reviewed their Crime Network RPG, which you can read about here.

Terror Network is available in PDF format for $9.99, and you can get it, the Agency Resource Guide and two adventures in a bundle for $21.96. Terror Network is 114 pages, bookmarked annd searchable, with copy and paste enabled.

The table of contents is fully clickable, which should make navigation quite simple.


This is a counterterrorism roleplaying game, and that doesn't just mean fighting Muslims. We get a broad overview here, noting that it is very likely that characters will die, as well as pointing out that you can run a traditional campaign or follow a plot/story arc through multiple characters and even law enforcement organizations.

Acknowledgements are also given to the experts that helped the authors research this game.


The introduction lets us know what we're in for: namely, it is a dice pool system, in which you roll a number of d10s equal to your skill compare the highest result to a target number. If you meet or beat it, you succeed. If you roll a natural 10, that's a total success.

We learn from a sidebar that there is a "High Octane" variant in which the PCs are more durable, if you wanna go the action movie route instead of a grittier route.


First up, you pick one of three backgrounds: Military, Academic or Civilian. This sets the number of points you have to spend in given skill groups. You get three Primary Skill Groups, two of which are user defined, and one of which is specified by your background (Combat, Knowledge and Specialist).

Next, you pick Agency and Rank. It is assumed that everyone belongs to the same agency, and ranks are listed for the FBI, CIA, Homeland Security, Local Law Enforcement and Military.

Purchase skills next, with 12 points for each of your Primary Skill Groups and 9 points for the remainder. Defense skills provide opposition against other skills, and most skills are
"grouped", but there are still a ton of them. For instance, firearms are grouped into Small, Medium and Heavy Arms, with Sniper Rifles getting their own skill. As I noted in Crime Network, it's more skills than I normally like, but since your characters are defined entirely by skills, I have less of a problem with it in this system.

Every skill is given at least a paragraph of explanation, more if needed. You can take Expertise in skills, which grant you an additional die if you are using that skill for the noted purpose. For instance, using the Small Arms example, you can take Small Arms at 3d10 and an expertise for Single Shot. When using a Single Shot pistol, you now roll 4d10.

Contacts are also an important part of the game, and come two varieties: Support and Information. Information Contacts are good pipelines of info, while Support Contacts will actually try to physically assist you. You can have Military, Criminal, Police, Political, Civilian, Academic, Media and Agency Contacts. Each type of Contact is given a write-up on the types of Information and Support they will grant you if you make your Clout roll. Unlike Crime Network, you don't run the risk of having a hit put out on you if you fail, or go back to the well one too many times.

Unfortunately, we don't have Shortcomings in this game like we do in Crime Network...a shame, I rather liked them.


The stat tables are very easy to read, and are divided up in Firearms, Melee Weapons (of which there are really only three, including your bare fists), Explosives (including IEDs), Contaminants (from Anthrax to Ebola to Alpha, Beta and Gamma radiation), armor and vehicles.

Every entry gets an explanation...they don't expect you to just KNOW what ricin is, for instance.

The chapter ends with grid maps for blast radius effects.

A very good chapter that provides a lot of equipment options and knows that a game about counter terrorism probably needs rules for poisons and radiation as much as it does for guns and cars.


We've covered the basic mechanics already, but this chapter provides further clarification and rules, such as damage. After a successful attack, you roll Damage against their Hardiness. Success equals a Wound. Every 10 you roll on the Damage roll equals an additional Wound. Three Wounds equals incapacitation, and dying sets in. If you get a Total Success (natural 10) on your Attack roll, you get an extra Damage die, to increase your chances of rolling that extra 10 and inflicting more Wounds.

Combat, by default, is grid based (and explosives have a chart for applying to the map grid), with the Speed skill being used for initiative. You can make a Move Action and a Skill Action each round, two Move actions, or you can take one Move and drop the skil Action, adding 1 to your Defenses, drop both for +2 to your Defenses, or just drop movement and add 1d10 to your attack roll. So, a decent level of options right there, without getting too complicated.

A handful of further tactical options are provided, including shooting someone from behind, targeting multiple opponents with automatic weapons and making called shots.

The chapter ends with basic vehicle rules, as well as "When Grenades Miss" (you've probably seen charts like this several times). Facing rules are also relevant here, and given a chart to cover that. This can impact their defensive skills from certain attacks.

I can see, in some situations, how lifting the Assassination Rules from Crime Network might also come in handy.


Now we get into the agencies and what they DO. Department of Homeland Security, among other things, are meant to raise and lower the threat level...unfortunately, this is one area where the book is slowly becoming outdated, as DHS recently announced they were doing away with the color coded threat system.

The FBI would probably be my pick for a game, simply because their mandates and purview are just so damned flexible.

The History of Counter Terrorism section goes into the backgrounds of the FBI, CIA, Department of Homeland Security as well as the US Special Ops, with a sidebar on just what kind of legal authority the military have on US soil. It's a nice touch for those who don't feel inclined to bone up on their own. However, the chapter continues on a great roll with the Approaches to Terrorism section for each of the above...breaking down their tactics and their organization.

I admit, I don't follow the operations of any of the above organizations that closely, but it sure READS like these guys did their homework, so I would imagine that this is all more than good enough for your campaign. I certainly found it to be terribly interesting and useful, especially when they delved into things I really didn't know much about, such as the Special Operations tactics and organization.


This could easily have gotten hairy, so - straight from the book: "In Terror Network, terrorism is defined as: the use of violence against symbolic targets and innocent victims to 1) intimidate groups or governments to pursue a desired course of action or 2) disrupt the status quo. This is a simple definition, and it also has limitations, but for the purposes of a counter-terrorism role playing game, it should provide GMs and Players with a helpful framework."

That explanation works well enough for me for RPG purposes, especially with the immediate caveat that terrorists are all different, but tend towards some common traits. A history of terrorism begins in Revolutionary France and carries through to the modern day, where a number of terrorist groups from a range of ideological extremes are provided, with jihadists sharing space with ecoterrorists and white supremacists. This section ends with a handful of fictional terrorists groups as well, for inspiration or just tossing your players for a loop.

A dozen common types of terrorist attacks are covered, including four varieties of WMDs, hijackings and cyber attacks, with a paragraph or so of explanation for each.

The chapter ends with some recent famous attacks, such as 9/11 and 7/7 (the World Trade center attack and London bombing, respectively).

In the dirty bombs section, I did notice a reference to Chapter Six here...which is fairly erroneous since this is Chapter Six.


This is, essentially, "How To Run A Counterterrorism RPG". Five sample operations are provided, with a paragraph or so on how they might would turn out, as well as a section on how to weave subplots into the Agency life (should you and your players decide to go that route) your kid getting busted for smoking pot while you're in the middle of stopping white supremacists from firebombing African American churches.

This chapter also encourages you to use real world organizations while also advising you to take care when using real people...for instance, using Al Qaeda isn't a bad idea, but having the PCs throw down directly with Osama bin Laden may get a bit campy for some groups.

Guidelines are included for making your own terrorist organizations, including helpful tips on (literally) mapping out their command structure.

Really, if I had one complaint about this chapter, I would have liked more sample operations (and made them just a bit less specific), but that's a minor quibble. As I noted in Crime Network, the game warns that it is terribly gritty and lethal, but I just don't see it with the rules as written. That said, the Rules as Written with the High Octane Health Variant and you probably do get pretty close to Jack Baur territory.


I'm going to ditch all pretense of objectivity for a moment, I hope you don't mind: Good God I love Bedrock Games and their approaches to adventures. Essentially, you are given a plot and timeline, and the PCs (assumed to be FBI or Joint Task Force agents) do whatever they can with the information given at the beginning to stop the plot.

Essentially, the agents have six days to save Boston from a terrorist plot that involves a bomb, a kidnapping and an assassination.

Important locations that are likely to turn up over the course of the investigation are detailed, as are the likely results of the PCs showing up there. Like with their Crime Networks adventures, the railroading begins and ends with "Here is what we know and these are your orders." I love that approach and they do it very well.


We get nine terrorist threats across a broad spectrums: Muslim jihadists, white supremacicists and even disgruntled auto workers.

I was thrown a bit here by the inclusion of an FBI Agent and a CIA Agent, looking for the terrorist links, but now I'm pretty sure they were just meant to be sample characters...apparently not.

We get a fully clickable index, which is also a very nice touch.


About a full page of books and articles are provided, followed by a probability success chart and an NPC sheet. Personally, I would like to see the Description bar removed and NPC sheets set up two to a page, but that's me.

A Stock Characters chart immediately follows, with a blank character sheet, a filled out sample character sheet and a High Octane sheet.

We get a few ads in the back of the book, promising the Agency Sourcebook (review coming very soon), Operation Hydra (an adventure that'll probably wind up in the queue sooner, rather than later), Crime Network (which is pretty great itself) and Horror Network (which really intrigues me).


Personally, I thought they did a fine job of taking the source material very seriously. I can't imagine how hard it is taking such an objective approach to things, ensuring that there is no real "Slant" in there. I didn't see any real discussion of torture, other than noting that it is presently illegal. That's fine, and well worth noting...but the thing is, it is probably going to come up at some point. I don't know of they felt like it would glamorize torture or what, but when the whole game is covering one very touchy subject, it feels like a strange omission.

I just did a quick scan of the Agency Sourcebook and came up empty there as well. Just saying, I'm not sure how you play a rules bending Jack Baur without torture...(and if standard interrogation methods are just as successful as torture, then why would you ever NEED torture?).

Personally, I think I might would house rule it so that torture has a "Say Anything" possibility...that is, you break a guy to the point that he will feed false information just to make you stop...maybe a roll made by the GM, so the PCs don't know if the information is legitimate.

Anyway, my quibbles are certainly minor. There is an unfortunate reality that the pieces of the RPG pie are often taken up by the loudest and flashiest publishers...and a lot of great work gets overlooked, unfortunately. From a style standpoint, Terror Network is completely functional, but nothing to get all excited about. It's when you actually pay attention to what's inside that you realize that level of work being done here. I cannot imagine how hard it is putting out a roleplaying game over Counter Terrorism and resisting the urge to G.I. Joe it and adding in a COBRA knock-off or something...the only real flight of fancy being the "High Octane" rules modification...and produce a great, interesting read (that also doesn't try to preach at you, from any direction).

Great, great stuff.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Tommy's Take on Stormrift

Stormrift is the new post-apocalyptic alien invasion RPG by Peter Spahn and Precis Intermedia Games, powered by the GenreDiversion 3 rules. If you don't have the genreDiversion 3 rulebook, no problem...they are helpfully included right here.

Clocking in at 172 pages, it is completely standalone. The PDF is $9.95 while the softcover is $27.95.

The PDF is fully functional: Bookmarks, searchable, the works. Only thing it lacks is a clickable Table of Contents/index, though both are there (just not clickable).

The cover features what I presume to be a resistance fighter and some of the aliens...I'm not a fan of the cover art. The aliens don't look particularly threatening and the human just looks a

Still, I'm not a guy who's picks are made or broken on cover art, though it helps. I do have one more, somewhat serious gripe: I don't know the font(s) they used, but they are fairly distracting, especially on a computer screen. Sometimes differen't isn't better.


The introduction begins with an in-character, inspirational "stand up and fight" speech before we get into What Happened...which is in 2012, around the time of that Mayan prophecy everyone's all excited about, this alien race called The Korr attacked Earth and wipe out much of our technology. They pretty much want to wipe out everyone and harvest earth's natural resources.

The rest of the chapter is a pretty standard intro, defining The Director, what dice you use (2d6), etc.


Everyone is assumed to be a member of the resistance (OLs - Operation Liberty Strike), fighting against The Korr. Characters are defined by Abilities (Fitness, Awareness, Creativity, Reasoning and Influence), Pursuits (kinda like skills), Gimmicks (advantages and disadvantages), Role (their primary function within OLS) and Drive (what actually motivates them).

Abilities are typically ranked from 0 to 5, and you get 12 points too divide among them. Pursuits can go up to +3 and you get 10 points for them. You get at least one gimmick based off of your Role, and you can add more by either adding detrimental gimmicks or reducing points for Pursuits or Abilities (or use detrimental gimmicks to add points).

Health is defined in two primary forms: Fatigue and Injury. Each have a threshold based off of Fitness, though some gimmicks may modify this. Each character can also have Cybernetic or Psionic Overload, if they have cybernetics or mental powers.

There are 14 OLS Roles from Sniper to Brute to Psion to Field Medic to Holy Man. Each one lists Required and Recommended Pursuits as well as Inherent Gimmicks.

The Pursuits cover a pretty broad range of combat and non-combat skills, and Gimmicks range from the mundane (Acute Hearing, Contacts, Poor, Intolerant) to the more interesting (Fearsome, Nanoborgs and Psionically Gifted).

Drivers run the range from Anarchy to Vengeance to Excitement to less common motivations in an alien invasion such as Humor and Style. You get bonus points for acting in accordance with your Drive, and you get penalized for not.

The Roles do a nice job of helping you get into the mindset of the OLS, and are a welcome addition. It is also worth noting that throughout the chapter are a number of in character sidebars about the war. Most of them are interesting and not very long, making for a some nice pieces of the puzzle that is life in the new reality.


The basic mechanic is Ability + Pursuit + 2d6, compared to the difficulty. If you roll over the difficulty, you get OVerkill, which comes into play in certain circumstances. Double sixes are Triumphs, where you add an additional die to the 12 you just rolled. Double ones is a potential Calamity...if you have an applicable Pursuit, you might be fine. Otherwise...thus, in most cases, a character should not spectacularly botch in their niche.

The chapter goes into detail about how to determine difficulty for various types of Tasks, both active and passive.

Most damage is applied after an Abatement which a number of dice equal to the damage dealt are rolled and compared to the applicable armor a character has. Every die that rolls above it is applied to the appropriate type of Health (fatigue or injury). If damage is noted as being "absolute", such as some psionic, it completely bypasses defenses.

As damage piles up, characters do sustain penalties to their actions. Experience can be spent to add an additional die to an action, break ties or boost a character's damage resistance.

Finally, there are Exploits. If a task garners five or more Overkill, a character can utilize an Exploit...such as increasing the speed in which a task is completed, garnering trust from witnesses, or hitting a breakthrough that provides bonuses to other related tasks.


While the basic mechanic were covered in the previous chapter, this IS a game about aliens versus humans warfare. Distances are supplied in Spaces, and are done so to provide a happy medium among those using the Metric system and those using the Imperial system.

Damage and ranges for weapons are supplied here, as well as tactics such as Charging. Some weapons have Gimmicks of their own, like Burst or Rate (x), the latter of which determines the number of times a weapon can be fired in a turn.

Combat Exploits are also given here, and they include the obvious (Vital Hits provide bonus damage, Grapple lets you lock an opponent up and Blinding temporarily blinds the opponent) as well as some cool options (Taunt prevents the opponent from using any Experience for the next turn, Loot lets you snatch an item off of an opponent and Rampage lets you strike your target as well as additional mooks that may be in reach).

Optional hit locations are also provided, with different types of damage modifers applied if a target is struck in the head.

Finally, mass combat rules are provided, which abstract units down into stat blocks like characters...with Health instead determining the number of casualties a unit has taken. Units can also have Gimmicks, such as Hero (in which they are lead by a big damn hero), or Psions (the presence of Psions in the unit lowering the difficult for their rolls a bit).

A sidebar also lists random calamaties for combat, based on the type. For instance, a ranged calamity can result in an innocent bystander being shot, a close combat calamity can force you to drop your weapon and so on.


This pretty much covers basic GMing, a lot of stuff you have probably read before. Nothing wrong with that...however, it DOES get into Stormrift specific material, such as specific plots and subplots like Search and Destroy Missions, Rescue missions and so on.

Though OLS Members is the default campaign, options are provided here as well: Unaffiliated survivors, resistance members outside of North America and even alien slaves rebelling against The Korr.

The author tosses a reassurance in here that, essentially, there is no metaplot and any future books for Stormrift will not officially change the setting.

Advancement is interesting: New gimmicks are assigned by the Director as deemed appropriate. Up to two Pursuits can be used to attempt advancement, but they must have been used in the just finished session. Roll a die for each, consult the may boost a pursuit, gain Experience instead, or gain nothing, depending on the roll. Psions and Cyborgs get a similar roll to develop new abilities.

Permanent injuries, healing and scaling damage are provided here, though it seems a tad out of place, as they all probably should have been a chapter back or so. Still, the scaling rules are a nice way to handle, say, a cyborg staring down a tank.

Guidelines on hashing out extras is also provided, complete with a reference table that includes the scaling rules AND a list of sample extras.


Vehicles are defined by Speed, Handling, Frame and Tech, as well as their Purpose and Scale. They can also gain gimmicks, and Health is replaced with Integrity, which are measured in Mechanical Stress, Structural Damage and Voss corrosion (the nasty stuff that is killing tech on earth).

A random Calamities chart is also provided, as well as pretty much anything you need for vehicle combat, including the effects of damage on a vehicle (such as reducing its top speed) and a handful of Exploits, such as a Precision Hit being used to take out an engine.

A massive list of vehicles is provided, for land, sea and air. Literally, everything from tanks to a segway(!). If a vehicle you want to use isn't in the book somehow, you probably have something darn close to run with.


Here are rules for cyborgs and psionics. Basically, cyborgs came about because people figured out how to take Korr Cybernetics and slap them onto humans. Now, I personally see how that might be a Bad Idea...but it makes for good game options.

Cyborgs have cool toys...but they also have to deal with Cybernetic which their psyches can be pushed to the breaking point that can cause outbursts of rage and even force them to go so far off the deep end that they are no longer PCs.

Not only is a big list of cybernetic gimmicks present, but a random table for determining gimmicks is as well, if you want to go that route. Some cybernetics include Arm Blades, Cyber-Ear, EMP Shielding and even a "built in" Tool Set. About 40 gimmicks in all, by my count.

The Stormrift that the Korr used to invade Earth triggered psychic powers in some humans, but this obviously isn't completely natural and it shows, as psions can fall prey to a similar rage effect as cyborgs. Psions have about 26 gimmicks to choose from, with old standbys like Telekinesis and Telepathy present, as well as new tricks like Mental Revelation (which reduces your difficulty on a Reasoning based task by tapping into the minds of those around you!).

Finally, Voss is explained...the rust effect unleashed by The Korr that is slowly limiting mankind's options for warfare.


We get what amounts to the Scale discussion again, as well as a word on Abilities. In addition to the number given for each ability, most abilities are given a letter code that you can roll on a table and cross reference with if you would like to randomize the abilities instead of every creature of that type having the same Fitness, for instance.

A slew of Gimmicks are provided, like Dead Stare or Kamikaze (which is instant death for the creature that has it). Others include Regeneration and Venomous.

First up is a big list of common animals, such as birds, dogs, snakes, boars, aligators and so on.

Then we get to the goodies: The Korr. The Korr are all fairly creepy looking...each entry has the proper Korr name, as well as the slang term used by the OLS.

Motherships are giant jellyfish that serve as mobile Korr bases.

Juggernauts are these huge crab-looking beasts that serve as living war machines.

Fliers look like flying crustaceans, whereas Little Fliers are overgrown bugs.

Crushers look like giant worms with ram horns.

Crab Walkers resemble big, mutated crabs.

These are the "human" names for them, of course. Dozens more entries are provided, not only filling out the ranks of the Korr, but also creatures that may find their way through the Stormrifts and into earth on their own!


We get a timeline of the important events, starting in December 2012 and advancing up 189 days, with war in progress. Attacks happened all over the world, but the US was hit particularly hard, especially in the major cities.

The Korr's attacks affected the climate on the planet, and nuclear retaliation has had fallout that is affecting everyone as well.

We get into the Korr themselves...described as a capitalist society broken into four castes: Nobles, Medical Sciences, Warriors and Workers. The Korr have conquered whenever and wherever they wanted and assumed that the same would happen on Earth...but have been stunned to discover not only humanity's fighting spirit, but their knack for incredibly lethal weaponry.

The Korr's tactics (and they use the same tactics basically all the of their glowing weaknesses) as well as the breakdown of their invading force is provided, alongside a full history of the Korr.

The Resistance are fighting a guerilla war against the Korr, trying to minimize their losses and make the war too expensive and troublesome for the invaders. At the head, the OLS is lead by a number of US Generals, who have organized the resistance after the President disappeared following the ordering of nuclear strikes three months earlier.

The realities of the world today are also covered: Money is worthless. There are no grocery stores. Lists of locations for scavenging and the likely loot are listed. Since everyone is having to make due with whatever they've got, we also get Jury-Rigging rules.

New equipment is provided, though it is all pretty much Korr materials...some of it being so unique to their physiologies that humans couldn't really use it.

To make matters worse, The Korr brought a doomsday device called the Akorras through the rift and it shattered in Earth's atmosphere...meaning there are shards of a doomsday weapon scattered about. A number of shard-based encounters are provided, like a shard surfacing at a meth lab.

A generalized list of factions are provided, like Humanitarian Workers, News Agencies and even Dogs (who absolutely HATE The Korr), but they don't leave it at that: Specific groups such as news agency FXNN and The Factory (formerly a beer factory, now a refugee camp) are given a paragraph or so of detail.

Other, less savory groups include jihadists, skinheads, pirates and even a mob family...this kinda clues you in on the idea that there is way more to do if you get tired of tangling with bizarre creatures from another dimension.

A full 34 plot ideas, a paragraph long each, are provided...many of them are pretty basic (rescue missing persons, etc), while another leads to the PCs having to deal with a cyborg warlord.

A lengthy sidebar details a huge list of films one can watch for inspiration (as well as what to actually watch for, in most cases), and the chapter ends with a list of random encounter tables broken up by urban and rural settings, as well as scavenging tables.


First Mission is a basic "defend the small town" plot, with a shard of the Akorras doomsday device located in a small town and the PCs' cell present to hopefully fend off the Korr. The town is given a good amount of detail (most everything except a map), and this should serve as a perfectly fine starting point.

The book ends with a Character Sheet, a Vehicle Sheet and a Skirmish Sheet, for recording characters, vehicles and skirmish forces respectively. A one page index tops it all off.


Other than the art not doing it for me, a couple of small organizational issues and the fonts annoying me, I really enjoyed Stormrift. The author did a tremendous job of getting a lot of information into one book, and it never struck me as dull. In fact, I LOVED the in character sidebars throughout the book, because they not only provided valuable insight into the world through the eyes of the people, but they were kept short and sweet.

One idea that hit me pretty early on is using Bold & Brave and doing supers vs aliens...maybe even using the shards from the Akorras as the "why" for the super powers...the only downside is that it would overshadow Psions and Cyborgs quite a bit.

I like how the setting is painted in broad strokes as to what is going on...there isn't a detailed breakdown as to what cities have been destroyed and what haven't...but you can make a reasonable judgement call on just about everything, while having enough material to justify exceptions to the rules.

All in all, a very nice standalone product that is only hampered slightly by a few unfortunate production choices.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Tommy's Take on Zeeks: Psionics in 2088

Last year, I reviewed Interface Zero and I liked it well enough that I named it one of the Top Six books I read last year, and I stand by that. It was an incredibly comprehensive setting book, it just lacked one thing: Psionics.

Now, we get Zeeks, a 48 page supplement covering psionics in 2088. This bad boy is full color and the PDF is layered, fully searchable and generally has all the bells and whistles. The cover is a nice piece of work, with a Zeek tossing some armed thugs around...though if I had to change one thing, I would have made the Zeek a bit more prominent.


The book begins with a piece of short fiction and an intro to psionics and zeeks: How common people hate and fear them, and how governments and corporations tend to love them, since they make nice weapons.


This is written in first person perspective through the eyes of a zeek about their experiences in the world. For instance, the North American Coalition kinda doesn't trust zeeks exactly. The Middle East is fairly hands off, since they have enough problems without starting a war with Zeeks.

Zeeks also believe in a place called Shangri La, which is kinda like Avalon for mutants (X-Men reference)...a safe haven for zeeks. They just can't agree on where or what it is (like most groups of people). This section also mentions stuff that zeeks REALLY don't like, such as psiders: Giant, thought-eating spiders.

Zeeks generally come in three varieties: Peeks, tweeks and freeks. Peeks focus on ESP and stuff. Tweeks get into the telekinesis. Freeks can't be categorized as easily. These aren't hard character classes, merely descriptive guidelines...and they don't take wild talents and latent talents into account. Wild talents tend to have a power or so that they can use...latent talents tend to have a ton of potential bubbling under the surface.

The chapter ends with an in-character discussion of groups, from the psi-divisions that hunt (and recruit) zeeks, the cults that often worship Zeeks whether they like it or not, and the hate groups that kill, oppress or otherwise do bad things to zeeks.

It's not a bad set-up, but hopefully it is just a teaser and we get a little more concrete info a bit later on in the book.


Ah, game mechanics.

First off, Interface Zero ditches Power Points in favor of a fatigue system, a move I wholly approve of. Failed rolls can now inflict Fatigue, so they provide an optional rule for adding another level of Fatigue, to make Zeeks a little more durable in that regard. Zeeks have to have the Arcane Background (Psionics) Edge, as well as an additional Minor Hindrance.

Five new Hindrances are presented: Debt, Shakes, Stress Trigger (which can cause psychic powers to go off at the wrong time), Weak Zeek (weaker starting power) and Latent Talent (which requires two advances to buy off and lets the GM select your powers).

The New Edges section not only provides eight new Edges, but points out the ones that do not fit Interface Zero, and overhauls the other Powers Edges to fit the system. Freek, Peek and Tweek give you bonuses when using related powers, while Wild Talent gives you a single minor power. Psychic Leech is particularly nasty, causing other people within range to suffer the fatigue when the Zeek uses their powers.

As you may recall, Interface Zero also introduced Occupations...and Zeeks expands that a bit. It also introduces the concept of Occupations requiring a certain skill set, and those that do also having a bonus perk. I'm not opposed to the idea...I think it's kinda cool, personally...but I would like to see the Occupations from the main book revisited, then, with suggested requisites and perks. After all, if Waiter is important enough for suggested Requisites and Perks, then Bounty Hunter surely is.

While you are not limited in the types of powers you can take, the powers are all divided into three categories (Peeks, Tweeks and Freeks), with the caveat that any power from any other SW book can be used at the GM's discretion. Using powers under the new system is simple: Roll vs Target Number 4 as normal, if you fail, you take fatigue. If you succeed but roll equal to or less than a certain number, then the power works and you STILL take fatigue. This is calculated by cross referencing your Power vs the Power Point cost of the ability you are using. If you have a Power of 4, for instance, you can safely sling powers of a cost up to 5 without worrying about gaining fatigue on successful rolls.

Powers can be maintained for free for a number of rounds equal to the Power's duration multiplied by the character's power. If they try to hold on past that, the possibility of adding fatigue kicks in. I really dig this system, especially with the handy chart there for cross referencing.

An optional rule for failures and critical failures is also presented, to use in place of Brainburn from the core rules if you like, which can leave a psychic Shaken or even Wounded in bad situations.

Eight new powers are also provided, from old psychic standbys such as Astral Projection to Illusions and even Night Terrors to torment sleeping adversaries with. They do a nice job filling in the missing blanks from common psychic powers.


I loved the equipment section in the IZ book because of the catalog format, which continues here. We get cool stuff like Memory Clothes (programmed to remember your favorite outfits!), to external Deep interfaces for those without the implants. We also get psychic dampeners, as well as drugs that provided an extra boost for psychic powers.

A nice little update.


A Friend In Need is a Savage Tale that is pretty flexible for most groups, in which an old friend (a bounty hunter) shows up on the doorstep of the PCs in dire need of assistance, and being hunted by a corporation that happens to have a deep interest in Zeeks.

Deal With The Devil is written as a follow up to A Friend In Need, in which the PCs get approached by the very people they crossed swords with in the previous Savage Tale, in which a potential common enemy emerges.

Both are good tales, certainly flexible enough to fit most fact, the second tale offers an alternate "hook", in case you don't choose to run the first one.

Half a dozen plot hooks are also provided, each given a small intro, followed by The Offer (how the job can be presented to the crew) and the Complication. You can use these as a springboard to flest out into adventures, or just fly by the seat of your pants. Zeek terrorists, psiders and psychic vampires...oh my.


And here we get some stat blocks. Two sample NPCs are provided, one being a Psi-Hunter and the other a corporate director. From there, we get into generic stat blocks, most of which are variations on zeeks, but also including the creepy psiders.

Lastly, included is a fully clickable index.


Honestly, I would have liked to have seen at least a sample cult or hate group fleshed out, from a neutral perspective rather than an in-character perspective. Truthfully, that's probably my biggest gripe. From a purely material standpoint, I wasn't just creatively inspired like I am with some books (including the original IZ book, lots of the Suzerain stuff, or pretty much anything by Third Eye Games)...but from a mechanical standpoint, this book delivers the goods. The powers system looks pretty great, in that it ditches power points (which I don't care for), but maintains compatibility with how every power thus far has been written up. The new Hindrances and Edges are great stuff, as are the new powers.

I prefer words to art in my RPG books, especially full page art pieces in 48 page books, no matter how nice they look, so I would call that a minor strike (speaking from personal preference, obviously)...but there is a of great stuff here, don't get me wrong. It just doesn't completely blow me away like the main Interface Zero book did.

Highly recommended if you enjoyed Interface Zero, or if you just want another take on the Savage Worlds powers system.

RPGNow/DriveThru Relief Bundle for Christchurch, New Zealand

As they have done in the past, most famously with the Haiti bundle, RPGnow/DriveThruRPG are offering a new disaster relief bundle, this time for New Zealand, with proceeds going to The Red Cross.

A $20 donation scores you over $300 worth of RPG products, including Armageddon (by Eden Studios), Gnomemurdered (by Precis Intermedia Games), Supernatural (by Margaret Weis Productions) and much more...I note those three specifically because I currently own them, and there is some interesting stuff in there I've been meaning to get, like Tales from the Floating Vagabond, Ingenium and ICONS: The Mastermind Affair.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Wanna Help A Guy Out?

DriveThruRPG/RPGNow is running a little contest for their affiliates, of which I am one.

Whoever sells the most POD products through their affiliate link from now through the end of the month scores a new Toshiba netbook.

Now, I honestly don't figure I stand a snowball's chance in Hell of winning, but there you go.

If you wanna help me out, all you have to do is go through here and place an order. I have personally ordered Pendragon 5.1 and Wu Xing from them and was very impressed, both with pricing and print quality...(and I have sung the praises of Wu Xing on this blog for months). I've downloaded, but not read, Stars Without Number, but it has generated a LOT of positive buzz...

It's less than a week, so not a lot of time...and I'm NOT gonna beat you guys over the head with this...but it would be pretty awesome to win...;)

Tommy's Take on API Demon Codex: Spectrals

Demon Codex: Spectrals is the new sourcebook for the Apocalypse Prevention Inc. RPG by Third Eye Games, a game I reviewed last year and was quite impressed with. For the most part, Third Eye Games has a pattern they take with API, which is Location Sourcebook, Racial Sourcebook, Location Sourcebook, Racial Sourcebook, etc...last book was API Europe and the one racial sourcebook so far as been Demon Codex: Lochs.

Spectrals, currently available in PDF format for $9.99, is a 90 page PDF that is bookmarked and searchable. From a layout perspective, if the 3EG products have a weakness, it is the table of contents, in that it is just the chapter headings and page numbers with no "detail" within the TOC, and that holds true here.

Spectrals are, for the most part, ghosts of humans that can't move on...this book promises to expand those boundaries a bit.


The prologue is a short fiction piece based around a young woman in the 60s who comes to terms (mostly) with her existence and takes her place inside API. It's a good piece that gets into the head of a Spectral, as well as sheds a little light on on API and their handling of Spectrals.


Cute title.

First off, we get a helpful reminder that the very CEO of API is a Spectral, thus pointing out how important they are to the mythology of the setting. From there, we get an explanation about what happens at the moment of death...the Bright Lights that beckon the fallen to the beyond, with speculation on the hows and whys that some people don't see them, or why they don't move on.

We get a helpful sidebar on how animals perceive Spectrals (yes, it is possible that your dog will spot one while you remain unaware), and the living's unflattering perceptions of the dead. Spectrals are slaves to their passions, which can make them appear, to the living, as very single-minded and one dimensional.

We also get a handy, and sad, sidebar about summonings and what a spectral feels when they are summoned...and why it is best to ensure that you have protections in place when you summon one to you.

There is an oddly placed fiction interlude that is nicely written, with one Spectral witnessing another passing into the Bright Lights, it just felt oddly placed given the layout, taking up a full page and interrupting the flow of paragraph.

We learn about Spectrals and their senses (sight and hearing are all they REALLY have with the same clarity), and get a deeper discussion about Bright Lights and the common threads in all known cases of Spectrals that did not see them. Essentially, the Spectral community is made up of three types: Those that never had the chance to move on (because they didn't see the lights), those that had their Bright Lights stolen from them, and those that felt compelled to stay behind for their own reasons.

Important Places are covered next, but in a nutshell, ghosts tend to congregate at places where there are lots of living people. They just can't congregate for long, because Spirit Eaters are drawn to ghosts, and the more in one place, the more likely they are to swarm on them. In a nice twist, ghosts are almost never found in graveyards.

Sidebars include near death experiences and "Loops" know the drill, where living people get caught in a ghost's presence, reenacting some important event (usually the ghost's death, which is often a suicide...there was a Buffy episode about this).

A list of the things spectrals tend to fear (and why) is present, like the Spirit Eaters (ghosts that evolved into demonic versions of themselves), exorcists, necromancers and an artifact called the Soul Key, which can forcibly remove the spirit from a body.

The next section goes into children...both as ghosts, as well as dealing with ghosts. Like animals, kids often have a sense for the spirits, though they learn to tune this out.

The chapter ends with two alternate fates for Spectrals (beyond moving on into the Bright Lights, that is): Becoming Ancient - in which they come to embody a certain aspect of their passions completely - or Fading Away...which is as it sounds.

A GREAT first chapter just full of information on how Spectrals "work" in the API mythology.


This is where we get into Spectrals and their involvement with API.

The chapter starts with a fiction piece in which API basically forces a Spectral into working for them, which isn't very nice at all.

We get an extensive look into the existence and mindset of the API CEO, Annabelle Iisley, including her death, return as a Spectral, and driving passion (to find her missing children).

A sidebar called "Ghosts vs Spectrals" breaks down how Spectrals is a company term, as well as how much nicer Spectrals are treated by API now, rather than how they used to be.

Next is the "life" of a Spectral Agent, which typically falls into two categories: API employees that want to continue serving the company, and Spectrals that are basically forced into working for API. Awesomely, we find out that Spectrals are not all super agents...but are often assigned positions throughout the company, including mail room and maintenance.

A discussion is given on Evolution, where a Spectral starts to become a spiritual embodiement of a belief or an element.

The main text of the chapter ends with The Igors, the section of API devoted to harming the Spectrals that don't get recruited and can't be left alone.

The head of the department has a sidebar about his perception of Spectrals and how they interact with other API-employed demons...notably having an odd kinship with Wolf People.

A two page optional rule is given here as well, for Demon Spectrals...various demons that are unable to move on, such as a Burner Spectral or even a Taylari Spectral. Some good info here for GMs looking to expand their options.


Here we get into some Spectral related organizations.

The Caballistas are necromantic drug runners who have a unique trick: They possess the dead! They are made up of a disturbing combination of criminals, voodoo priests and Catholic priests.

The King James Court is a European Spectral court ruled by the illegitimate son of Charles II, and they refuse to relinquish power over the spectral dead in Europe, often ripping Spectrals away from the Bright Lights to prevent them from moving on.

The Council of Paracelus seems to reveal that the Archangels (Michael, Gabriel, Raphiel and Uriel) are in fact Spectrals who are incredibly old (and, of course, long since evolved).

The Upward Spiral is rightfully described as "The Pyramid Scheme From Hell"...basically, Spectrals that look for people who are largely cut off from the world, murder them and let the Spectral that has waited the longest steal their Bright Lights, usually recruiting the newly murdered to their fold. They also have a unique shift in focus provided, which you can use as-is, or you could switch them to once your PCs run afoul of them.

Kellwood Forest is an awesome, creepy, haunted forest...that moves.

Last is a ghost hunter who likes to record paranormal activity, star of his own TV show...who has a very cool twist to his identity.


Now we get into the gameplay part of it, such as focusing on your Passion, which API will help Spectral agents a point. After all, a fulfilled Spectral isn't useful to them. The book also talks about likely roles (like spies...and smartass).

Four new Gifts are present, one of which is actually only for living agents who use a Dream Machine (that lets them become Spectrals). The others allow Spectrals to have cybernetic "husks", have a "personal medium" they can possess, or have emotion-fueld ectoplasm (such as a Spectral phasing through a person and filling them with ecstasy).

Two new Drawbacks are given: Tethered binds them to a place or thing, and Driven by Passion means they are CONSUMED with following their passion, no matter what.

New equipment is provided, much of it for API agents to use against Spectrals, such as Ectoplasmic Disrupters and Shriekers. spirit Gloves allow agents to physically touch Spectrals, and the Dream Machine lets an API agent leave their body and become a Spectral...for a time.

The Path of Radiance is used by the demonic Radiants, and has nasty tricks like Beckon Spirit, which can "fake" the Bright Lights in order to draw Spectrals in.

A number of new Evolutions are present, from the cool Circuit Jockeys (who can possess a cybernetic chassis) to the frightening Mnemosyne, who harvest the memories of the dead. Sadly, I will probably wind up as a Web Haunter, my consciousness out on the internet, blogging for eternity.

We get some game stats for adversaries as well, namely Exorcists, Necromancers and Spirit Eaters.

Walkers are the first of the three new demon races, and they are Spectrals that refused to pass on and refused to leave their bodies...essentially, they are intelligent zombies. While they are not necessarily inherently evil...they MUST eat living flesh in order to sustain themselves...making it hard to be TOO good. There is a hint to a darker purposes behind the very existence of the Walkers that is intriguing.

Radiants have a "mostly human" form and a natural form that is more than a little spider-like. They also eat ghosts, meaning that they are not popular with Spectrals...and are sometimes recruited by API.

Death Wishers are parasites that latch onto victims and turn them into murderous madmen...while draining their souls to the point that they never even SEE the Bright Lights, much less become Spectrals at all.


Obviously, this adventure has a Spectral flavor to it, in which the Agents are sent to find the body of an API Agent who was in a high speed car crash, but fell off the radar altogether immediately after that. It is designed to be playable by any group of agents, and is an investigative adventure.

Without spoiling too much, the adventure relies on the PCs being at least a bit curious. If they don't try to investigate the "how/why", they can miss out on, well, the adventure...and they are under no explicit orders to do so. That said, if they are playing Agents worth their salt, they should be able to pick up on something being very "not right" when they find the agent.

The book concludes with a good index and a series of ads, including one for Third Eye Games' next RPG, Part Time Gods.


I dig it.

I really like Spectrals as it is, and I thought this was a stronger book than the Lochs book (which was great in and of itself). Most of the entries in Chapter Three could be turned into adventures at least, and full blown campaigns at most. Chapter One was just FULL of useful information on Spectrals and how they "work" in the API mythos.

One thing this book did, which all of the API books do, is present you with two different APIs...and this was present in the Anthology as well: You have the API that risks everything, standing at the edge to keep people safe from every last beast, demon, monster, what have you that would hunt them...and the API that isn't afraid to force Spectrals to work for them, with threats of slavery or worse. Neither version of API is every really given the lions share of "screen time" to me, and I think that openness is intentional: Much like all of the other plot seeds present in this (and the other) books, they are left open for your interpretation, to make them fit your game.

That's another thing...this book was a return to form from API Worldwide: Canada, as being JAMMED full of plot seeds. I could run half a dozen campaigns out of this book alone, without touching the included adventure.

My biggest complaint is that Brennan Bishop promised to top himself in the "creep Tommy out" category, and I gotta say, I just didn't feel it. The editing was much tighter than it had been on some past 3EG books, with the only real problem I found being a missing page reference on the art credits for Matthew Howerter.

A must-have purchase for API fans, no question.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Tommy's Take on Tools of Ignorance

It's a baseball RPG.

Hey, don't laugh. I reviewed a wrestling RPG a little while ago, and it was tremendous, so let's keep an open mind here.

Tools of Ignorance (referring to the catcher's gear, which is prominently displayed on the cover), is a 52 page PDF, selling for $5. The game's author has noted that he intends to make a print release available as well. It is worth noting that this release is by Flying Mice Games, and clash bowley has a very distinct layout style that he and I love, and some folks just hate. Basically, it is one column of text down the right hand side, with topical headers on the left hand side. Frankly, I'm excited to see it's still there.


As it says. One thing right off the bat I wasn't 100% clear about, is whether or not players are meant to be on the same team, which was due to some typos in the draft I had received, but those have been fixed. Everyone is ostensibly on the same time, although the game is certainly usable with everyone running their own teams.


Before you get to making your characters, you define the team's characteristics, which determines your budget for players. You have three markets, and the team's type is graded in five steps, from Hapless to Top Notch. If you like, you can roll these or pick them, starting off with a completely struggling team straight out of the movies hoping for that desperation season that keeps them around another year before they get sold off.

Players are similarly defined: Seven steps from Rookie to Ancient, and three steps from Standard to Superstar (the only combination that is impossible is a Rookie Superstar).

A chart is given for the Star Ratings and the amount of Notice that each player has to maintain in order to hold onto their Star Rating...if they fall below Standard, they get cut at the end of the season.

There are a number of ways, in-game (baseball game, not RPG game) to score notice, with a helpful chart...a Home Run vs your rivals? 5 notice. Pitch a No Hitter in the Playoffs? 50 points. You can get negative Notice, if your player is acting like a jackhole, becoming more trouble than you're worth.

The Manager must also be created, presumably collectively...they are defined as a Boy Genius, Veteran or a Crusty Coot (which decides their attributes), and can be a Tactician, People Person, Drill Sergeant, Mastermind or Accountant, which define the Edges they have access to.


Kind of an odd placement for this, but these are simplified rules for deciding games you don't want to role-play, providing target numbers for competing teams as well as guidelines for seeing which players have highlights that might affect their Notice.


Pretty get 8 Background Templates and 7 Professional Templates and you combine one from each list, adding everything together. Next, roll to determine handedness, throwing, applying Edges and then Traits, the latter of which are completely player defined. Edges give you +1 to your Target Number for every applicable rank, while Traits give you an extra die for every applicable rank. You get a budget for Traits, but Edges are defined by your player's age and position on the field.


Now, we start getting into the mechanics. You can hit for Power or hit for Average. In each case, you roll your dice pool versus a target number of the appropriate attribute (Coordination for Average and Strength for Power). You subtract your success from the Pitcher's successes and check the table in this section to see if you hit a Home Run, score a base, get walked or if you're out.

Pitching is real similar: You have Power Pitchers and Crafty Pitchers, which use Strength and Coordination respectively. Pitchers also have Endurance to see how long they can go without crapping out.

You get two challenges per game, and they are moments where you try to buck the standard results of hitting and pitching, like a runner trying to steal a base. This is the same basic mechanic: Roll the two appropriate skills and compare results. In addition to Challenges, you get Maneuvers that can be applied, such as pitching around a batter (great for those times when you have a real slugger on the plate) or sacrifice bunting to try to move a runner along the base.

Any time Traits are used, you run the risk of injury, and a simple system is presented that can give you Nagging Injuries (which don't keep you from missing any time) to Bad Injuries, which can bench you anywhere from days to the rest of the season.

On hits, you get handy charts showing the type of hit based off of a d20 roll compared to the styles of pitcher vs batter, and then a second chart showing where the ball went when comparing the handedness of each.

Next, we get two tables and a list of the Standard Results of each hit depending on the type, where the ball went and the number of people on base...this will be the result assuming there are no Challenges. Finally, we get Errors, which are the result of a player rolling no successes on a Challenge (for instance, a pitcher making an Error gives the better two extra dice to hit the awful pitch he handed right to him).


This is a one page discussion on the layout of the teams and games, such as everyone playing multiple characters of their choice, everyone having a vet and a rookie, skipping straight to the Playoffs or playing out a real league.

The author shys away from very little in the game, even offering a page of guidelines on performance enhancing drugs, drug tests and the penalties for failure.


This is what actually first attracted my attention to the game. The GM deals out one card, that someone MUST take. If they take it willingly, they get a taken that they can use for something of their choice, such as an extra Challenge, an Extra Die or an extra point of LUCK. If more than one person agrees to take a card, they also get a token.

The catch? The cards are life events...and about half of them are negative.

2 of Spades causes the media to catch something you did last game, giving you +1 Notice...King of Spades causes rumors to float about your use of performance enhancing drugs, giving you -5  Notice!

10 of Hearts and your S.O. moves in with you at your request, giving you a bonus to one skill for one session. King of Hearts? Your Ex announces she's the press. Making for some penalties. There is an alternate "Family" chart that can be used for family your family moves into a new home, and everything goes wrong.

Clubs can bring about random drug tests and even a result in which your entire team gains +1 die to any one skill.

Diamonds are all about can heal up injuries here, or catch the flu, depending on the card.


Helpfully summarized on one page: Basically, you get a number of d20s equal to your appropriate skill, and you try to roll under the appropriate attribute, with each die that does so being a success.

A massive, alphabetized list of suggested team names are provided, as well as a chart for determining stats for the opposing team at random (when you need to determine it quickly for a challenge).

A full team line-up is given (Portland Tradewinds), plus a character sheet, a score sheet and a team sheet.


I am not a baseball fan. I am not sure how many baseball fans are clamoring to play a baseball RPG. I don't say this to knock clash or the game...I am a wrestling fan/gamer, and I can't get a game of any wrestling RPG going, period.

That said: I love what clash has done with this. The few references I didn't get already, I did a quick search on Bing and got them figured out. The mechanics are simple with a number of options to provide the extra depth, but without grinding you down in minutea. I LOVE the cards anyone that reads my blog should know, I am a huge fan of random tables.

That said, there are flaws. I read the book AND I did a PDF search, and I could not find an explanation for LUCK. Now, this is present in other StarPool games like Blood Games II, but it has some very specific applications over there. The organization was questionable at point as well, namely with the One Roll Games being in front of character generation, and the explanation of the game mechanic almost at the back of the book. To me, at least, they seemed out of place.

I enjoy clash's work as a designer, even if I'm not a huge fan of the source material (I dug Blood Games II, and I like On Her Majesty's Arcane Service even more, despite not being a fan of alternate history, and I hope to check out StarCluster 3 very soon), and that holds true here. With an interested group, I would gladly run a bad luck minor league team campaign using this system, and watching baseball bores me to tears. Easily the best baseball RPG I have ever read, even if it is hampered by some organizational issues...(and no, I don't recall ever reading another baseball RPG, but I did not intend that to be a backhanded compliment, either).

Saturday, February 19, 2011

[My WWE Universe] WrestleMania!

My Universe So Far
Hell in a Cell
Bragging Rights
Survivor Series
Royal Rumble
Elimination Chamber

Caught up?




A prematch assault by Sheamus allowed him to wipe Triple H out!

Miz and Alex Riley attacked Sting and Kaval before the match, but Sting and Kaval fought back, beating them in a Falls Count Anywhere match. After the match, CM Punk and Luke Gallows stormed the ring, with Punk taking Sting down and Gallows attacking Kaval!

John Cena and Shawn Michaels had a tremendous match that ended with the Attitude Adjustment on HBK!

Edge stormed the ring against Batista, hit the Implant DDT and the Spear! Edge is the #1 Contender to Wade Barrett's title at WrestleMania!


Goldust and Kozlov had an EPIC opening match that ended with the Final Cut. Kozlov refused a post match handshake.

Husky Harris attacked Romero before his match with Daniel Bryan! Romero still took Bryan to school in a hard hitting match...when Justin Gabriel ran in! Romero went nuts on him and Bryan, and pinned Bryan with the Kool Aid Krunch!

Shelton Benjamin and Chris Masters beat Mike Knox and Shad when Masters put Knox out with the Masterlock!


Luke Gallows jumped Christian before the bell, and fought off his offense, scoring a big win.

Alberto Del Rio got a warmup against Sting by beating Terry Funk!

Kofi Kingston escaped Dolph Ziggler, Kane and Rey Mysterio to win the Hardcore Title!

Undertaker spiked CM Punk in the main event! After the match, Jack Swagger beat Undertaker down with a lead pipe!



Sheamus jumped Ezekiel Jackson before their Triple Threat with The Greatest American Bolo, weakening him dramatically! The match was mostly Bolo vs Sheamus, but when Bolo hit the American Revolution on Big Zeke, Sheamus tossed him out of the ring and pinned Jackson! Sheamus is the #1 Contender to the US Title!

Triple H and David Otunga squared off...and as Hunter had the upperhand, Husky Harris ran in! Triple H prepared to fight...but Harris wiped out Otunga! Triple H was handed the win! Wade Barrett and Nexus informed Otunga that he was out...and that Barrett was back in charge!

Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater triumphed over Alex Riley and The Miz in a Ladder Match!

Wade Barrett called down a steel take on...the Conquistador? The Conquistador held his until he caught Barrett out of nowhere with a spear! And then a second one! Then he went to the corner and hunkered down, calling for Barrett to stand the crowd chanted Spear! He nailed Barrett and pinned the WWE Champion! He unmasked to reveal EDGE!


Mike Knox jumped former partner Raven before their extreme rules match...but we got a bit of an extreme revolution when RVD ran in and helped Raven take Knox out!

Santino, Daniel Bryan and Vladimir Kozlov wrestled a GREAT match...until WWE Champion Wade Barrett hit the ring to help out his Nexus stablemate, hitting Wastelands on Santino and Kozlov! He probably left too early, as Santino and Kozlov ultimately joined forces and laid out Bryan, with Santino pinning Bryan after the Cobra!

Keeping the "extreme" theme of the night, Kofi Kingston put the Hardcore Title on the line in an Extreme Rules match against Cody Rhodes, Christian and Luke Gallows! Gallows kicked it off quickly, jumping Rhodes from the crowd! Rhodes, however, seemed to blame his partner Christian! As they came to blows, Kofi took advantage and blasted Rhodes with Trouble in Paradise for a quick elimination! As Christian taunted Cody, he turned around into a suplex by Kofi for the pin! Kofi and Gallows went to the floor, and Kofi hit the SOS for the pin! After the match, Kofi offered his hand to Christian...but Christian shockingly slapped it away!


Shad Gaspard jumped The Rock before their match began, but Rock beat him down and put him away with the People's Elbow!

Thanks to a prematch assault from the crowd, Vance Archer was able to take down Chavo Guerrero.

Despite a prematch attack, Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov shocked William Regal and Drew McIntyre by beating them in a non title match via submission!

Christian showed a newfound aggression as he fought Sting in a non-title match...even drawing first blood! Sting fired back up as Kaval hit the ring...and wiped out Sting!! Sting still tried to hang on...but ate the Killswitch as Christian picked up possibly the biggest win of his career!

Week 3


Miz cheated his way to victory over Mark Henry, with Ezekiel Jackson watching from the crowd.

John Morrison and Joe Cothern awaited R-Truth and his mystery partner...and seemed to take it in stride when he came out with David Hart Smith! Morrison demolished his former partner.

#1 Contenders collided as Edge faced Alberto Del Rio in a submission match! Del Rio took out the referee and took a sledgehammer to Edge, but Sting ran down and woke the referee up in time to see Del Rio attacking Edge, getting Del Rio DQed!

Shawn Michaels defeated Triple H in a brutal, career threatening Hell in a Cell match!


RVD pinned Mike Knox in an Extreme Rules match!

Santino and Kozlov pulled it out once more, toppling the Straight Edge Society!

Kofi Kingston, Kane and Drew McIntyre faced off, but William Regal ran in and turned it almost into a tag match. However, once Regal took off, Kofi took advantage and pinned McIntyre!


Luke Gallows ambushed Cody Rhodes during his match with MVP (accompanied by Alberto Del Rio), allowing MVP to pick up the win after a sneak attack!

William Regal shanghaied The Big Show, but still got crushed by the big man!

Santino and Kozlov managed to defeat Alex Riley and The Miz in a Falls Count Anywhere match!

The Rock defeated Vance Archer in a fairly dominant performance.



Batista defended the Million Dollar title with a crushing win over Zack Ryder!

John Morrison stormed the ring and beat down Goldust, pinning him with the Moonlight Drive.

The Straight Edge Society beat The Brothers of Destruction to win the #1 Contender's Spot for the Tag Team Titles!

As Sting prepared to face Wade Barrett in an epic Champion vs Champion match, Justin Gabriel attacked Sting and rammed him into the ringsteps! Sting fought back, but Barrett reduced him to a bloody mess and scored a huge pinfall!


Zack Ryder fended off Joe Cothern's interference to pin Ted DiBiase!

Mike Knox was accompanied by Alberto Del Rio as he took on Rob Van Dam, who had Raven in his corner! After Raven was ejected, Knox took advantage and pinned Van Dam!

Santino and Vladimir Kozlov were jumped by William Regal and CM Punk for some reason, but STILL beat Alex Riley and The Miz!


Sting assisted Cody Rhodes as Cody battled Luke Gallows...fending off CM Punk so Rhodes could pick up the win!

Ricky Steamboat triumphed in a great match with The Great Muta!

Kofi Kingston battled Kane one more time, picking up the win after Trouble in Paradise, though no titles were on the line.

Sting and Edge teamed up for the first time ever to battle Wade Barrett and Alberto Del Rio...and Batista came down to get in Edge's face! Sting and Batista came to blows, and Edge pinned Barrett after the spear!


Santino Marella got his WrestleMania moment by beating Ezekiel Jackson, David Otunga, MVP, Rob Van Dam and Vance Archer in order to become Mr. Money in the Bank!

William Regal and Drew McIntyre outlasted the Straight Edge Society to retain the Unified Tag Team Titles!

Evan Bourne bloodied rival Sheamus in a Last Man Standing Match before crushing him with the Air Bourne to retain the US Title! After the match, Ezekiel Jackson came out to threaten Bourne!

Wade Barrett triumphed over Edge...only to be greeted by Santino and his Money in the Bank briefcase!! Santino cashed in and beat Barrett with the Cobra!!

Jack Swagger came to the ring to break...THE STREAK. The Undertaker's full theatrics began...but he stormed the ring and laid into Swagger! He went for the Tombstone, but Swagger slipped out and unloaded on him until he walked into the Choke Slam! The Last Ride followed, putting Swagger down! The Streak lives!

Alberto Del Rio jumped Sting from the crowd and locked on the Flying Armbar, but Sting was in the ropes! Del Rio had a counter for everything at first, but Sting's years of experience kicked in! He wore Del Rio down and locked him in the Scorpion Death Lock, making Del Rio tap!! As Sting celebrated, the Straight Edge Society hit the ring and dismantled him, leaving the World Champion laying!

1. John Cena (default)
2. Sheamus (Backlash)
3. Triple H (The Bash)
4. Wade Barrett (Royal Rumble)
WWE Champion: Santino Marella (WrestleMania)
1. The Miz (default)
2. R-Truth (Backlash)
3. The Miz (Extreme Rules)
4. Zack Ryder (The Bash)
5. Ted DiBiase (Night of Champions)
6. Sheamus (Summerslam)
US Champion: Evan Bourne (TLC)
1. Ted DiBiase (default)
2. The Greatest American Bolo (Feb. Week 3 Year 1 Raw)
Million Dollar Champion: Batista (Elimination Chamber)


1. Rey Mysterio (default)
2. Jack Swagger (Backlash)
World Champion: Sting (TLC)
1. Dolph Ziggler (default)
2. Luke Gallows (Extreme Rules)
3. Christian (The Bash)
4. Kofi Kingston (Night of Champions)
5. Drew McIntyre (Summerslam)
6. Todo Americano (Hell in a Cell)
7. Dolph Ziggler (Nov. Week 4 Year 1 SD)
Intercontinental Champion: Kane (Elimination Chamber)
1. Raven (Dec. Week 2 Year 1 SD)
2. MVP (TLC)
3. Kane (Jan. Week 2 Year 1 SD)
Hardcore Champion: Kofi Kingston (Mar. Week 1 Year 1 SD)

1. The Hart Dynasty (Default)
2. John Morrison & R-Truth (The Bash)
3. The Hart Dynasty (Summerslam)
4. John Morrison & R-Truth (Hell in a Cell)
5. Straight Edge Society (Bragging Rights)
Unified Tag Team Champions: William Regal & Drew McIntyre (Elimination Chamber)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

DriveThruRPG Sale and Blog Update

Hi peeps...just a few things:

1) Snow absolutely sucks.

2) This month's RPGNow Sale code is FebChatterTwenty11, and is good for a 20% discount on the following:

Weird War II Player's Guide [Pinnacle Entertainment]
Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade [Third Eye Games]
USHER Dossiers (ICONS) [Vigilance Press]

Of course, I have went on at length about Wu Xing and my love for it (my POD copy is sitting at the post office right now, thanks to the snow). USHER Dossiers is pretty great as well. I have no experience with the others, although I just added the Floating Vagabond BarFly Bundle to my wishlist.

3) My next article series will be "Scaling Savage Supers"...rather than taking a group from Novice to Legendary over a series of posts, I will take a character and scale them up, in one post, from Novice to Legendary, and see how certain iconic comic builds look in the Savage Worlds system.

4) The games in my IMMEDIATE review queue are Tools of Ignorance (a baseball game by Flying Mice Games), Demon Codex: Spectrals for Apocalypse Prevention, Inc., Zeeks for Interface Zero and Stormrift by Precis Intermedia Games. Immediately following that are Terror Network and the Agency Handbook, The Chronicles of Ramlar Character and World Guides, The New Gods of Mankind New Gods Handbook, Caladon Falls for Savage Suzerain and Invaderz...February should be pretty packed, review-wise.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

[My WWE Universe] Elimination Chamber




Miz and Alex Riley did a lot of double teaming on The Greatest American Bolo when Miz faced him in a Falls Count Anywhere match...but Romero Contreras ran in and spiked Miz with the Kool Aid Krunch, allowing Bolo to score the pin!

Ted DiBiase agreed to defend the Million Dollar Title against Chris Jericho...and then jumped him from the crowd. When Jericho had Dream Street scouted, DiBiase took the title and smashed Jericho with it.

Justin Gabriel held his own against the power of David Hart Smith, pinning him after the 450 Splash.

As new WWE Champion Wade Barrett faced off with Triple H in a Last Man Standing Match, Husky Harris sat at ringside! They collided once more...and Triple H was on fire...until Shawn Michaels ran in...and wiped Hunter out! Barrett gave Triple H a Conchairto, and then hit the Wasteland on the floor to put Triple H down!


Shelton Benjamin shot down Mike Knox again with the Paydirt.

John Morrison jumped R-Truth before their match and pinned R-Truth after a brutal running knee.

Husky Harris got MUGGED as Romero Contreras, Shinsuke Nakamura and The Greatest American Bolo isolated him and took turns hitting signatures and finishers on him! Bolo pinned him after the Snapshot.


Luke Gallows jumped Cody Rhodes before the match and hit the Gallows Pole to put him away in seconds!

Drew McIntyre violently attacked Kofi Kingston as he came out to face William Regal, but Kofi managed to catch Regal with the SOS to score the win!

Rey Mysterio dominated Vance Archer.

In a match with Elimination Chamber implications, Jack Swagger beat Drew McIntyre inside of a steel cage!



The Miz faced off with Zack Ryder, who had R-Truth at ringside. Miz took the cheap way out by proving R-Truth, getting Ryder DQed!

Wade Barrett seated at ringside must have gotten into Triple H's head as he faced off with John Morrison. Morrison scored one of the biggest wins of his career with the Moonlight Drive!

Husky Harris jumped Romero before their match, but could not put him down. Romero used some trickery as he took the ref down, and went after Husky with a chair, but got caught! Husky walked away with a DQ win!

Shawn Michaels showed off his new cheating ways with John Cena, including taking out the ref and kicking a chair into Cena's face...but it was still the Superkick that did the deed. However, the match got restarted as a submission match, and nothing Michaels could do was he smashed Cena with a ring bell and walked away!


RVD opened the show with an impressive win over Mike Knox.

Husky Harris should have been absolutely screwed in a Triple Threat against Romero Contreras and The Greatest American Bolo...especially when it got turned into a Falls Count Anywhere match. However, Bolo and Romero began to break apart, and things got really bad when Daniel Bryan ran in and inflicted considerable damage on both men, allowing Harris to pin Romero while Bryan and Bolo fought on the floor!

Interference from CM Punk all?owed Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater to beat Sting and Kaval!


Thanks to another pre-match assault by Luke Gallows, he defeated Cody Rhodes.

To the dismay of the fans, William Regal and Drew McIntyre beat Kane and The Undertaker in a ladder match!

Kofi Kingston demolished Shad.

Rey Mysterio, Terry Funk, JTG, Raven, Alberto Del Rio and Matt Hardy faced off in a six way challenge! Raven was the first elimination, at the hands of Rey Mysterio! Matt Hardy pinned Terry Funk next! Del Rio made JTG tap to the Flying Armbar, leaving three! Del Rio caught Hardy and pinned him, then took out Mysterio to win the match!



In a shocking upset, The Greatest American Bolo pinned Ted DiBiase to win the Million Dollar Title while John Morrison and The Miz were brawling on the floor!

Ezekiel Jackson picked up a huge win over Evan Bourne after a brutal pre-match attack!

Daniel Bryan jumped Mark Henry before their match, but Henry fought back! The ref got bumped and Bryan went after Henry with a chair...while Ezekiel Jackson ran in and beat him down as well! Bryan made Henry tap out after all of that!

Edge went Spear crazy in a Triple Threat match, pinning Batista and Sheamus, and putting his tag team partner Wade Barrett firmly in his sights!


Rob Van Dam has taken Shelton Benjamin's place against Mike Knox on Superstars, and got a DQ win after Knox refused to break a choke hold.

Despite a brutal pre-match assault by William Regal, Kofi Kingston rebounded and gave him Trouble in Paradise for the win!

Husky Harris, Vladimir Kozlov, Romero Contreras and Steve Austin squared off! It was a real slobberknocker, with Greatest American Bolo getting involved and attacking Harris, and Romero cleaning house and pinning Harris to pick up the win!


Rey Mysterio and Dolph Ziggler had a great match. When the referee ejected Matt Hardy from ringside, Rey it the Hurricanrana, but Ziggler reversed it into a pin of his own for the win!

Dolph Ziggler came down for commentary as Kane and Drew McIntyre squared off in a #1 Contender's Match! The match was Falls Count Anywhere, and it spilled to the floor, where Kane and Ziggler had words! McIntyre grabbed a chair and was about to take Kane out, when Undertaker mysteriously appeared! This gave Kane his opening to hit the Choke Slam!

Alberto Del Rio took a cheap countout on Finlay!

Sting and Kaval looked great against the Straight Edge Society and The Great Muta, with Kaval scoring a big pin on Gallows after the Warrior's Way!


Sheamus jumped Zack Ryder before a Triple Threat with Ezekiel Jackson, but Jackson prevailed, pinning Sheamus to become the #1 Contender to the US title!

Greatest American Bolo retained the Million Dollar Title in an Extreme Rules Match against Ted DiBiase!

Edge and Wade Barrett jumped Sting and Kaval before their match, and you would have thought Barrett and Sting were blood rivals with the way they DESTROYED each other. Triple H got involved and allowed Sting to finally let Kaval in, but Edge speared Kaval and took him the win.

In a Six Pack Challenge, Batista, The Miz, Shawn Michaels, Randy Orton, Chris Jericho and John Cena faced off! Early on, Cena drew blood on Batista, but it was Jericho that truly struck first, eliminating HBK with the Codebreaker! The Miz stunned Cena with the Skull Crushing Finale for the elimination! Batista pinned The Miz after the Batista Bomb, and Jericho caught Orton with the Codebreaker, leaving two men left! Batista tapped to the Walls of Jericho moments later!


Romero and The Greatest American Bolo took on Raven and Mike Knox! As Bolo and Romero dominated Raven, he backed to the corner...where Mike Knox laid him out! Bolo hit the American Revolution on the stunned Raven!

Alex Riley picked up his most impressive win to date over David Hart Smith.

Kofi Kingston was at an extreme disadvantage in a Triple Threat with William Regal and Drew McIntyre, although Christian was in the audience trying to get under their skin! Predictably, they could not agree on who should get the pin and Kofi took advantage...but the REAL game changer was when Shad came out and attacked Kingston...and wound up going after McIntyre as well! Kofi hit the SOS on Drew for the win!


William Regal was impressively brutal in victory over Christian in a Falls Count Anywhere Match.

Drew McIntyre put up a good fight, but Big Show knocked him clean out.

Rey Mysterio, Chris Masters and The Rock took on Dolph Ziggler, Matt Hardy and The Great Muta! A shocking moment occured when Muta tried to tag Hardy, who walked away, leaving Ziggler and Muta to fend for themselves! Muta at The Rock Bottom for the pin!

Undertaker was ALL OVER Jack Swagger, and even when Swagger started to come back, Chris Masters ran in and took out both men in a shocker! Once they recovered, Swagger knew he was losing it, and took a DQ instead, smashing Undertaker with the ring bell!


In the opener, Drew McIntyre and William Regal had a great match with CM Punk and Luke Gallows, ending with Regal pinning Gallows with his feet on the ropes to win the Tag Team Titles! After the match, CM Punk walked out on Gallows!

Ezekiel Jackson jumped Evan Bourne before their US title match, but Bourne desperately fought back! Bourne rallied and hit the Shooting Star Press to retain his belt! Bourne offered Jackson his hand post-match, but Jackson refused!

Bolo did everything he possibly could, but Batista killed him to win the Million Dollar Title!

Sting fended off Undertaker and Jack Swagger, pinning Swagger to keep his belt!

The Intercontinental title Elimination Chamber kicked off with Kofi Kingston and Rey Mysterio! Dolph Ziggler was in next, and it was on! Alberto Del Rio was in next, and Kofi caught Dolph with the Boom Drop before taking Rey's head off with the Trouble in Paradise to eliminate him! Kane entered next and tore apart everyone! Christian came in last, and it was on! Kofi caught Dolph with SOS and ensured that there must be a new IC Champion! Kane put out Del Rio while Kofi pinned Christian...setting up Kane vs Kofi! Kane brutalized Kofi...and scored the big win!

Shinsuke Nakamura and Edge opened the WWE Title Elimination Chamber! Wade Barrett came in next, and looked bad for Nakamura. Triple H entered, as Winds of Change came to blows! John Cena came in next, while one had yet been eliminated. Shawn Michaels came in last, and the Chamber was chaotic! In a shocking move, Barrett hit the Wasteland on Triple H....but HBK made the save! John Cena and HBK got taken out almost back to back, leaving four! The Ultimate Opportunist was shocked when his own partner hit The Wasteland and scored the pin! Triple H ate the Wasteland, leaving Barrett and Nakamura! Barrett opened Nakamura up and hit Wasteland for the pin!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tommy's Take on the USHER Dossiers

I'm gonna put my cards on the table here.

As far as I'm concerned, and no disrespect intended to anyone else, but Vigilance Press is the best thing to happen to the ICONS game, period. It's not just the volume of support, as impressive as that is, but it is the quality of support, and they are trying to raise the bar all of the time.

A while back we got Public Enemies, which was a sneak peek at the future of their World War II universe. Now, we have The USHER Dossiers, which should truly open it up for us. The PDF is 137 pages, in color, and is fully bookmarked. It is available for $7.95 from RPG, certainly a fair price for the size of the product, and is made with ICONS in mind.


The author notes here that this is advancing the World War II timeline up to the present, and it is apparently being left open for individual games to develop, rather than pushing a continued plot.


We do hit one snafu right off, as there is a placeholder for art that was never filled...and is still sitting there calling for a black and white picture of two heroes, photo style.

We do get a heads up that the timeline is not meant to be a major history lesson, but to focus on metahuman events specifically. We also learn that the metahuman population exploded pretty dramatically from World War II on.


The first such major era is the Era of the God Kings, which ran from about 5,000 BC, up through 200 CE. Metahumans were scattered among human history and were largely tied in with what we consider myths now.

The Era of the Warrior Saints also tracked the decline of Pagan religions and the rise of Christianity and other monotheistic religions, with many of those metahumans being hailed as saints.

The Era of National Heroes began around 1700, and helped lead to the metahuman-powered World War II that Vigilance Press has released so many cool supplements for.

The major Metauman events start with the birth of a man in South Africa in the year 70,000 BC, who has multiple powers, including immortality, known as the Forever Man. He was THE Major superpowered being for thousands of years.

Around 5000 BC to 2300 BC, we get a number of nods to Greek and Norse myth, such as Hercules rising up and helping to kill Zeus, and the decline of the Aesir, culminating in war between Thor and Loki.

During the Roman Empire, the Forever Man resurfaces and plays an integral role in events, though even he is unable to prevent Rome's fall.

As we get into the 1100s, some nods to the World War II era heroes begin to surface, laying the groundwork for later legacies.

The timeline runs through the late 30s, where the rise of the Eugenics Brigade occurs, and the bulk of the World War II material is set. We begin to learn the aftermath of World War II in the USHERverse, as Old Glory and Captain Amazing are given full blown military posts running USHER in its secret base under Liberty Island.

1949 sees the rise of Aegis, a NATO sponsored superhuman group, led by Big Ben (who has been in legal struggles with England since the end of the war). 1954 gives us an army of mutated ants in Brazil, whose true source isn't uncovered until 1956, and 1957 sees some of the living legends of World War II tragically killed putting an end to it.

Captain Amazing (now known as Savant), creates what will ultimately be a thorn in USHER's side when he constructs Medusa, a dangerous artificial intelligence.

2001 sees a major turning point when Scion, a member of a metahuman family originally from Earth, returns from the stars and suckers the planet, taking over as Emperor of Earth...the metahumans rise up against him and ultimately prevail, and it is in the aftermath of this that we take over the Vigilance universe in our games.

One thing I want to make clear: I did not do the history section justice at all. Not even a little bit. There are some great narratives weaved in and out of the history, and a great job is done providing a universe that has "real time" instead of the Marvel and DC "sliding time", as well as a universe that's not necessarily dark and gritty, but does have consequences (like people dying and staying dead, rather than a big Revolving Door of Life and Death).


These are a number of organizations prominent in the universe, and each are given a brief overview of history and purpose, as well as a sidebar detailing any specific requirements for joining, plus suitable Qualities and Challenges for members, and relevant timeline references for each group.

The Doleman Center for Advanced Studies is kinda like Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters...okay, not exactly, but that's what came to mind. It began as a safeguard against mutant oppression, and is a benevolent organization as written. It does currently serve to train mutants how to use their powers responsibly.

I really like The Institute, who are disabled veterans given a new lease on life through cybernetics, in order to wage a covert war against aliens. We get a "standard" operative here as well.

M.A.N is the Mutant Army of Nationalism...I don't know if I see how that exactly makes sense, but crazy extremists generally don't. These guys are the setting's Brotherhood of Evil Mutants/Mutant Liberation Front.

Medusa is the agency that has been built on the back the Medusa super computer created by The Savant. They are not EXACTLY bad guys...but they are not EXACTLY good guys, either. A generic operative stat block is provided here as well.

The Old Guard are a bunch of racist toe rags. Luckily, they tend to fight M.A.N. as much as, or more than, anything else...leading to bad dudes fighting each other. A White Knight of the Old Guard is provided.

The Omega Syndicate are an organization of assassins, all of whom wear the same "face". He can be everywhere, and if he never lasts, because there's someone else to wear the mask. A generic "Omega" is provided.

The Pawn Broker provides supervillains with henchmen (Pawns and Knights), as well as equipment and the like. A sample Pawn is provided, as is a Knight. I can't help but think the pictures here are mixed up, as the Knights are carrying guns (with no skill), and have a much higher Strength than the Pawn, who is built like a typical brick.

TEA is the Time Enforcement Agency, a group of Time Cops. USHER still treats them with suspicion, as they have yet to figure out their true agenda.

USHER is the main metahuman peacekeeping organization, and their write-up includes a sample agent.

Four subdivisions are provided as well: The Atlas Battalion, The Blue Knights, the Nighthawks and the Pegasus Squadron.


Pretty standard trope for comics stuff. This is set up with an in character interview with Chronicle (of TEA).

Dark Future is a the world that spawned The Black Knight, the leader of The Old Guard. In addition to a breakdown of the timeline, we get a list of the notable refugees from Dark Future (and there are a few).

Hell is the name given to the reality that helped "make" Walter Frazier, a psychotic time traveler who first appeared in Public Enemies.

Post-Apocalyptia is a very bleak place with a bright  ray of hope...and some unusual healing properties, apparently.

Reverse World is a complete flip flop. Heroes are villains and vice versa.

The Thousand Year Reich is a reality in which a powerful Thule sorcerer tipped the scales for the Axis powers, winning them World War II, and putting them in control of pretty much everything.


Ironically, the first NPC listed doesn't appear to be a Metahuman. The Benefactor is a United States senator who offers heroes extra goodies and information, but hides his identity.

Black Knight comes from a future where USHER has gone bad...and he's here, having taken over the Old Guard and using them to continue his mutant hating agenda.

Chronicle is an immortal time traveler and the founder of TEA. In theory, he's a good guy...USHER suspects he has an agenda.

Exclusive is a superpowered journalist that no one really likes.

Forever Man has been around...pretty much forever.

Minute Man is a patriotic time manipulator.

Old Glory is a bonafide living legend, and the leader of USHER.

Professor and Moll are kinda creepy. A drug pusher and his superstrong (female) henchman...with a twist.

Savant would be Captain Amazing, aged and ravaged by cancer.

Last is Scion, the now imprisoned former Emperor of Earth.


I've made no bones about being a fan of the Vigilance Universe and the World War II releases. Some great work was done in creating a setting with actual time progression, and the idea of playing in World War II and then zooming ahead to the here and now to see how it all turned out is pretty cool.

As is common with the Vigilance stuff, there are a lot of people, places and things that are clearly inspired by existing comic source material, but nothing that feels overtly ripped off, and that's a good thing. For better or for worse, depending on your point of view, there is still room for expansion as some noted characters, like Crusher (leader of MAN) are never really expanded upon (and there is no mention of him no longer being in power).

The worst part, unfortunately, is the editing. I mentioned what appeared to be a picture swap between Knights and Pawns, and the missing picture at the beginning of the book...but typos abound. Not just inside the text, but in headers as well (such as the Post-Apocalyptia timeline). These issues are common enough and large enough that it drags the overall presentation of the book down, unfortunately. Extra time or an additional editor probably would have made a world of difference.

It is also worth noting that the book lacks both a table of contents and an index. Personally, I don't think that's a huge deal in a bookmarked PDF (though a couple of those are out of place), if this were to be released as a print product, that is basically unforgivable for a book that is larger than 100 pages, in my opinion.

Technical issues aside, it is still a very good product that manages to have its own feel, rather than just a Marvel/DC mash-up or the like. If you have liked the previous Vigilance Press releases, you will probably find a lot to like here.