Monday, September 9, 2013

Tommy's Take on API Worldwide: South America

Apocalypse Prevention Inc. has had a release pattern since the core rules came out, alternating between Demon Codices and Regional Sourcebooks. We have previously taken a look at Canada and Europe…now we travel to South America!

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: The print book is $20 in black and white and the PDF is $10, with the book coming in around 96 pages. As with previous API Worldwide books, this is designed to cover a region of the world…in this case, South America.

The chapter South America Briefly details some of the challenges the API faces when operating in South America, such as the lack of cell reception, the vast stretches of uncivilized territory and the constant run-ins with organized crime (namely the drug trade, though API tends to avoid them unless the drugs are supernatural in nature). A number of sidebars are included, such as one that details a number of herbs found in The Amazon, complete with their mechanical effects on those using them.

History Lessons covers the past and the present of the API in South America. For instance, the South America division takes in less savory agents due to the limited talent pool, and a lot of problems just never get addressed due to the lack of resources. The leader of the South America API branch is a small woman who can “influence” those she speaks to, which helps her more than a bit.

Chaos vs Chaos details some of the threats the API must deal with, beginning with The Council Most High, an organization of demons who are in a bit of a cold war with API. Another threat is a rogue agent and her organization, the Interdimensional Publicity Agency (IPA), which is trying to expose the supernatural world in direct opposition to API. The Children of God are a group of vampires who are breeding their own psychotic army to take out API and rule the world. The Manchakuy are descendants of the Incans who are hunting the Spanish in South America in revenge for encroachments by the Spanish Conquistadors. The Shadow Trade is dealing out weapons and information to anyone with the money, being both a resource and detriment to API. There’s even a group of human hunters called Skinners that have become aware of the supernatural and hunting demons in the street.

Secrets of the Amazon provides mechanical crunch, such as the effects of heavy rain and mudslides, as well as hyperthermia. The Path of the Mark is introduced, providing animal-based tattoo magic, like Mark of the Monkey which can grant the user a monkey-like screech or Mark of the Serpent which can provide a python-like grip. The Path of Wealth covers both aesthetic bits like looking wealthy, as well as a creepy power called Dirty Money that borders on reality warping as it can force people to remember committing crimes that they did not! New weapons (like automatic shotguns and grenade launchers) are included, as are new toys and cybernetics. New antagonists range from anacondas and jaguars to the frightening Cherufe – a demon made of molten rock.

Four new demons are provided: Gyks (Geeks) are tech-demons. Mohans look kinda like monkeys, but they can transform into serpents and jaguars as well. Thirsts are parasitic starfish that latch onto dead human bodies and reanimate them. Tox are a blind species with venomous skin.

Two adventures are included, the first being a clash with the IPA and a scary demon that controls shadows, while the second ends in a horrifying decision that can alter the world.

WHAT WORKS: This API Worldwide book does a great job conveying the different “feel” that it has over a US-based game, doing an even better job of illustrating that then Europe or Canada did, and feeling more “complete” than the Europe book. The lack of metaplot means that you don’t have to worry about your group’s decision at the end of the second adventure being overruled by anyone.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: None of the four new demon species really jumped out at me the way previous Worldwide demon entries did.

CONCLUSION: If you’re not setting a game in South America, even as a temporary detour, I’m not sure there’s going to be enough here to make you NEED this book. That said, if you want a completely different, almost desperate, feel to your API campaign, South America is just what you’re wanting: The API South America branch is outgunned, overpowered and trying to figure out how to make it all balance. Strong recommendation if you like API and want a change of scenery. If you’re just wanting something to boost your existing game, this probably won’t do the job for you.