Sunday, December 4, 2011

Tommy's Take on Grim & Gritty, Bloodsucker: The Play and Chav: The Play (Kinda)

Hi, remember me?

Been awfully busy with the webcomic, which just started it's second arc a few weeks ago, as well as convention appearances. Working on getting back into the swing of the reviewer thing. So with that in mind, I have a short review I wanted to touch on, and a "kinda" review about two other products by the same author.


WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: A while back, I reviewed Tough Justice - and rather loved it. Grim and Gritty is a combat supplement for Tough Justice by Tough Justice writer Ian Warner. You can download it for $1.99 from RPGNow, or buy it in print from for $9.29. Essentially, it is 40 pages of combat rules for Tough Justice (which didn't delve heavily into combat). Combat isn't wildly different from most games, although there are unique bits like a pre-fight roll determining either how soon it will be before the defender can attempt to escape, or how quickly reinforcements come, and the end result of combat (death or capture) is entirely up to the victor. The supplement takes the Tough Justice legal setting very seriously, with attackers can gain Felony Dice, but Defenders do not, due to their right to defend themselves.

WHAT WORKS: The rules for dueling seem like they would be the most thematically appropriate for the Tough Justice setting, and this includes pistol or sword duels, fist fights or hag fights (with appropriate rules for differentiating them from regular combats). The book also does an admirable job of trying to cover all relevant combat bases, including a weapons chapter, gang-up rules and mass combat.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: The proofreading could have been better, especially in regards to punctuation. The book encourages exceptions in combats whenever characters made from different Historical Farce games are used together, which can prove annoying at times.

CONCLUSION: I really enjoy Ian Warner's off-beat work in particular, and Postmortem's work in general. As the author says, even in this book, Tough Justice is completely playable by itself, these are just additional rules, in case the combat doesn't work for you. Is there anything indispensible in here? No, although I do really like the addition of the dueling rules. Otherwise, if you have played Tough Justice a time or two, you have a pretty good idea as to whether or not the combat is robust enough for you.

The other two products I wanted to mention are part of Ian Warner's new Kittiwake Classics line, and are based on the Shadow World RPGs Bloodsucker: The Angst and Chav: The Knifing. They are Bloodsucker the Play and Chav the Play. Yes, they are scripts. Try as I might, I could not get into the right mindset to actually review scripts (just something I have trouble working out in my head), but I am terribly impressed with how complete they are (with stage directions, character bios and so on), and I certainly applaud Mr. Warner for taking a novel approach with these game tie-ins. In fact, a more ambitious person than myself would attempt to organize a production of one of these shows at a convention if you could get the cast together. Chav and Bloodsucker are each available at Lulu for $9.29 apiece.