Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Armchair Reviews: Weird Adventures

Damn, what a densely-packed sourcebook. And I couldn't even cite a specific entry that I liked for fear of spoiling player enjoyment by revealing what I liked (twists and surprises galore). Anyway, here's my review as it appeared on RPGNow.com.

Weird Adventures is a sourcebook for a game setting that is a mixture of traditional fantasy elements and a mad infusion of weird pulp fiction (mostly) set in a strangely familiar nation and city.

The sheer density of setting texture and detail alone makes this sourcebook a must-buy, but it's tied together by a weird conglomeration of almost-recognizable elements taken from history, period culture, myth, movies, fiction, comics, and pulp novel arcana that works as a setting. There is some lacuna left for the tastes of the DM -- but those spaces are easily filled by nabbing from both traditional fantasy and 1920s Americana.

It is a bit light on the game mechanics for a sourcebook, but the new monsters have stats that can be extrapolated to any D&D ruleset, and the DM is open to establishing how prevalent and powerful guns and transport might be in his/her campaign. I do recommend allowing yourself to be inspired by both magic and mad science in answering these questions, as the setting seems to excel at keeping players and GMs on their mental toes in anticipating secrets and twists to the adventure hooks. I'd love to give examples, but to do justice I'd have to give an entire entry away!

The art truly evokes both the feeling of the source material and the conceit of being a travel guide of sorts into this strange realm, and -- while I only have the PDF version -- I think that the printed copy will make a handsome, conversation-starting addition to any gaming collection.

Just make sure your friends don't borrow it without you knowing!

I'm think that an appropriate expansion would be various rulesets expansions for the appropriate retro-clone, but that's another post.

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for the review. I'm glad you appreciated the density. While there's been recent trend in the blogosphere to favoring alternative ways of conveying setting besides prose, I also felt peoples main beef with traditional setting books were they they took too long to get to the point. I tried my damnedest to make every single section have at least one hook or intriguing gaming idea.

    You make a valid point about mechanical lightness. In some ways, it was because I wanted to stick to my personal strengths (and it was already a big undertaking!), but also so it could be viewed as a generic setting adaptable to any system or style of play. Maybe I can do more crunch or even a full blown system in the future, particularly if I could rope in rules-tinker collaborator(s), if there's demand for it.

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  2. Mechanical areas you could look into -- well, stuff I'd be looking at house ruling -- are guns, guns vs. armor, vehicles.

    I think it'd be a great place to explore the idea I had before about prestige classes and secret societies, since it's an appropriate time period.

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  3. @tzunder: I assume you were asking for the link on RPGnow? I've updated the link for the image above to point to the RPGNow product page.

    If not, what link were you requesting?

    ReplyDelete

That's my side of things. Let me know what you think, my friend.

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