Monday, 24 August 2020
Reviewing Umerica & New ed of Babylon RPG
So I reviewed some of these prior from other versions and PDFs earlier and the print copies cames.
Babylon On Which Fame and Jubilation Are Bestowed (BOBWFAB for short)
A very attractive a5ish book 308 pages. The cover and is nice and is explained within. The serif font on the cover has legibility problems but i was pleasantly surprised. I have PDF and map from a previous LuLu version. The older version is a dnd retro clone mentioning non human races and interesting dnd spell lists based on gods. It is a very detailed old-school rule set I quite liked. This version is cut away those complex mechanics and is stripped of dnd tropes like elves. It is less magical or non magical historic rpg quite simple. It is one of the best history RPGs for historic detail. I know the setting well and ran perhaps 15 years over 6 campaigns of running RuneQuest3 as Babylonia. I'veI also more recently ran a more dnd-ish fantasy setting based on the stuff. I have about 40 ish books on the topic. This is probably one of the only games which I learn from as it has far more authentic language use than I could ever do. I hope both versions survive and are available and I kinda want to get the older one from LuLu in print too as it has many charming things in its own right. I do like the victorian illustrations and paintings and the introduction on this is a good thing. If I run any Babylonian RPG again I will keep this on hand with my 4 inches thick folder of photocopies from uni libraries on history. (✫✫✫✫)
So I now have my lovely hardback of the Umerican Road Atlas, Softback of The Umerican Survival Guide and four of the modules. Will get monster book soon....all on Drivethrough.
So this is a post apoc setting for Dungeon Crawl Classics. Not only is it better than Mutant Crawl Classics it is more gonzo. When later Gammaworld brought in the wacky broken reality thing (an anime did it in 70s) instead of the war in earlier versions I was kinda a bit ugh. It seemed more a way to say anything goes and be lazy. This setting the moon has been broken and the reality is broken and the apocalyptic mutant stuff is pretty punkrock. More 2000AD grime than early Gammaworld. I could slap lots of this content in my several post apoc settings. This includes magical stuff also and patron gods but they are briefer and stranger and more interesting than MCC rpg ones. I like weird but I like to pretend its serious and present gritty post apoc parodies of the modern world like Judge Dredd comics would. The humour and pop parodies in these are thick. The art aesthetic also reminds me of 2000AD comics - lots of punky grime and dirty details.
The Umerican Survival Guide is the main setting book. It has lots of rules I want use but still readable and entertaining a read like mutations and even repair tables. It has lots of ruin search tables any genre game would benefit from. It describes some setting features, goes straight into basics of survival. Character classes and new combat tables, scrap built vehicles and more. Some interesting locations to slot into lots of post apoc settings. Very enjoyable rpg book. ✫✫✫✫
The Umerican Road Atlas hardback is nice and a non-gamer friend thought it was pretty. Very matt paper I like very much. Great art and a great expansion to the above book. Pretty good stand alone. Has lots of good spot locations and generates more interesting locations to visit. I'm reminded of childhood family road trips on school holidays where you pass desperate tourist traps and this book is full of those. Dense with art and content a great buy. Themepark strangeness vibe of setting rife here. ✫✫✫✫
Previously I mentioned the modules The Children of the Sun (I rate as ✫✫✫✫) one of the better adventures/settings I've read in years. Covers a mutant Aztec civilisation in Mexico. Slave Drones of The Fantastiplex (✫✫) is basically an alternate start very much like a Paranoia Alpha Complex. As I know Paranoia very well and it influenced all my SF and horror gaming (i could adlib a freeform rpg at any moment of it). So personally this one didn't offer me lots. I did get some ideas and liked the alternate jargon but not as awesome as Children of the sun. Still has an adventure here and ideas even though I feel it well-trod territory for me. Damn Tasty (✫✫✫) is an infiltration mission into a food complex to learn their secrets. It's weird and I will get ideas from it and good art. Burger wars (✫✫✫) is about rival fast-food chains and their minions in a ruined town and have lots of strange locations.
Need the monster book and Killer of Giants next. Mutant Epoch monster book probably good to get too. Got more Darwins world too.
I slip these into my Planet Psychon setting without much change, My Broken Hill setting could fit in lots even though it downplays or ignores magic or broken reality. Even my more straight BRP mad max Murder Highway game will get some snippets from this.