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Mutants & Masterminds Archetype Archive 2
Publisher: Green Ronin
by Chris J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/06/2006 00:00:00
Another ten character archetypes, all still iconic in their own way, although they're starting to look a little more like versions of specific characters rather than universal archetypes. There are few more iron-agey characters in here, like the "Living Weapon" and the "Cyborg".

Each has the same full-page format as AA1 and the artwork is up to the same high standard.


LIKED: Good clear layout, range of characters, value for money.

DISLIKED: Nothing.

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mutants & Masterminds Archetype Archive 2
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Mutants & Masterminds Archetype Archive 1
Publisher: Green Ronin
by Chris J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/06/2006 00:00:00
Ten character archetypes, distinct from those in the M&M corebook, yet still iconic in their own way. Each has their own full page charsheet & illustration, which leaves me wanting to see the original archetypes produced in the same format instead of two to a page.

The artwork varies from good to excellent.


LIKED: Good clean layout, iconic archetypes usable across a range of campaign styles (from Golden to Iron Age) Good value for money.

DISLIKED: The fact that as someone still wedded to 1st Edition, I'm only going to get limited use out of this!

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mutants & Masterminds Archetype Archive 1
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Flatlands: Modern Tiles and Tokens Megaset 1
Publisher: 12 to Midnight
by Chris J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/06/2006 00:00:00
Nice artwork, a great selection of vehicles and items counters in several different styles. The character counters are all 2D and only show head and shoulders, so there's no kit-bashing potential for people who prefer fold-up figures. But the counters are replicated in multiple styles, and a selection of blank counters are included for enterpising GMs to adapt.

The floorplan textures are OK, though I would have liked to have seen a wider range of interior floor textures. The furniture counters are great.

The vehicles are great but limited to Police, Humvees of various styles and Blackhawk helicopters. Some civilian vehicles would have been very useful.


LIKED: Attractive graphics, lots of stuff here for your $$$

DISLIKED: The 3 interior textures are all crammed together on one sheet, whereas all the exterior textures have a sheet to themselves.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Flatlands: Modern Tiles and Tokens Megaset 1
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Modern Dispatch (#66): Superheroic Adventure Generator
Publisher: Adamant Entertainment
by Chris J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/06/2006 00:00:00
For those days when inspiration needs a subtle kick in the pants, a random adventure generator like this can be useful to a harried GM. It works by picking out a selection of key words to be plugged into a sentence that outlines the plot.

For example, it might produce ?The main characters must [Rescue] [a Scientist], from [In Orbit], but have to contend with [Equipment Failure] while being confronted by [Hired Killers].? It's then up to the GM to flesh that out with details, coming up with any required NPCs and tying the plot into the campaign world.

Some combinations might need a little mental flexibility to explain, such as why the heroes have to [Kill] a [Celebrity] in the [Jungle] while dealing with a [Dimensional Rift] and opposed by [Lawyers], but that's half the fun.


LIKED: Clean layout, wide range of keywords appropriate to the genre.

DISLIKED: These tables are all rolled using D8s. We hates the pointy little swine.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Modern Dispatch (#66): Superheroic Adventure Generator
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Mirror Universe : : Volume 2
Publisher: Inspired Device
by Chris J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/06/2006 00:00:00
This product, like Volume 1 gives you a dozen superhero/villain costumes and backgrounds, paired off to give a hero & a villain for each of six names. The artwork is very well done in the "Timms"/DC Animated style.

Each character has a 1 inch square flat counter, a 38mm high A-frame fold up figure and a large 140mm display figure designed to sit in front of the player to remind everyone who they're playing - a great idea for convention games. No tri-fold figures, for those who use them.

One great idea carried over from Volume 1 is the Status indicators, which can be printed off to show game effects like Stunned, Fallen etc. The publisher has collected these together as a free download on their web page.

Finally the figures are all available in both colour and B&W, allowing you to colour the figures yourself.



LIKED: Good clean graphics, nice character ideas

DISLIKED: The Good/Bad pairs in Volume 2 are even less mirror-like than Volume 1, having very different appearences, backgrounds and power sets.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mirror Universe : : Volume 2
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Mirror Universe : : Volume 1
Publisher: Inspired Device
by Chris J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/06/2006 00:00:00
This product gives you a dozen superhero/villain costumes and backgrounds, paired off to give a hero & a villain for each of six names. The artwork is very well done in the "Timms"/DC Animated style.

Each character has a 1 inch square flat counter, a 38mm high A-frame fold up figure and a large 140mm display figure designed to sit in front of the player to remind everyone who they're playing - a great idea for convention games. No tri-fold figures, for those who use them.

One nitpick: despite the product's name, the good/evil character pairs aren't true mirror image characters. Some have very different backgrounds, and some look very different from their counterparts.


LIKED: Good graphics and an interesting variety of characters.

DISLIKED: Nothing really.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mirror Universe : : Volume 1
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Growing Up Super -- Part One: Powerful Conception
Publisher: Cracked Mirror Publishing
by Chris J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/04/2006 00:00:00
This could be subtitlted "Metahuman Sex Ed 101", being a fairly comprehensive essay on how human reproduction and birth would be affected by superpowers. If you're familiar with the famous essay "Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex", then this covers the same ground but for all major superpower types. Strictly speaking this ought to have some sort of "parental guidance" warning as the sex act is graphically described, but this is tastefully done so in clinical terms.
The essay is 12 pages long a and is a well written, entertaining read that throws up a few interesting ideas. It's followed by a single page of game information (in the form of suggested Drawbacks & Complications and three plot seeds) and the one-page OGL.


LIKED: The writer does a great job of emulating the style of a scientific article, and the section on Mystics had me laughing out loud.

DISLIKED: Nothing really. I would have liked a little more game information, maybe a few more plot seeds, but the main text does a good enough job of stimulating ideas.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Growing Up Super -- Part One: Powerful Conception
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Universe87 Campaign Setting Soundtrack - Part 2
Publisher: Bailey Records
by Chris J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/05/2005 00:00:00
Great stuff. I wasn't a big fan of techno/electronica before downloading this, but this is really good stuff. This won't be to everyone's taste, but to get an idea of the style of music, try downloading one of the single tracks Baily Records have available (like Darkrider Returneth or False Realities).
Sound and instrument quality is very good, but for a completely electronic/synth/sampled music that doesn't attempt to emulate live instruments, that's only to be expected.
The composers seem much more at home in this style of music than they were with their M&M Superlink tunes. Next sci-fi game I run, the U87 soundtrack will be part of the gaming background music, alongside Juno Reactor, E S Postumus and Hans Zimmer.


LIKED:
The music on this soundtrack isn't quite ambient, but still settles nicely into the background in the same way that good computer game music does. A couple of tracks actually remind me of Jeehun Hwang's "Mechwarrior 2" music.


DISLIKED: That Bailey don't have a whole album of this calibre full of M&M Superlink music :-)

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Universe87 Campaign Setting Soundtrack - Part 2
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Universe87 Campaign Setting Soundtrack - Part 1
Publisher: Bailey Records
by Chris J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/05/2005 00:00:00
Great stuff. I wasn't a big fan of techno/electronica before downloading this, but this is really good stuff. This won't be to everyone's taste, but to get an idea of the style of music, try downloading one of the single tracks Baily Records have available (like Darkrider Returneth or False Realities).
Sound and instrument quality is very good, but for a completely electronic/synth/sampled music that doesn't attempt to emulate live instruments, that's only to be expected.
The composers seem much more at home in this style of music than they were with their M&M Superlink tunes. Next sci-fi game I run, the U87 soundtrack will be part of the gaming background music, alongside Juno Reactor, E S Postumus and Hans Zimmer.


LIKED: The music on this soundtrack isn't quite ambient, but still settles nicely into the background in the same way that good computer game music does. A couple of tracks actually remind me of Jeehun Hwang's "Mechwarrior 2" music.

DISLIKED: That Bailey don't have a whole album of this calibre full of M&M Superlink music :-)

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Universe87 Campaign Setting Soundtrack - Part 1
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Pirate Set
Publisher: Arion Games
by Chris J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/05/2005 00:00:00
A nice looking, variety of figure types, presented in both tri-fold and A-frame format. Full graphics for fronts and backs of figures, which have been created as Poser-style CGI characters.


LIKED: The multiple formats (although personally I just kitbash the front figures into my own consistent format)

DISLIKED: Personally I don't like the CGI graphic style for miniatures, but on the tabletop they don't look too out of place alongside other paperfigs (Microtactix, SJG, GWG and figures created from downloaded art and Heromachine)
In addition, you'd really need a much wider range of figures than is provided in this one set.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Pirate Set
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The Evil Mastermind
Publisher: Bailey Records
by Chris J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/05/2005 00:00:00
Excellent! This sounds like something out of a 1930s pulp serial. Led by strings it alternates menace and spookiness.

If anything the orchestration in this track is even better than ENTER THE HERO.

Again this is too up-front to really work as background music. I'm not quite sure of the best way to use this in-game. It might work well as an accompaniment to some cut-scene narration.

LIKED: Good use of variations in string textures, a simple but ominous string hook and some nice variations away from that hook.

DISLIKED: Again at 1'39" it's too short! I'd love to hear these guys do a 5-10 minute piece that really stretched the musical themes a bit and that could be looped less intrusively.

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Evil Mastermind
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Enter Our Hero
Publisher: Bailey Records
by Chris J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/05/2005 00:00:00
A very well sequenced orchestral piece. Very bombastic sounding horns belt out a superheroic fanfare over a nice "hunting" string backing. For some reason this reminded me a great deal of some of the incidental music in City Of Heroes.

Far too up front for background music, this would make a good piece of opening music to start off your RPG session.

LIKED: Very well put together piece of music. The orchestration and patches used sound great. Unlike a lot of other ambient/electronica game music, this sounds enough like a real orchestra to pass as a professional soundtrack.

DISLIKED: From a purely musical standpoint, although there's a slight break from the fanfare motif, it never really has a chance to develop away from it before coming back to it. Which gives the whole song a very repetitive feel. At 1'39" it's also very short. Perhaps a longer piece would allow for more musical development of the theme?

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Enter Our Hero
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Lockdown
Publisher: Green Ronin
by Chris J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/29/2005 00:00:00
Very, very nice piece of work from Green Ronin. Lockdown describes a private super-security prison complex, its prisoners and the nearby town of Buckner Ridge.

The keyword here is flexibility. The authors have gone out of their way to make it easy for a GM to fit this into their own campaign, with guidelines for locating Lockdown in several US locations, in either the Freedom City or Meta-4 universes, or in various styles of play.

Although not every GM is going to want to spend a great deal of time focussed on a super-prison, there's plenty of material here for enterprising GMs to cherry-pick for their games. Characters listed as inmates could be used as villains in regular games. The town of Buckner Ridge could easily be used for a "Smallville" style small-town supers game.

But for the GM that wants to run a very different supers game, the possibility of running a campaign set in Lockdown is an intriguing one, and the sourcebook has a couple of surprises up its sleeve.

LIKED: Great ideas. Lots of material that's useful outside the context of Lockdown. The flexibility to incorporate Lockdown into your own campaign. The fact that GR have dealt with a couple of mature issues relating to prison life in a sensible and adult manner.

DISLIKED: There are a couple of artists in here whose style I personally don't like.
And that's about it!

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Lockdown
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Super Hero Minis
Publisher: Avalon Game Company
by Chris J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/29/2005 00:00:00
These are 28 paper minis of the A-frame style (i.e. with a full colour front and a grey outline back) The standard human sized figures print out to 35mm high, with a couple of larger figures up to two or three times that size.

The artwork ranges from passable to quite good. Unfortunately the artist seems to have avoided any bold outlines in the pictures giving them a slightly blurry and out of focus feel at the best of times, to the point where a couple of figures that presumably are supposed to have forcefields are just an indecipherable blur. Since bold linework is a feature of traditional superhero comics, this really reduces the superhero feel. This effect is made worse by the resolution and compression ratings that have been used to create the PDF. There's a lot of compression artefacts and pixellation visible if you zoom in at all. On the plus side this brings the size of this PDF down to a mere 785kb, but personally I'd rather have better looking figures and a larger file size.

I can see myself possibly using 2 figures from here, 2 identically dressed martial artist types that look like they'd make great minions. A couple of others have interesting designs and I'd use them as inspiration for characters, but I'd probably wind up re-doing figures for them with something like Heromachine.

I'd really like to see this product redone with better image quality, but otherwise I'd be reluctant to buy more paper minis from this vendor.

LIKED: Very inexpensive. Some very nice character designs. A very good page of illustrated assembly instructions.

DISLIKED: Very poor image quality.

QUALITY: Disappointing

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Super Hero Minis
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Coffee & Go Nuts
Publisher: Lunar Dreams Design
by Chris J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/24/2005 00:00:00
Not very happy with this purchase at all. To start with the description doesn't mention the fact that it's a prepackaged adventure for PL5 characters who are assumed to be members of a secret organisation called... wait for it.. SPOO.

Yes this is a comedy adventure at 1/2 the standard PL of the game. As a result it's of very little use to most Mutants & Masterminds GMs.

Layout is basic Word standard, apart from the covers and the NPC sheets (which are quite well done). The adventure is very badly organised there's no description of the SPOO organisation, and it's not clear whether the SPOO characters at the start of the book are supposed to be pregens.

On the plus side nearly half this PDF's pages include maps or floorplans. Unfortunately they are very basic, looking like they've been done with the Draw function in MS Word. None are gridded or have any scale listed, and all look like the artist has simply drawn a square box and put a few shapes inside.

LIKED: The basic idea - that a certain worldwide coffee shop chain is the front for a secret conspiracy, is quite a good one. But it's an idea that deserved a much better treatment.

If you wanted to introduce players to the M&M system, this might make an amusing one shot.

DISLIKED: Poor quality.
This is not worth $5

But my main beef is with the failure to correctly describe this product on the RPGNow product page. Had this said "A pre-prepared humourous adventure for 2-4 PL5 characters", I would have known to pass this by.

QUALITY: Poor

VALUE: Ripped Off


Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Coffee & Go Nuts
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Publisher Reply:
The listing of this item as an adventure was an oversight. It have been corrected in the decsription text. Thank you for your input.
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