||Having read the original Haven: City of Violence game, I can not help but compare the two, and this new version looks better. The backgrounds are clearer. The art is not underneath the text. This worked for the original but could be hard for those people printing a copy from the PDF. I realize there was a great debate over whether or not to convert to the d20 system but doing so opens the product up to a new audience.
It is a relief that Haven does not reprint the core d20 Modern rules. This is especially nice if you are buying the print version. You do not end up paying for pages and pages of redundant rules. It also means the 94 pages are new rules and information. Most of this is taken up with new advanced classes, feats, organizations and their talent trees. This synergies nicely with d20 Modern and makes a good add-on to the core rules.
Family and organizations are very important in Haven. They determine what special abilities your classes can get. When you take levels in a Haven advanced class, the class does not list talents. Instead each organization you belong to lists the talents for related advanced classes.
Leadership is back in with a variety of modifiers for this violent environment. This and other elements have made a big push for social interactions. Having friends and save your life in Haven. Many of the feats are related to social interaction, bonuses against and for certain groups or organizations.
There are a number of new unarmed combat feats which are neat to see, ranging from Karate to Haymaker. This gives unarmed characters a variety of options to play with and it is something I enjoy.
Age is an important factor in Haven, with an advanced table of aging effects starting with child, changing greatly through the teen years, stabilizing at adult and continuing up to venerable age.
Like many modern books there are new rules for modifying characters. This time it is disadvantages. Characters in Haven are far from perfect and here is your chance to determine how. Characters receive extra experiences when a disadvantage comes up in play and they overcome it.
There is just a hint of the supernatural creeping into Haven. A couple of feats and an occupation revolve around the occult. This is nicely done for a city campaign where there will be the odd back alley practitioner of voodoo but you do not want to turn the campaign into a full blown fantasy setting.
The theme for the book has remained the same as the original. Events have been snowballing for the last five years into what looks like a looming bloody war with a mysterious cause. This is a classic for any violent setting and I have been curious as to the cause. It will, no doubt, be one day revealed and explored in a supplement.
I could only find 18 uses of the F-word in this product, which I think is down from the original but I have the print version and can not search it. This gives the book a bit of a gritty feel and makes the target audience adults looking to play a more serious game.
If you are looking for mobs, gangs, god fathers, and social interactions where you can live or die because of what you say, this is the book for you. It?s hard to choose a ?good? side in Haven. It is more a matter choosing which organization?s brand of violence you like better.
LIKED: Haven really gets into the personality of the organizations and people. You walk into this game knowing you better make friends because you?re going to need them. I like the art, which is what drew me to the original book. With so many other products with so-so art kicking around, this one really stands out. The original has 16 photo-pages of full color art paintings at the beginning. Looking at the list of their supplements to this product, I have located the missing art and it looks good.
DISLIKED: As per some of the other comments, I would like to see the page numbers vertically to make them easier to read in the PDF. There is no table of contents or index, both of which I make use of. I would like to see some NPCs of the many characters listed in the history of the city. And finally (again) a map would be neat. Many of these elements are likely to appear in the numerous smaller supplements which you can pick and choose from as you need or want for your campaign.
Finally I have got to ask, but I might be mistaken, isn?t there a spelling mistake on the back title? ?Out of control criminals, corrupt cops, immoral politicians, and apathetic citizen.? Shouldn?t ?citizen? be ?citizens?? My grammar checker indicates there is no problem with citizen, and no one else has said anything, but it looks incorrect to me.
QUALITY: Very Good
[5 of 5 Stars!]