Davey Beauchamp’s Amazing Pulp Adventures /Bare Bones Beyond

Davey Beauchamp’s Amazing Pulp Adventures RPG/Bare Bones Beyond System
From: Scaldcrow Games
Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Davey Beauchamp’s Amazing Pulp Adventures RPG/Bare Bones Beyond System is a new Role Playing Game Core Book from Scaldcrow Games.

T. Glenn Bane and Davey Beauchamp are two dynamic and energetic individuals I have had the pleasure to get to know in my years of running cons. It was at one of these cons that they gave away an opportunity to have a character named after you at one of our charity auctions. As it turns out, my name was one of those names placed in the book – as the alter ego of a young sidekick hero named Aegis Lad!  So when it went up on Kickstarter, I had to support it.

T.Glenn Bane has been running various versions of his Bare Bones system at my conventions over the past several years. I had not had the pleasure of playing in one, and this book is my first real exposure to it. Every year, he seems to have a full table for all seven slots he runs, so people obviously enjoy it.  Finally, I get to dive into it myself and get a feel for what these folks seem to enjoy so much.

From the back cover:
“GENUINE ROLE PLAYING GAME EXPERIENCE”

System

The Bare Bones Beyond or Bare Bones Multiverse system was born from Mr. Bane’s passion for gaming and lack of satisfaction from other systems he had played.  Growing up playing the usual games we all play, he designed this system to be different from all those.  He wanted to focus on the character’s story, and allow the players to develop their character they way they see fit, not based on cookie-cutter rules. He wanted to maximize fun while taking the focus off maximization of the character’s stats.  So many games have tried this.   I can understand the desire to do so, but the systems that I have seen attempt it fell short in so many ways.

The system seems simple on its face, but it actually has some very interesting nuances.  The mechanic is fairly unique although it can put some people off because there is a little more math involved than your standard RPG mechanic.  It simply starts with two six-sided dice.  The standard rule is rolling doubles explode (explained below) unless they are snake eyes.  Character’s abilities are measured in Ranks.  Subtract the rank from 12 to get a target number.  Roll the dice to get a total (rerolling doubles).  Divide the total by the target number, dropping remainders, to get the number of successes.

I think key to that is the re-rolling doubles and that makes it a much more excitng mechanic.  It takes some getting used to but with a little practice, I would imagine it would become second nature.  Another interesting aspect of the system is Stacking.  If the character making the check has related skills or abilities, they can be rolled separately to stack the successes. This kind of flexibility creates a very dynamic and flexible playing environment for the game.

Character generation is based on points and archetype templates.  The archetypes are designed specifically for the genre and even though there are a lot of them, players have the option to customize their own.  There are two main aspects of a character – Conditions and Abilities. You have a set of each in the archetype and a set of points to spend on each for customization.  It is very flexible and customizable – no cookie cutter classes and no restrictions on abilities.  The most important aspect of this kind of character generation is the character concept and staying true to that.  Otherwise, all characters end up looking the same after a long period of gaming.

One of the differentiators in this character generation system is Abilities.  You can have any ability you want, just make it up.  It is assumed that any sentient being has an ability score of rank 4 in everything, so you can do just about anything in the game. It encourages you to make up your abilities, although it does have a list of suggested ones.

The entire game is centered around that core system.  There are some other side mechanics added for flavor or fun, but the basics are what I covered above. The combat system seems a bit deadly, which seems to be true because they had to create a special rule for the Amazing Pulp Adventure setting to encourage pulp-style stunts and risk taking within a player party.

I found the game system innovative and flexible but challenging to get used to.  It adds a little more math than your average RPG game, breaking that cardinal rule of no division in your core mechanic. Once you get passed that, the system flows pretty nicely as evidenced by the numbers of people that have enjoyed it at the cons I have seen it being played.  It is a little “hippy” or “indie” with its ability flexibility, and it takes a special kind of gamer to really enjoy that kind of system without exploiting it.

From page 77:
“The world you are about to enter was inspired by the 1939 New York Wold’s Fair, forever immortalized by the symbol of the Trylon and the Perisphere.”

Setting

If there is one thing you can say about Davey Beauchamp, it’s that he is passionate about his writing.  One particular setting he is passionate about is his Mister Adventure and Amazing Pulp Adventures setting.  He and T. Glenn Bane got together to create the RPG, but the setting itself was much more before the RPG.  It was a podcast radio show first, with a considerable cast of who’s-who in podcasting, including the great Rich Sigfrit.  My wife was even on a couple of them.  They can still be found on ITunes.

The setting is one part super heroes, one part World War II intrigue, and it brings to life the classic 1940s super heroes worlds like that of the Phantom, the Shadow, or the Rocketeer.  The RPG setting world centers around the fictional city of Sapphire City, stemming from ideals born in the New York World’s Fair.  Under this ideal technological utopia sprouted the weeds and parasites of crime and depravity.  However, in the larger-than-life style of the city itself, crime as well as its counterpart, justice, was not just satisfied with the simple representations.  Costumed criminals and avengers spouted fairly quickly.  The most well-known of the heroes is Mister Adventure.  The first of many costumed criminals are known as the Gentlemen Thieves.  There are many others as well, illustrated and stat’ed out in the book.

The book provides a brief overview of the various historical events that might influence the setting, but in general the book is not intended to be a history lesson.  If you want to find out what went on during the 1930s, 1940s, or the 1950s, there is plenty of material out there that covers that.  In fact, it is encouraged that one delve into historical inspiration because that is a great start for adventure in this setting.

The City itself is briefly covered, noting various points of interest in the city.  Locations like the Museum of the Unknown, and the Headquarters of the League of Adventurous Heroes are described briefly – just enough to give you ideas but not painstaking detail that leaves you no room for your imagination.

The bulk of this section is what is at the heart of the City – its people and especially the heroes and villains within.  Heroes like Mister Adventure, Mighty Mace and Aegis Lad are described and fully fleshed out.  What is attractive about this game is the simplicity in which NPCs are displayed and stat’ed out.  A GM can come up with a challenging bad guy on the fly without a second’s thought.  Not that he would need to because there is more than enough listed in this book to play with.

The book ends with a short and entertaining adventure that captures the feel of the setting and the RPG overall.  What sets this setting apart is the feel of the classic super hero serial movies.  It is the core inspiration and I think the setting itself captures that.  The vision behind the setting is inspiring.

In conclusion, while I love the RPG setting, the system concerns me a little.  This being a reading review and not a true play test, I would have to say that I think this is one of those systems I would have to see in practice to get a feel for, because on paper it seems a little clunky.  By my judgment based on what I have seen at the cons, the game runs smoother than it seems on paper.  I have found that there are quite a few passionate fans of this game system.  It is very flexible and pretty wide open, useable in any setting.  One just has to get past the slight wonkiness of the core system and I think it can be enjoyable.

For more details on Scaldcrow Games and their new Role Playing Game Core BookDavey Beauchamp’s Amazing Pulp Adventures RPG/Bare Bones Beyond System” check them out at their website http://www.scaldcrow.com/, and at all of your local game stores.

Codex Rating: 14

Product Summary

Davey Beauchamp’s Amazing Pulp Adventures RPG/Bare Bones Beyond System
From: Scaldcrow Games
Type of Game: Role Playing Game Core Book
Written by: Davey Beauchamp, T. Glenn Bane, Theresa Bane
Game Design by: T. Glenn Bane
Cover Art by: T. Glenn Bane
Additional Art by: T. Glenn Bane
Number of Pages: 268
Game Components Included: One single core rulebook
Game Components Not Included: 2 six sided dice, pencils, paper
Retail Price: $11.99 (US) for PDF
Website: http://www.scaldcrow.com/

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

 

B-Movie Inspirations: P-51 Dragon Fighter (2014)

p51dragonfighter

Here is yet another installment of B-Movie inspiration, seeding your RPG ideas by watching very bad movies…so you don’t have to.

Browsing through available movies, I found a gem of a movie that I really connected with.  I have been running Actung! Cthulhu all year at every convention I have been at this year, and I just finished reviewing both the Investigator’s Guide and the Keeper’s Guide.  When I saw the title, I was immediately drawn to it.  Also, I have focused so strongly on old cheese, I felt that some new cheese was needed.  The problem is that there is so much new cheese to choose from.  Anybody with a 3D rendering program and a few friends who can half-way act is putting together a monster movie of some kind.  And the Syfy Channel is buying them up, no matter how bad they are.  It is like they are throwing cheese at a wall and hoping something sticks to make a market for it.

I immediately thought this is going to be one of those direct-to-SyFy Channel special movies because the movie is seriously low budget with bad special effects, full of bad acting and clichéd scripting.  There are so many shots and scenes that make you slap your forehead that it is sickening.  However, I liked the concept so I suffered through it. I took breaks between the very bad scenes and the horrible acting, so it wasn’t too bad.

There have been several World War II/Nazi occult mash up movies – The Keep comes to mind, or Outpost and its sequel – but this one just stood out to me.  Too many of these types of movies have the same things in common – Nazi zombies or the like.  That is so clichéd that I felt something new might be refreshing.  When I saw “dragons” in the title with a P-51 Mustang, I was hooked.

The movi
e opens with an archaeological dig in some desert setting, which you assume is North Africa somewhere.  The workers uncover what their fearsome leader is seeking – what we learn later is a dragon egg. This evil leader – Dr. Heinrich Gudrun – looks hungrily at the egg as he holds it up to the light and, through a very cheesy effect, shows the dragon embryo.

We then switch to an American armored position somewhere in the desert where a very badly rendered Sherman tank is sitting out in the dessert.  Through some unclear events, we see the tank crew report of something going on near their perimeter and call in air support.  The air support, the forward observer (that pops out of nowhere), and the armor unit itself is then subsequently destroyed by a flying creature breathing fire.

Enter our hero, Lt. John Robbins – a angst-ridden pilot suffering some trauma from a past war experience.  He took himself off the flight roster after this bad experience and became a brawling drunkard.  Of course, up until his bad experience, he was one of the most decorated pilots in the war and now the Allies want him back.  There is a “new threat” and only he can help with it.  He is introduced to a couple of officers at a airfield somewhere in North Africa and shown gun camera footage of the events in the beginning of the move.  Of course, the good guys get a stern look in their face that says, “We have to do something about this!”

They form a team of the best pilots the Allies have to offer – 8 pilots – that include a few of RAF pilots, the French, Czech and a couple of Americans.  They are assigned to hunt and kill these new creatures who are obviously dragons.  Before they can get settled in, however, they are attacked by 3 dragons. They send up all the pilots (less our hero who is still grounded by the American general because, of course, all officers are pig headed and stubborn).  This first real exposure to dragon dog-fighting is not as exciting as I had hoped but it has its moments, despite the poorly done special effects.

Every piece of hardware, from the aircraft to the tanks, are done in CGI.  Never is there a moment where you see an actor and a 3D-rendered item in the same shot, save some shots of the dragons in the background and the humans in the foreground.  I think they blew their blue screen budget on that one scene.  I had to chuckle when I saw the dragons.  The dragons themselves have the iron cross tattooed on their wings.  That was a nice cheesy touch.  I laughed thinking “Who was the poor German tattoo artist that had to do that?”

We are also introduced to more bad guys, led by none other than the Desert Fox himself, General Irwin Rommel.  He and a couple of staff members along with the archaeologist earlier welcome a group of four women they call the Vrill (something like that) to their Benghazi location (a cheesy set they probably borrowed from some generous studio).  These ladies wore black robes that scream occult witches with special powers.  Through these women, it is music that soothes the savage beast and controls the dragons.  They have some kind of psychic connection as well that allows anyone to see from the dragon’s perspective if they touch their temple.

The low budget is nowhere near as apparent as in this one horrible scene where the women’s powers are introduced.  The archaeologist asks for a volunteer and Rommel’s minion is volunteered (he was obviously brought along for this single purpose).  As a demonstration of the witches’ and dragons’ power, the minion is told to run.  Of course, a sense of foreboding and dread is conveyed here as one would expect some kind of horrible demise to befall this running minion.  However, all you are shown are the fearful faces of those watching as the witches chant and sing.  Never do you see what actually happens to the minion.  Rommel touches the temple of one of the witches and quickly orders a stop to it.  You never hear a scream from the minion or see anything that happens to him; it just cuts back and forth between the actors.  They could not even spring for an effect showing the dragon picking up a CG version of the minion.  It was such a frustratingly badly cut scene that I almost stopped the movie there.

Rommel is shown the archaeologist’s plan to hatch a dragon army.  In a bunker deep beneath the ground, they tour an egg facility (all CG) where the archaeologist proposes an army that Rommel can lead. He explains that the dragons are all born female and produce eggs on their own.  He also references the possibility of a male being hatched, and if that were to happen, they would lose control of the dragons.  He assures Rommel that won’t happen.  Of course, that’s a badly veiled attempt at foreshadowing.

The movie could have been straight forward from this point on, but they actually try to get creative and throw a twist in just to make sure you are paying attention.  I had to watch it a second time (yes, I suffered through it twice for you) but there are some vague attempts to imply that Rommel has a secret agenda.  Rommel apparently has a conscience and arranges a plan with the Allies to destroy the dragon hatchery.

The plan is hatched, so to speak, and of course, there are complications – like the arrival of a full grown male dragon with full swastikas tattooed on his wings, which even is a surprise to the archaeologist who is supposed to be the one behind the breading of the dragons.  So, the male just popped out of nowhere and no one knew it existed?  And who put the swastikas on there?  Really?

And of course there are the historical discrepancies that are quite flagrant.  It seems like the writers thought of the title first and rewrote history to fit it.  A couple of examples – P-51 Mustangs never served in North Africa and V-2 rockets, mentioned in the hero’s bad experience, were not used until well after the North African campaign.  There are more but those are the glaring ones. Maybe it was an alternate history.

Are there any RPG plot ideas out of this? Maybe?

Nazi and the Occult:  This is also a good go-to.  My issue with this, though, is that everyone seems to go to Nazi zombies or vampires.  This movie thinks outside the box and brings dragons into the mix.  So if you go the Nazi occult route, think outside the box and do some research.  There are whole RPGs that center on alternate World War II settings – Weird Wars from Pinnacle Entertainment comes to mind.  There is a lot of opportunity there for Nazi Occult weirdness but it’s even more creative in a modern setting that is otherwise true to reality.  The players will never know it’s coming.

Working with the enemy: Rommel coming to the Americans and forming a plan to destroy the dragons is a good twist.  Things can get so bad that the players in an RPG party could wind up with strange bedfellows.  Enemies can become temporary allies.  Arranging this kind of thing can be a very fun situation. Also, I encourage bringing in one-time players to play the other side.  These kind of situations might call for it.

Aerial Combat against Creatures: This was at the core of the movie, probably the primary inspiration for it.  It’s really difficult to have aerial combat at the center of the adventure but with the right set of rules and the right preparation, it can make for a great session.  The GM needs to remember to center on roleplay and story-making and not turn the game into a miniature combat session.

On an interesting gaming note, if you watch carefully in the trailer (and in the movie if you so choose to suffer through it), it really looks like they are using Columbia Games blocks from the block war games on their tactical maps.

B-Movies Inspirations: The Lost Continent (1968)

Rating: NR

Part of the reason I wanted to do this series was because it was old movies like this that inspired my childhood imagination more than anything else. Yea, I know, reading probably should have too, but I spent most of my reading time in novels based on screenplays of the movies my parents would not let me go see.  I have vivid memories, though, of watching old 50s and 60s sci-fi and horror on Saturday or Sunday, and I was fascinated by some of them.  This was one that stuck out in my mind.

lostcontinentFrom Wikipedia.org

The film sees the crew and passengers of the dilapidated tramp steamer Corita heading from Freetown to Caracas. While the passengers all have their own reasons for getting out of Africa, the captain of the ship is also eager to leave, as he is smuggling a dangerous explosive cargo. Whilst en route to South America the ship is holed and eventually what’s left of the crew and passengers find themselves marooned in a mist-enshrouded Sargasso Sea surrounded by killer seaweed, murderous crustaceans and previously marooned descendants of Spanish Conquistadors and pirates.

The film’s opening theme song had me laughing at the start. It was some very jazzy tune by a band called the Peddlers. If I was from that era, I probably would know who that was but the music seemed pretty odd for this type of movie.

Watching this again now had it’s nostalgic moments but also felt like watching it for the first time. For some reason I remember two movies with similar premises but one did not have as much supernatural creatures, etc. Well, I think it’s because I watched the first half of this movie without completing it, at one point. Then I watched the other half at another time, thinking it was a different movie. Because in reality this movie feels like two different movies in one, but in a good way.

I should note that this is a Hammer Film. Hammer Films was well known during the 50s through the 70s for making Gothic-style horror as well as science fiction and fantasy films. This is just one of their cult classics. They are more well-known for their Frankenstein and Dracula movies. Next to Roger Corman movies, Hammer Films movies should be right up there in a GM’s library for good gaming inspirations.

This film, like I said, is like two stories in one. There is a ton of back story that is both explicitly and implicitly laid out. The first is a British film-noir mutiny story on board a boat. Enter a boat full of questionable characters leaving Africa in a hurry, on board what surmounts to be a smugglers trawler. The films takes its time laying out a few of the main characters’ back stories, showing you that these folks are not all as squeaky clean as they appear.

The second story is the survival story of those that were forced to abandon ship after a hurricane made it impossible to stay aboard. They stumble across an island of living man-eating seaweed that has been trapping boats in its grips for centuries. Also caught in the seaweed, as the description says, are descendants of Spanish Conquistadors and pirates. A society of religious zealots rule over those that inhabit the derelicts that live on the mysterious mist-covered island. There are also creatures that live on the small islands of rock littered throughout the seaweed.

There was so much potential in this story that was left unexplored, though. I feel that too much time was spent on the mutiny and the problems on board the ship and not enough on the seaweed island. In today’s quick-cut style, that first hour of the movie would have been told in 10 to 15 minutes. Regardless, it was an entertaining movie if you consider the time it was made and prepare yourself for a little slower pace, like many movies of this era.

As an RPG GM, what I loved most, of course, was the island and what they found there. An island of living seaweed, people trapped in it from various times and cultures, and a religious zealot using the seaweed to rule over the people. What is not to love? This entire movie can easily be a great adventure. It is structured like a pulp horror adventure and has a lot of juicy elements. A smuggler ship. Natural disaster encounters. Survival at sea. Sharks. Pirates. Boy kings. Inquisitors. Did I mention pirates? Giant crabs and scorpions. And Living Seaweed!

This can also be in any genre.  The movie has its own noir/pulp feel to it, like many of the Hammer Films, but this could be in fantasy easily, or even space opera sci-fi.  Imagine an asteroid field infested with some amorphous “space seaweed” type thing capturing starships from all over the galaxy.  This movie leaves so much out there, I don’t really have to work hard to present the possibilities.  If you can sit through a slower paced film with a lot of story in it, I highly recommend this for the ideas it will give you.

The Day After Ragnarok

The Day After Ragnarok
From:  Atomic Overmind Press
Reviewed by:  Ron McClung

The Day After Ragnarok is a new Savage Worlds RPG Setting Book from Atomic Overmind Press.

The Day After Ragnarok is an interesting setting book that takes the absurdity of the mythological occurrences of Ragnarok and makes them happen in a world torn by World War II.  It takes the question we all like to ask … “what if …?” … to an extreme.

Setting:  My knowledge of the Ragnarok myth is sketchy at best, but with a little research I was able to get the idea.  Most gamers are very familiar with it because it is one of the cornerstones of mythology on which we base most fantasy worlds.  In short, it is a series of events according to Norse mythology that marks the end of the world.

The Day After Ragnarok (TDaR) is a world after a series of events that started in the twilight of World War II.   The Nazis, dabbling in the occult and mythology, found the proper ritual to bring about Ragnarok.  However, as one can imagine, it did not turn out the way they thought it would.

From page # 1:
“Welcome to the world at the end of the world. The skies are shrouded with burning, oily smoke, the Earth groans under a poisoned corpse, and the only way out may be deeper into the belly of the beast. It’s a world nearly killed by the death of wonder, although far from all the wonders are dead. Put the “grim” back in “grime” and see the world outside the smeared Perspex windscreen.”

In mid-1945, the howl of Garm was heard and the moon turned blood red.  The huge head of the Midgard serpent rose from the Arabian Sea.  However, old world mythology was met with American ingenuity.  Truman rammed an atom bomb right up the serpents nostrils.

The results were a mixed bag.  Yes, the nuke obliterated the brain of the colossal beast, but this also brought what is referenced in the book as Serpentfall.  With the head the size of a medium-sized country, the serpent tumbled across three continents, crushing everything in its path.  The world map quite literally has an immense snake laying the British Isles, middle and eastern Europe, and across Africa with its head pulverizing Egypt.  All of Egypt.

This fall also created tsunamis that annihilated the east cost of the US, radioactive venom clouds that poisoned most of the rest of the US mutating man and beast alike, and earthquakes that awoke giants in Eastern Europe and Western Russia.  The world fell asunder when the howls of Garn were heard, and what remains is an apocalyptic world of strange tech, mutants, and supernatural pulp fiction heroes.

From  page # 1:
“ See it smolder. See it burn. See if you can save it.”

Content:  The 130-page PDF contains all you need to play in this world except the core system rules, of course.  Those can be found in the core Savage World rulebooks.

After a brief introduction that gives you the general idea of the setting concept, the book takes you into creating a hero for the setting.  It supplies a number of character concept ideas, including Arcane Scholar, Barbarian, Oilman, and Outlaw.  It also supplies a guideline for forming your character role in the party as well as addition professions for the Professional Edges in the main Savage World rule book.

What this game falls a little short in is the area of nationality.  It does touch on characters originating from what is left of the US and the British Commonwealth, but there could be so much more.   Many games do this though, so I can not blame them.  In a game like this, nationality would play a big role.  I just see this as a lost opportunity to differentiate characters even further.  That’s a big thing for me.

There are 5 new Hindrances including Blank Stare, Holy Roller and Snakebit.  Following this are several setting-specific Edges.  These include Background Edges such as Arcane Background for Magic, Miracles, Psionics, and something called Ophi-tech.  Also included are Professional Edges like Airman, Rhodes Scholar, Soldier, and something called a Speleo-Herptologist.

The Gear section is very comprehensive.  It covers all the primary essentials for a hero to have in the late 40s and early 50s.  The use of historical clip art of some equipment enhances the feel and atmosphere of the game setting.  Following this is the section on Ophi- Tech.  This is expanded on later.

The section titled The World After Ragnarok is a comprehensive overview of the world after Serpentfall.  What I am impressed with in this portion is the brevity but also the completeness.  The author gives you a lot but not too much.  From the Drowned Coast and Poisoned Lands of the former US to the lands that were southern Egypt and the Sudan, now called Ras al-Thuban (the Head of the Serpent); from the politically active jungles of Latin America to the cold mysteries of the Stalin regime in the Soviet Union; the world is a place jam-packed with adventure and intrigue.  Soviets are the main “bad guy,” but no one should discount the Nazis as they were never entirely defeated.

What I like most about this section are the sporadic Savage Shortlists throughout the text.  These are short lists like Top Five places to be Attacked By Pirates, Top Five Places to Find A Remote Castle Ruled by a Madman, or Top Five places To Stomp Nazis.  These are brilliant little nuggets of ideas for adventure locations and help inspire you to jump right into the game setting.

The remainder of the book is a plethora of information for a game master to run a game in this brilliant setting.  Born of Venom and Ice is a chapter containing nothing but stats of bad guys – NPCs and creatures alike.  From the mundane policeman and common thug to the more exotic cultists and elite soldier, the non-player characters are quite abundant.  When they are not enough, the game master has creatures like chimeras,  ghouls, death-worms, giant alligators and front giants to choose from.

Adventures in the Serpent’s Shadow is a chapter that gives the game master a variety of ideas for campaigns in the setting.  It first provides four campaign types and an outline of adventure seeds for each.  Then it contains an Adventure Generator that allows the game master to create adventures with the roll of the dice.  This plays true to the core philosophy of Savage Worlds itself in that it makes it easy to quickly sit down and start up a game. This is followed by a few samples that were rolled up with this generator system.

Ending the book are two very nice things.  The Appendix supplies the GM a series of very handy encounter tables in case you can not come up with something for your characters to fight.  It ends with a very complete index, which always gains bonus points from me.

There are several key concepts in the game that give the game its overall feel and uniqueness.  First, the appearance of a gargantuan serpent alone showed the world of burgeoning modern science that the impossible can exist and defy all logic and science.  This opened a door that none thought possible.  Also, the death of a snake through a nuclear blast caused side effects that no one saw coming.  And finally, the sheer immensity of a dead snake laying across multiple continents has given people access to things no one thought existed.

In addition, the coming of Ragnarok has brought into this world Magic, Miracles and Psionics.  Magic is tricky and dangerous.  Miracles are possible through many different faiths.  Soviet experimentation into psychic powers has created psionically capable people, although the rules do not recommend characters take on this role.

Another addition is Speleo-Herptology, the study of the Midgard Serpent corpse and its secrets.  Literally it translates to “serpent cavers.”  They explore the immense corpse of the Serpent; as it is so huge, climbing between its scales is like exploring great caves.

Also, Ophi-tech is a very unique concept presented in TDaR.  It is biological and chemical technology derived directly from things found within the Midgard Serpent’s corpse.  These include Ablative Metabolic Suit (a type of protective suit made of Serpent-skin),  Crotaline Drops (eyes drops that allow one to see in the dark) and Ophiline (refined Serpent oil – a replacement to petroleum oil).

System & Rules:  As mentioned, the setting adds several Hindrances and Edges.  Also mentioned was the fact that it expands the Professional Edge to setting-specific professions.  The mechanics that the book adds are primarily optional rules like the rules for Serpent Taint and the rules for Ophi-tech malfunctions and the possible consequences.

Layout:  Simply put – it is awesome.  The book is very well laid out and well edited.  The art is very good, from the filler art at the start of each chapter to the character art for the NPCs.

In conclusion, this game has a lot of appeal.  Not surprisingly, it is written by multi-Origin and Ennie Award winner Kenneth Hite.  This is a well written and thorough setting book with a lot in it.  It is imaginative, different, and at the same time has enough familiarity that one can grasp the basic pulp fiction aspects of the game.  Reading his words in the Inspiration section at the back of the book, he pieces together several disparate and unrelated ideas to bring together a brilliant and vivid world that drives you to want to play in it.  Great job!

The Day After Ragnarok
From:
Atomic Overmind Press
Type of Game:
Role playing game, setting book
Written by:
Kenneth Hite
Contributing Authors:
Hal Mangold
Cover Art by:
Jeff Himmelman
Additional Art by:
Mike Perry & Nathan Furman
Number of Pages:
130
Game Components Included:
Full RPG setting book
Game Components
Not Included:
Savage World core rulebook
Retail Price: $12.95
ISBN: 0-9816792-2-6
Website:
www.atomicovermind.com