This week I review a grim world of perelous adventure, a comic where the writers just don’t care, a novel where the author obviously does care and a guide that may know too much! Let me know what you think in the comments.
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: A Grim World of Perilous Adventure by Green Ronin
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I have mixed feelings about this RPG. On the one hand I hate the setting. I hate the heavy handed grim darkness of all of Games Workshop’s IP, and warhammer fantasy has always felt like someone just took a bunch of fantasy tropes and threw them in a blender with half a gallon of despair and a jar of dirt.
On the other hand I once played through a year long WHFRPG 2e campaign run by a fantastic game master who managed to make the game enjoyable despite the crapsack setting. I have a few fond memories from that campaign that colors this review.
On yet still another hand (we’re up to three) I feel that the mechanics of the RPG itself, seperated from the setting, are easy to use and allow for a variety of character choices that matter (or would if you didn’t have to work against the random career thing) but there are a few issues that keep me from being able to recommend it as a good RPG engine. For example, the way the combat initiative works you might as well not bother rolling to see who goes first as it will be very rare for combat order to deviate from one fight to the next. My dwarf character always and without exception went last in combat. That might have not been an issue were it not for the two archers that were able to end almost every fight before it started, leaving me nothing to do. (I ended up annoying the GM a bit because I resorted to bringing a book to the games to read when combat started, because it would almost always end before it rolled around to my turn to act.) This game is only well loved because the critical hit charts go into gory details describing someone’s death.
If you like random character creation, random character death, and a setting devoid of any hope then this is the game for you.
I’ve talked about the Warhammer Fantasy campaign I played in on the podcast. The campaign that That Damn Punk ran for the group was one of my favorites, but it was great only because he made it great.
World War Hulk by Greg Pak
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
This book really highlights why I wish they would have left the character on the alien planet of the previous year’s storyline for another year or two.
Short version: hulk was shot into space because Marvel didn’t want to have to deal with him during the Civil War storyline. While on the alien planet Hulk has some really awesome Conan and Spartacus style adventures and ends up in charge of the place (I personally would have stretched the adventure part out for another year before he gained control, but I don’t work at Marvel, so what do I know.) Some spoilery stuff happens, Hulk comes back to Earth, wrecks up New York while making some other heroes fight each other, then the book ends with the Hulk fighting the golden Deus ex Machina know as the sentry and giving up.
I was incredibly disappointed that they took one of my favorite characters from a setting that was perfect for him and brought him back to a place where no change can last longer than the development time for the next movie.
I seriously hated how this series of issues was basically a hulk sized waste of everyone’s time and had no impact on the Marvel universe.
Voyage of the Mourning Dawn by Rich Wulf
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
So far this is my favorite novel set in Eberron. Most of the characters are well rounded. All of the side characters are developed enough that they don’t feel like they’re there just to dispense plot coupons. A lot of the book is travel from one location to another and the author does a good job of keeping it interesting and of making the different locations feel different. I’ve been really enjoying the action scenes, which for the most part fit into the story without any forcing on the part of the author. My only real complaint is the antagonist and his group aren’t really developed all that much, but I expect that is to keep the central mystery of the trilogy interesting.
I’m in the process of reading all three novels in the trilogy and I meant it when I said that so far this is my favorite of the Eberron novels that I’ve read.
Conspiranoia!: The Mother of All Conspiracy Theories by Devon Jackson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a fun little book that will have you either laughing, scratching your head, or closing the blinds and huddling in the corner. The author manages to show you how all the biggest conspiracy theory targets are linked in a vast web of evil. The real treat is the flowchart infographic on the first page of every chapter. This is a great reference for any modern game of conspiracy and weirdness.
Running a campaign set in the modern day and want to add a little conspiracy? Look no further than this book. This is like a wikipedia of secrets, each entry is cross refrenced with each other to show the how and why of who and what.