I’ve took the day off tomorrow (Friday 8th May) so I can stay up through the night to watch the general election results come through. Well, sort of – my wife wants to so I see it as an opportunity to stay up and get some blogging done! Real life is a bit bonkers at the moment, I’ve got the culmination of a couple of years work coming up with a major work project which is taking up most of my time, hence the lack of updates recently. Something that I’m introducing from this review onwards is a rating out of 10 to help summarise the review of a book. I’ve considered introducing it for a while but wasn’t sure on how many marks I should use – out of 10 seems the best compromise.
Anyway, Gypsy Knights Games kindly sent me a copy of 21 Villains to take a look at. It’s the first of a line of books they’ve released detailing some of the characters you are likely to meet that operate on the wrong side of the law. Its available from Drivethru RPG for the very reasonable price of $4.99 for the PDF, however during the month of May there is a special ‘science fiction month’ promotion where 15% discount is already applied (promotional price $4.24). It’s a 46-page book describing as the name suggests, 21 ‘Villains’ or low-lifes / evil characters (whatever you want to call them) that you can throw at your characters as part of an adventure or campaign.
The format of the book remains the same for each of the characters; their personal statistics, profession, age and languages, equipment, skills and a description of the characters background and personality. Bradley Warnes has provided the artwork throughout the book and an image of each of the characters can be found at some part of the characters pages. Typically, two pages cover all the details of a character – though not all of a page is filled with their background (I hate white space!) However I should counter this minor criticism by looking closely at each piece of text. The description of each character is nicely balanced and I feel that you get enough insight into a characters background and personality, without it being restrictive when utilising the character in your own adventure.
There are a decent range of miscreants in the book; thugs, politicians, professionals, drug/crime lords, military and the odd pirate. There are some nasty pieces of work in the book, but also some that may prove to be useful allies – it all depends down to the players and how they make use of such encounters (and of course, how evil the referee is feeling!)
The artwork is of Bradley Warnes’s usual high standard, each character depicted in a suitable (colour) scene. Any major criticisms? None really, though the book is pitched within the GKG ‘Clement Sector’ setting its contents can be easily be adapted for any Traveller RPG setting. It’s a nicely balanced book in that you aren’t over powered with a huge amount of crammed writing and the images break the text up in the right places.
Do I have a favourite character? Probably Nurita Metzker – who sounds like a downright nasty piece of work. A pirate who employs ruthless tactics and has developed quite a reputation for dealing with her enemies.
It’s nice to see GKG expanding the Clement Sector in lots of different directions (hardware, worlds, personalities, adventures) and this is a recommended addition to their ATU. I’d like to thank John Watts of Gypsy Knights Games for sending me a copy to review.
Overall Rating – 8/10.