New Liberty Review

New Liberty is a campaign setting for the Independence Games’ ‘Rider’ RPG and is Cepheus Engine compatible. It is available from DriveThru RPG or the Independence Games web store for $17.99 and contains 128 pages. Its also available as a print-on-demand softcover book with PDF for $22.99 or for a hardcover with PDF package for $34.99. This is the first supplement for ‘Rider’ and I’ve been looking forward to taking a look at this from my review pile, as I wanted to see how the setting was going to be expanded. The book is a complete town with descriptions of personalities, history and background material to set adventures in. It is split into six sections:

Map of New Liberty

The Buildings and Major Personalities of the Town

Relationships and Factions

Adventures

Clement Sector

Map of New Liberty

The book starts with an introduction and history of how the town was established and the current situation in the assumed year (1880). The map of the town, presented in black and white line art is a really nice illustration presented in an isometric format; an additional version is provided as a separate file for printing. Consisting of 22 buildings, New Liberty has plenty of locations for an adventuring party to get stuck into.

The Buildings and Major Personalities of the Town

The bulk of the book is made up from descriptions of each of the buildings as featured on the map. There is plenty of history describing each of the businesses and who they are owned by. If you were a child of the seventies and grew up with the repeats of the westerns on BBC2 (if you lived in the UK) you’ll immediately recognise the layout of the town; a Main Street and a few side roads. There is a hotel, a bank, casino, brothel, blacksmith and sheriffs office to name a few of the established businesses. The narrative, along with the description of personalities who either own or are associated with the business, provides plenty of background material for setting up adventures or for feeding into a game. For example, the owner of the ‘Shining Star Saloon’ Cole Miller was a successful criminal by the age of 20, but is in control of the saloon along with the brothel, casino, hotel, telegraph office and the newspaper. With that one character, you could set up a scenario where the players investigate illicit goings-on linking all the businesses. Eg messages are sent and received via the telegraph office to contacts in the nearest city and the newspaper spreads disinformation about what is going on. Contraband is then sold through the saloon and brothel, which feeds cash in and out of the casino. With each description of the business there is at least one layout map and a full page NPC description with game stats. The personalities full face illustrations are extremely good and add to the impression you’re given of what each person is like. Topping out at page 109, a single page provides some additional backstories and notes for the Rider game.

Relationships and Factions

Page 110 looks at pulling all these businesses and individuals together, how they interact and how the players can get involved. There are four main factions, with several neutrals who may choose to work with a faction or not get involved at all.

Adventures

Making a game set up easier, pages 112 through to 122 provide nine adventures in ‘21 Plots’ / ‘76 Patrons’ format with a short description of the situation and six possible outcomes. Adventures include dealing with bandits threatening local farmers, a security job, dealing with a gunfighter and a couple of recovery situations amongst others.

Clement Sector

Rounding the book off is a page looking at integrating Rider games (and New Liberty) into the Clement Sector. A world in the Franklin subsector is set up for this very thing, with a continent devoted to a different time period from Earths history and marketed as a huge tourism centre. Think of the film ‘Westworld’ and you’ll be on the right lines. Stats are provided for adjusting New Liberty to the Clement Sector setting. This is something that particularly interests me and expands the New Liberty books usefulness into a science-fiction background. Several TV shows such as the long-running Star Trek have found the crew of the Enterprise on worlds that are set in the Old West, including (from memory) ST:TOS, The Next Generation and the series I’m watching at the moment, Enterprise. There have been a few films as well, such as John Cater of Mars, Cowboys and Aliens to name a couple. Of course, you’re not limited to linking science-fiction to New Liberty; just about any genre could form the basis of a game, expanding New Liberty’s usefulness.

Though the Old West is not one of my go-to settings, I really enjoyed reading New Liberty and was thoroughly impressed by its content. Though the layout of the town is limited (yes, its a typical old western town like on TV), the personalities do make an impression on you and really do make the book. In addition, there is plenty of excellent artwork and building layout maps from a number of contributing artists. One observation is that some of the building layout plans don’t have any labels. Though some of the buildings are quite small, from a consistency point of view it looks a bit odd. Overall, a highly recommended purchase from Independence Games. I would like to thank John Watts from IG for kindly sending me a copy to review.

About AlegisDownport

Musings on the Traveller RPG world, technology, astronomy and digital art.
This entry was posted in Adventures, Cepheus Engine, Clement Sector, Independence Games, Rider, scenario and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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