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Enemies of the State vol 1 Issue 3 [ICONS]
by andrew b. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/09/2013 10:53:38
I am really liking this first volume of the series, the Enemies of the State. Im going to write this reaction backwards, though, telling you its 'not so good' points to wade to my conclusion. Unfortunately there are a lot of good and bad points to this product which should be concidered, but I found it well worth its purchase price.

As you can see from the cover, the art isnt spectacular. The normal artwork for ICONS is this 'Jonny Phantom/Almost Power Puff Girls' theme of simple ovals stacked and drabed with candy colored tights and with a few capes or skulls or whatever thrown on. This is very far from that mark. These are what look like fashion posed sketches of someone with some talent. Like that stoner in the back of class who just doodled all day long in the back of the class, you know the guy. Some of the pictures were kind of dispoportional... like wrists so thin, they would have to beak just opening a door. Its mildly disturbing... as if you had walked into a world populated by impressionist screamers or something. They do thier job and show you how this one villian wears his clothing and might look posed in the middle of executing some diabolical plan. My other main complaint, and to me it isnt a biggie, is the layout. It might have been the look they were going for... the 'seventies/eighties comic book' letterhead over each entry. If so, bravo on the nostalgia, but the whole production felt kind of amaturish as far as the presentation and artwork. Now this is mostly based on comparison with the normal ICONS products, which always feels silver age slick to me. This feels like a golden age product by fawcet comics or some other defunct company from that time. Finally, this product was first made as a M&M sourcebook, terminologies still get batted around, unfound by the substitute program they used or whatever. You have to figure out on your own what a 'WILL save' is... which I use as a Willpower ability check with a 0 set difficulty. This can be distracting.

Now I saved the best for last. What do I like about it. First off, it is inexpensive. This is the first selling point I want to make, for a nice price you get some good material. There is very little commitment... read one and if you like it, get the others. Try the water, get out if its too cold in here for you. Secondly, I like that it doesnt have the normal 'slick silver age' theme. This feels like golden age or thug level material. I am so tired of silver age, I have my own world set up with a more golden age theme... a 'what if the comics code never happened' alternative to modern comic books set up completely on magic rather than 'wacky radiation'. If you like to walk off the silver age path, I think this gives you an interesting set of archetypes to build from. Also I found the thought and themes involved were interesting and different from most products of this type. I like the real world grounding with the states, rather than having everyone come from Metropolis or Gothum City or something. I even liked how most of the characters were dressed in what amounts to real world clothing and didnt all sport 'domino masks' of some sort.

So my conclusion is this. I was torn what rating to leave this target before finally settling on a three. I liked the writing and what it is doing. I might not have liked how I felt while looking at the pics and letterhead and such, but that is really only secondary to what I really wanted. Though I liked the price of these products, I hope in the future Victory RPG will put in a few more characters per book. There are fifty states to be covered and Id hate to count the costs later and find the whole set costed me over a dollar a state. I dont even care if they ever fix or whatever the pictures and layout... just throw in a 'just 5 cents' square in the corner or something to make it look like an old comic book cover to me would just be choice and distinquish it nicely from normal ICONS books. It would make me happier if they could weed out more of the 'M&M'isms, but I understand my main system, ICONS, is only a second run audience for them. Its just a small gipe, and usually with a bit of thought I can figure out what to do around it.

I look forward to more Victory RPG products in this line. This is only the first volume. Maybe the others will hone in a bit more and I could give them a four. I see a lot of potential and value here.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Enemies of the State vol 1 Issue 3 [ICONS]
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Enemies of the State vol 1 Issue 2 [ICONS]
by andrew b. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/09/2013 10:53:19
I am really liking this first volume of the series, the Enemies of the State. Im going to write this reaction backwards, though, telling you its 'not so good' points to wade to my conclusion. Unfortunately there are a lot of good and bad points to this product which should be concidered, but I found it well worth its purchase price.

As you can see from the cover, the art isnt spectacular. The normal artwork for ICONS is this 'Jonny Phantom/Almost Power Puff Girls' theme of simple ovals stacked and drabed with candy colored tights and with a few capes or skulls or whatever thrown on. This is very far from that mark. These are what look like fashion posed sketches of someone with some talent. Like that stoner in the back of class who just doodled all day long in the back of the class, you know the guy. Some of the pictures were kind of dispoportional... like wrists so thin, they would have to beak just opening a door. Its mildly disturbing... as if you had walked into a world populated by impressionist screamers or something. They do thier job and show you how this one villian wears his clothing and might look posed in the middle of executing some diabolical plan. My other main complaint, and to me it isnt a biggie, is the layout. It might have been the look they were going for... the 'seventies/eighties comic book' letterhead over each entry. If so, bravo on the nostalgia, but the whole production felt kind of amaturish as far as the presentation and artwork. Now this is mostly based on comparison with the normal ICONS products, which always feels silver age slick to me. This feels like a golden age product by fawcet comics or some other defunct company from that time. Finally, this product was first made as a M&M sourcebook, terminologies still get batted around, unfound by the substitute program they used or whatever. You have to figure out on your own what a 'WILL save' is... which I use as a Willpower ability check with a 0 set difficulty. This can be distracting.

Now I saved the best for last. What do I like about it. First off, it is inexpensive. This is the first selling point I want to make, for a nice price you get some good material. There is very little commitment... read one and if you like it, get the others. Try the water, get out if its too cold in here for you. Secondly, I like that it doesnt have the normal 'slick silver age' theme. This feels like golden age or thug level material. I am so tired of silver age, I have my own world set up with a more golden age theme... a 'what if the comics code never happened' alternative to modern comic books set up completely on magic rather than 'wacky radiation'. If you like to walk off the silver age path, I think this gives you an interesting set of archetypes to build from. Also I found the thought and themes involved were interesting and different from most products of this type. I like the real world grounding with the states, rather than having everyone come from Metropolis or Gothum City or something. I even liked how most of the characters were dressed in what amounts to real world clothing and didnt all sport 'domino masks' of some sort.

So my conclusion is this. I was torn what rating to leave this target before finally settling on a three. I liked the writing and what it is doing. I might not have liked how I felt while looking at the pics and letterhead and such, but that is really only secondary to what I really wanted. Though I liked the price of these products, I hope in the future Victory RPG will put in a few more characters per book. There are fifty states to be covered and Id hate to count the costs later and find the whole set costed me over a dollar a state. I dont even care if they ever fix or whatever the pictures and layout... just throw in a 'just 5 cents' square in the corner or something to make it look like an old comic book cover to me would just be choice and distinquish it nicely from normal ICONS books. It would make me happier if they could weed out more of the 'M&M'isms, but I understand my main system, ICONS, is only a second run audience for them. Its just a small gipe, and usually with a bit of thought I can figure out what to do around it.

I look forward to more Victory RPG products in this line. This is only the first volume. Maybe the others will hone in a bit more and I could give them a four. I see a lot of potential and value here.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Enemies of the State vol 1 Issue 2 [ICONS]
Click to show product description

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Publisher Reply:
I read your review word for word and I agree with you. My father and I were working the best we could to get the product out there. But production has slowed to a near halt since now VRPG is run by just me now. Once I can figure what my dad wanted me to produce I'll try to get products up again. EoS is the one series of product we both enjoyed to make and I'll try as best I can. Some future products may be a little "Amateur" but over time they'll get better. I enjoy having reviews made about the products and I'll try to work off them. Maybe I'll throw in that 15 cents sign on a few of the old timey looking ones. So I thank you for the review. VRPG was a Father/Son business and now it's just the son. But like I said I'll try to get back working on products and will work to the best of my ability on both my imagination for EoS and with the customer's reviews for them. Stephen Vaughan Victory RPG
Enemies of the State vol 1 [ICONS]
by andrew b. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/09/2013 10:53:09
I am really liking this first volume of the series, the Enemies of the State. Im going to write this reaction backwards, though, telling you its 'not so good' points to wade to my conclusion. Unfortunately there are a lot of good and bad points to this product which should be concidered, but I found it well worth its purchase price.

As you can see from the cover, the art isnt spectacular. The normal artwork for ICONS is this 'Jonny Phantom/Almost Power Puff Girls' theme of simple ovals stacked and drabed with candy colored tights and with a few capes or skulls or whatever thrown on. This is very far from that mark. These are what look like fashion posed sketches of someone with some talent. Like that stoner in the back of class who just doodled all day long in the back of the class, you know the guy. Some of the pictures were kind of dispoportional... like wrists so thin, they would have to beak just opening a door. Its mildly disturbing... as if you had walked into a world populated by impressionist screamers or something. They do thier job and show you how this one villian wears his clothing and might look posed in the middle of executing some diabolical plan. My other main complaint, and to me it isnt a biggie, is the layout. It might have been the look they were going for... the 'seventies/eighties comic book' letterhead over each entry. If so, bravo on the nostalgia, but the whole production felt kind of amaturish as far as the presentation and artwork. Now this is mostly based on comparison with the normal ICONS products, which always feels silver age slick to me. This feels like a golden age product by fawcet comics or some other defunct company from that time. Finally, this product was first made as a M&M sourcebook, terminologies still get batted around, unfound by the substitute program they used or whatever. You have to figure out on your own what a 'WILL save' is... which I use as a Willpower ability check with a 0 set difficulty. This can be distracting.

Now I saved the best for last. What do I like about it. First off, it is inexpensive. This is the first selling point I want to make, for a nice price you get some good material. There is very little commitment... read one and if you like it, get the others. Try the water, get out if its too cold in here for you. Secondly, I like that it doesnt have the normal 'slick silver age' theme. This feels like golden age or thug level material. I am so tired of silver age, I have my own world set up with a more golden age theme... a 'what if the comics code never happened' alternative to modern comic books set up completely on magic rather than 'wacky radiation'. If you like to walk off the silver age path, I think this gives you an interesting set of archetypes to build from. Also I found the thought and themes involved were interesting and different from most products of this type. I like the real world grounding with the states, rather than having everyone come from Metropolis or Gothum City or something. I even liked how most of the characters were dressed in what amounts to real world clothing and didnt all sport 'domino masks' of some sort.

So my conclusion is this. I was torn what rating to leave this target before finally settling on a three. I liked the writing and what it is doing. I might not have liked how I felt while looking at the pics and letterhead and such, but that is really only secondary to what I really wanted. Though I liked the price of these products, I hope in the future Victory RPG will put in a few more characters per book. There are fifty states to be covered and Id hate to count the costs later and find the whole set costed me over a dollar a state. I dont even care if they ever fix or whatever the pictures and layout... just throw in a 'just 5 cents' square in the corner or something to make it look like an old comic book cover to me would just be choice and distinquish it nicely from normal ICONS books. It would make me happier if they could weed out more of the 'M&M'isms, but I understand my main system, ICONS, is only a second run audience for them. Its just a small gipe, and usually with a bit of thought I can figure out what to do around it.

I look forward to more Victory RPG products in this line. This is only the first volume. Maybe the others will hone in a bit more and I could give them a four. I see a lot of potential and value here.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Enemies of the State vol 1 [ICONS]
Click to show product description

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Sewer Kings
by Gregory B S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/13/2008 11:21:55
The Sewer Kings is an M&M superlink adventure written and produced by Fran Vaughan. She is also the creator of another M&M superlink product called Flying Solo. I bought both just after Flying Solo became available. I have played Sewer Kings.

Sewer Kings consists of a cover, 23 pages of adventure, plus license. The interior is a mix of black-n-white and full color text and art. No printer friendly version is included, but that can be adjusted with thru printer settings. I only printed pages 2-24. Chapter One consists of pages 2-7, Chapter Two pages 8-11, Chapter Three pages 11-15, Chapter Four pages 16-21, and the Villainous Appendix (containing 6 baddies) pages 22-24.

Layout includes a basic two-column format with some areas being highlighted in color. The text is easy to read with headings defined in bold type. In each chapter there are one or two abbreviated villain blocks. I did not care for these since their usage requires flipping back and forth; fortunately they are repeated for convenience in the appendix with background text. These were a bit garish as well and could use some refinement. The maps are very basic and the scale for each is inconsistent or missing altogether. The chapter headers are three-inch square block representing a sewer cover. I liked this even though it did take up space. The color artwork has been cobbled from various sources and is generally substandard. The GM will have to flip thru the material to find the various illustrations for each villain. In general the layout is functional, but it could be improved.

The writing was direct and clear, making it easy to run the adventure. Ms. Vaughan supplies a few extra notions along the way to increase the flavor of the adventure. Some include villainous interactions and tactics (as is appropriate) while others include providing player options to deal with the locations. This adventure is fairly linear. It is not designed to be run in one session, rather, it should be played as a series of minor background encounters thru-out your existing campaign storyline. Rushing this may damage the adventure’s basic timeline. Ms. Vaughan provides numerous fair and logical roadblocks to keep PCs from following up on, and interfering with, the activities of the Sewer Kings in each chapter. This adventure is not designed for powerful PCs with cosmic powers. Street-level, super-powered vigilantes that often traipse the city’s underside (and sewers) may find it more enjoyable.

Regarding the game mechanics and NPC write-ups, I do not play M&M, even though I do own the rulebook and numerous accessories. I play Champions, and I found the NPCs easy enough to convert for my game. The villains are an interesting hodge-podge of powers, some clearly stronger than the others in certain situations. I ran this with only two PCs for chapters 1-3. Chapter 4 required the support of an NPC hero.

Likes:
Overall, I liked this scenario, especially chapter 3. It was simple and easy to run. It can be run as episodic side-treks for just a few PCs at a time, easily inserted into the background of an existing campaign. I give it 3 out of 5 stars.

Dislikes:
The maps and the artwork were weak, and the layout could have been improved with the villains’ stats only appearing in the appendix. I ended up searching for better images on-line. The price is a bit steep.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Sewer Kings
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Publisher Reply:
Sewer Kings was shall I say interesting to work on. It was a thought about adventure that was run during a M&M session and my father decided to try and publish it. Now not to put my father down but Sewer Kings was better suited for just when him, his friends, and I play, but not for published use. But since my dad's passing I'm having to take VRPG and trying to produce products without his help. Unlike many companies that I know of I'd like to put the customers first. The reviews are important for production. There is one product in the works right now but it's release is unknown at this time. So I thank you for reviewing this product and I will take it into account for the next product. S. Vaughan Victory RPG
Flying Solo
by Christopher H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/10/2008 01:56:48
I purchased "Flying Solo" with high hopes, since my son has recently become more interested in superheroes and thinks he'd like to try a supers RPG. I'm inclined right now toward a single-player campaign, since that means we can play a few minutes at a time whenever we get the chance (and since he's been reading a lot of Spider-Man lately). "Flying Solo" sounded like it would give me some good ideas.

The section on GMing and playing solo games does give some good advice, but a lot of it is stuff that an experienced GM already knows. The rest of the product presents three scenarios for solo heroes. I haven't had the opportunity to run the adventures, and in fact I rather doubt that I'll use "Damsel in Distress." "Day at the Museum" seems like a lot of fun; "Corporate Raider" looks fair-to-middling. Of course, these evaluations could change, up or down, after I get a chance to actually try out the scenes.

The last couple of pages present random tables that a GM can use to generate typical adventures for a solo hero: arson, hostage situation, theft, and so on--really, all stuff that a good GM will already think of without the use of random-selection tables.

Although I would probably give the advice and adventure content 3 out of 5 stars, the poor production values in the PDF must lower the rating considerably. The artwork on the cover, generously describable as "adequate," is the best the product has to offer. Several of the illustrations are gratuitous, silly, or mismatched (such as the awful pictures on pp. 19 and 20). Whoever did the layout chose not to indent any of the paragraphs in the text, nor to leave blank space before and after them, making some pages difficult to read. Most annoyingly, the product is marred by very frequent errors of grammar, usage, and mechanics. Many sentences lack appropriate punctuation marks ("Fear not solo adventurer"), while others have punctuation that shouldn't be there--somebody please explain to the author that plurals are formed by adding "s," not an apostrophe plus "s," even to abbreviations like "NPC." The author also simply needs to use English better; inappropriate word choice ("Rather or not Vincent helped the hero ...") give the whole product a feeling of sloppiness and incompetence. I'm a college professor, and if I received something this sloppy as a student project, I would refuse even to grade it until it were revised into a more competent piece.

A 25-page PDF full of grammatical mistakes is not worth $7 to me, especially when Green Ronin's own "Time of Crisis 2.0" is only twice as long for $7.50 and boasts exceptionally high production values. "Flying Solo" is seriously overpriced for its quality. At the end of PDF, Victory RPG advertises "Flying Solo II" (forthcoming) and other products, but I'm left with such a low view of the quality of "Flying Solo" that I'm pretty sure I'll pass on the other products. I really wanted to like this product, but it's so poorly put together that I just can't.

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Flying Solo
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Publisher Reply:
Thank you for your feedback. We are always striving to improve the quality of our products. We have recently updated our production file to address many of the concerns you noted. We are pleased that you found the content worthwhile and hope to present that content in a user-friendly fashion. Your opinions matter to us, The Victory RPG Staff
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