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RDP: Alien Invasion
 
$4.00
Average Rating:4.0 / 5
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RDP: Alien Invasion
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RDP: Alien Invasion
Publisher: Gun Metal Games
by Michael D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/07/2007 14:45:08
A great complement to any game using the Menace Manual or Dark*Matter. It gives some specific advice about how to investigate and collect evidence of alien activity in terms of skill use. There is useful discussion about the kinds of alien contact campaigns a GM can run, too.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
RDP: Alien Invasion
Publisher: Gun Metal Games
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/31/2006 00:00:00
RDP: Alien Invasion is a sourcebook from Reality Deviant Publications, published through RPGObjects. The zipped file is 18.67 megabytes in size, and contains two PDFs, five JPEGs, and one MP3. The PDFs are of the book itself, having both a full-color and printer-friendly version (though the full PDF has several extra pages, more on this below). The JPEG files are of maps (and a single illustration) found in the book itself. Finally, the MP3 is just over ten minutes from (what is presumably an actual session of) Ground Zero, an actual radio show.

The main file is one-hundred-thirty-eight pages long. Interestingly, the last twenty-six pages are what appear to be scans of actual documents, though the printing is oftentimes blacked-out, smudged, or otherwise hard to read. This is followed by a single page order form for www.majesticdocuments.com, which (following in the theme from the Ground Zero radio show) is an actual website that offers documentation on the Majestic-12 and other esoteric subjects that may or may not be true. These last twenty-seven pages are not in the printer-friendly version of the book. It?s also worth noting that only the main file has bookmarks either.

The book?s artwork is very well done. The cover and all of the interior art is full-color, though the color is often muted to the point of almost seeming to be grayscale. All of the page backgrounds are a light bluish color, with subtle designs on them, which don?t distract from the actual text. Borders occupy alternating sides of the pages. Of course, the printer-friendly version removes all of this, being just black text on a white page.

The book opens with a story from Clyde Lewis, who runs the Ground Zero radio show. Following this, the book dives right in to the subject of aliens infiltrating our world, discussing the types of invasions, what role heroes can play, the history of aliens on Earth, and more.

The first half of the book largely covers fluff elements, such as crop circles, cattle mutilations, alien sightings and abductions, cults, conspiracy groups, evidence of aliens, and more. While each of these aforementioned sections largely deals with descriptive information (that is, giving the GM enough information so to know what she?s talking about), each also includes game mechanics for things such as skill checks to verify evidence, sample NPCs for various groups (including Ground Zero?s people), and more.

The second half of the book covers more crunchy information than fluff. It gives the familiar new backgrounds, feats, advanced classes (based on actual alien cults), psionic powers, and spells. It then starts to give some more innovative materials, with racial templates and alien technology, including starships. Finally, it closes out with alien races (who are also playable as characters) and anomalous aliens (which cannot be PCs).

Altogether, Alien Invasion does a very good job of presenting scenarios for an X-Files-esque campaign, where the heroes must not only ferret out the truth, but also determine what to do when they find it. The myriad options given here allow for not only the familiar paradigm of underdogs fighting against a massive conspiracy, but they can also be part of a counter-organization that has its own secrets, or they could even be the invading aliens themselves. Alien Invasion gives you these tools and more, with just enough basis in reality that not only will it spook your characters, but likely your players also.



LIKED: This product outlined a number of ways to play a Modern d20 game with invading aliens, including benevolent alien races and the human cults who gain power from them to help fight otherworldly invaders. Plus, the myriad references to real organizations, such as the Aetherius Society and the Raelian Movement, lends this product an eerie edge perfectly suited for the subject matter.

DISLIKED: Some sections of the product seem to go back and forth over whether it wants to present a toolkit for aliens in your Modern d20 game, or outline a metaplot you can drop in whole-cloth. While it largely seems to favor the latter, the book never seems to be totally sure either way.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
RDP: Alien Invasion
Publisher: Gun Metal Games
by Andrew B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/30/2006 00:00:00
The book begins with a forward by Clyde Lewis, host of the paranormal radio program Ground Zero. In it, Clyde tells of his experiences with a strange picture that may or may not have shown an extraterrestrial. The picture supposedly drew a lot of unwanted attention on Clyde, including a mysterious man in black who warned him to cease his investigations. Clyde's story is a perfect example of the kinds of things covered in this book. He happened upon something that may or may not have shown an alien. Suddenly, agencies unknown took a personal and sometimes very dangerous interest in making sure that the evidence Clyde found went away. There is a lot of vagueness to the story. Who exactly was this "man in black?" Was he an agent of the government? An alien creature? The product of Clyde's imagination? And what was so damning about the picture that it warranted such intense intimidation? Such questions are better left to professional investigators, or the player characters in a d20 Modern RPG.

Alien Invasion tries to cover a lot of ground. There is a small section discussing the history of alien activity on earth. Within, events such as Roswell are described in brief detail. Sometimes these seem to be written from the perspective that aliens are very real, and that these events involved actual extraterrestrial encounters. The battle of Los Angeles, for example, states that the event served as an example of the "inability of the U.S. Military to defend American soil against an alien invader." The Roswell section claims that one of the witnesses found actual E.T. bodies. However, the actual meaning of these events is left largely up to the GM. I would have enjoyed a little more explanation here. If we're playing in a setting in which Roswell was the sight of an actual alien craft, who were the aliens that crashed here? Why did the government cover it up? I think a few suggestions would have been helpful in filling in the details.

As expected, there are a number of organizations discussed in this book. From government projects like Majestic-12 to cult groups such as the Raelians, Alien Invasions definitely draws its inspiration from the real world. There are good and bad points to this. On the one hand, using actual groups and government agencies lends a certain familiarity to the campaign, and helps to build the verisimilitude. On the other hand, the authors have to be careful when dealing with groups who, at their worst, could be actual dangerous cults harming actual people. I'm not a member of the ultra-politically correct crowd or anything, but a certain amount of caution should be advised here.

Finally, there are a lot of new rules introduced in this book. A lot of them center on investigations. There are rules for determining the validity of photographic evidence, rules for questioning UFO witnesses, and rules for handling PC abductions. For the most part, these rules are fairly straightforward and well written. The alien abduction stuff is particularly good, since its based on actual personal accounts of such events. Cattle mutilations, on the other hand, are less well designed. The book gives some suggestions for how and why the mutilations take place, but I was left feeling uninspired. I'm not sure what I was looking for exactly, but the short paragraph given just wasn't it. The included cow stats amused me, however. Particularly the Bull Rush feat.

In addition to these new rules, there is the usual assortment of alien equipment, new feats, magic and psychic powers, and various alien species. Most of these rules are also very good. The species section in contains a good mix of the usual suspects. Creatures such as the elohim, the grays, the reptoids, and the chupacabra will be familiar to conspiracy theorists and sci-fi gamers alike. I would have liked a larger explanation on the background of some of these creatures. Some of them are detailed throughout various sections of the book, while the rest get only a brief mention in one chapter.

LIKED: Alien Invasion is a well-researched book with all of the proper tools for running a d20 Modern campaign in which alien conspiracy theories are the main focus. The rules are well crafted, the writing is good, and art and layout is very professional.

DISLIKED: The book lacks somewhat in organization and detail. Information is sometimes spread throughout the chapters, with no real centralized spot for finding details. The setup isn't terrible by any means, but its not ideal either.

Also, the writing seems to lack a certain level of explanation. Although I couldn't put my finger on it at first, after a few read-throughs it became clear to me what was missing. Alien Invasion assumes that you're already somewhat familiar with the creatures and events it discusses. If you aren't, you're going to have to do a little further research to really grok what this type of campaign is all about. The book does include a number of links to help you get started, which is a nice touch. If you're like me and you're already familiar with the sasquatch / UFO connection, el chupacabra, and crop circles, then this disadvantage won't be so bothersome to you.

We'll call the final score 3 1/2 stars and round up for size and delivery.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Satisfied

[THIS REVIEW WAS EDITED]


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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