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Adepts of the Arcane (M&M Superlink)

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Average Rating:5.0 / 5
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Adepts of the Arcane (M&M Superlink)
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Adepts of the Arcane (M&M Superlink)
Publisher: Big Finger Games
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/30/2006 00:00:00
Adepts of the Arcane is a villain sourcebook for Mutants and Masterminds 2E, from Big Finger Games. The zipped file is a little more than twelve megabytes in size, containing a single PDF that?s just over fifteen. The PDF is eighty-three pages long, including a page for the cover, one for the credits/legal, one for the table of contents, and one for the OGL. It has full bookmarks along with a hyperlinked table of contents.

Adepts of the Arcane has a dozen villains of varying Power Levels. The PLs here range from 5 to 20, with the majority of them being in just above 10 or so. It?s also worth noting that all of the NPCs here have interrelated backgrounds, weaving the strands of what will be Big Finger Games?s own setting, the Infiniverse (mentioned in a sidebar).

Each of the characters here has a full description for their personality, appearance, powers and tactics, vital stats (their character information, such as height, weight, eyes, tagline, etc.) and their game stats. Most of them also have one or more of several innovative new sections, such as origin-in-a-box, which describes how they could be part of how your PC got their powers, or endgame, which describes how they could meet their end (usually in a fitting manner for their backstory), and more. Many also have a sidebar describing a related character, such as an associated sidekick, rival, or friend.

Beyond the full-color cover, the book has a very well-done full-color shot of each of the characters, showing them completely. The book does have minor borders at the edge of the pages, but these thin blue lines are easily ignored. Given the relative generosity of the artwork here, however, the lack of a printer-friendly version is fairly notable.

The book closes out with three in-depth adventure hooks, before going over a glossary that mostly details organizations previously given oblique mentions, as well as one heroic NPC, the Patriarch.

Adepts of the Arcane is a book overflowing with flavor. The characters presented here all weave a rich tapestry that, altogether, sows the seeds for a truly memorable campaign. The information is as plentiful as it is evocative, and there?s no end to the sidebars that offer supplementary information, giving expansive detail to help flesh things out. The villains here range from sinister tempters to thugs to uncaring antiheroes. A GM looking for a new bad guy for his M&M game need look no further than Adepts of the Arcane.



LIKED: The characters given here are rich in background and presentation, with seemlessly interwoven stories and wide supplementary information. Clearly a lot of skill and a lot of work went into this book, and it shows.

DISLIKED: A printer-friendly version would have been useful, as there's a decent amount of full-color artwork here.

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Adepts of the Arcane (M&M Superlink)
Publisher: Big Finger Games
by Andrew B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/30/2006 00:00:00
(Edit: I accidentally posted only a portion of the original review. My apologies, the full review is now posted.)

Magic, and the characters that wield its mysterious power, have long been a staple of comic books. Characters such as Dr. Strange are nearly as iconic as Superman or the X-Men. Basically, Adepts of the Arcane is a collection of magically-themed NPCs for the Mutants and Masterminds game. More than that, however, it's a toolkit for adding these new NPCs to your campaign through adventure hooks, character origins, and story ideas.

There are twelve NPCs in this book, each presented in lavish detail. Besides the origin, background, and statistics for each villian or anti-hero, the designers have included a variety of special sidebars. These sidebars are designed to help you better incorporate the characters into your home campaign, give you ideas to inspire the origins of new player characters, and help use these NPCs in your own adventures. I really like the sidebars. They add a great deal of depth and usefulness to the characters specifically, and the book as a whole.

The characters in Adepts of the Arcane are meant to be villains, and they are often very dark. The very first NPC, Armageddon Girl, is an insane former heroine who believes herself to be the embodiment of justice. The fact that her acts of supposed justice are perverted into senseless murder escapes her. I found the act that triggered her slow decline, the murder of her brother and cousin at the hands of a gun wielding villain fed up slow and escapable death traps, perversely clever. Like most of the other characters in this book, Armageddon Girl has a clever and believable (for a comic book) reason for being one of the bad guys.

Not everyone is as grim and dark as Armageddon Girl. Troll, for example, is basically an archtypical thug-for-hire, except he's a troll. The Magister is an obsessed wizard whose background just drips with inspirational bits. Among other things, Magister has "bestowed the Promethean blade to the original White Knight," "halted a curse-war between the lich Koschei the Deathless and...Baba Yaga", and has "continually defended the world's sea-coasts from a cult of sea-dwelling hybrids determined to summon degenerate gods to devastate the cities of man." There are three adventure hooks right there, and that's in an NPC origin. The above mentioned Promethean Blade is even detailed in a sidebar, allowing an interested player to tie his character's origin directly to the story of Magister.

As a bit of a bonus, an appendix contains a hero called the Patriarch. I really like this character. He's something of a paragon or original, except his powers are mystical in nature. Patriarch is obviously inspired by Hebrew myth and legend. He is a kabbalist who discovered a secret name of god, battled a deity of the philistines, and had his powers and memory stolen by evil cultists. There's really great stuff here, and I'll likely make this character a part of my home campaign.

LIKED: Adepts of the Arcane is a nice collection of magically-themed NPCs, and its also a perfect example of what an NPC collection should be. The backgrounds are highly detailed, the characters are interesting and inventive, and the sidebars add a fantastic level of utility. I also have to mention the art, which is very important in a supers game like Mutants & Masterminds. The art in this book is top notch.

DISLIKED: There's really no reason with a PDF product not to include some kind of printer-friendly version in the download. In this case, even a separate file containing a ink-friendly version of the NPC stats would have been nice for those GMs wanting to nab the stats and save on a little ink.

That's my only real criticism, and it isn't enough to hurt my final rating in any way. This is a fantastic product, and it deserves all five stars.

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied

[THIS REVIEW WAS EDITED]


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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