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Contagion: Hidden Races
Publisher: Aegis Studios
by Jim R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/02/2007 02:43:42

First off, let me say that in spite of the criticisms I'm going to levy against this supplement, I think it's a very good value for the price, and offers some interesting seeds for a game master to build on. Overall, I like this supplement.

Having said that, let the criticisms begin.

Two of the new 'races' are human variants, dwarfism and giantism as they appear naturally in the human race, in the real world. In my humble opinion, the authors are saying one thing while doing another. The racial bonuses and penalties are far too 'fantasy-like'... anyone who has watched a "little person" move in real life knows the "+2 dexterity" to be purest fantasy. Given that the most common form of human giantism, childhood pituitary giantism, involves acromegaly, continued thickening of the jawbone and skin upon reaching puberty, a negative modification to charisma (because the system continues to link appearance and personality) would be in order.

Either do it fantasy-style, or real-life... the blend really doesn't work for me.

The Immunda, a race of demon-spawn, are very interesting. My first observation would be that as a game master, I think they're a little too loaded with positives, not enough negatives to balance them out, therefore a level adjustment might be in order. Secondly, I'm not sure I buy the 'genetic nature' of their evil, where an Immunda of whatever alignment will always be affected by spells and such as though it were of evil alignment. Nothing and no one is beyond the grace of God, and to remove any hope of an Immunda's eventual salvation is to remove a potent character motivation.

The 'Morlocks' are another interesting idea, a race of ooze-like creatures. Upon initial reading, they seem reasonably well-balanced. I would however point out that H.G. Wells wrote "The Time Machine", not Jules Verne, as was alluded to in the text.

Overall the layout of the supplement is acceptable, although it seems a bit cramped in places, making it very slightly difficult to read.

As I said at the beginning, a good value for the price.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Contagion: Hidden Races
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Creator Reply:
Jim, An excellent review! You raise some interesting points regarding the modifiers for dwarfism and gigantism. This merits some examination on our part. In regards to the Immunda, there is nothing in the rules that implies that Immunda are beyond God's grace. They are simply treated as evil from a systematic standpoint. I think being accused of evil, even registering as an evil creature to magic and the like, despite a pure heart and good intentions only adds poignancy to the struggle of an Immunda seeking redemption. This is also a "social factor" considered when striving for "game balance." Many of the races in Contagion suffer non-numeric penalties such as these which hamper the character in roleplaying more than die rolling. It's an effort at "game balance" without resorting to level adjustments. In regards to the Time Machine error, apologies for the typo! Rest assured it will be corrected! Thanks so much for the review!
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