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100 Conspiracies $7.50
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100 Conspiracies
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100 Conspiracies
Publisher: Postmortem Studios
by Steven H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/26/2013 23:36:11

This book supplies the reader with a near unending amount of ideas to work with. You just have to be open-minded when allowing your imagination the freedom to create from these conspiracies.

Now, admittedly, there are grammatical and spelling errors, but that is a minor inconvenience when reading through the supplement.

For each page there is a title, how it's done, who benefits from it, possible conspirators and 3 adventure seeds.

Other reviewers have already gone much further in depth that I have. Suffice to say, I think it is a great investment for only $7.50.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
100 Conspiracies
Publisher: Postmortem Studios
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/12/2013 11:10:57

Nowadays it seems like there's 100 "100 _____" supplements on onebookshelf sites. Some are lists that a simple google search could beat. Others are more creative and give an insight into the setting that they relate to. Few are $7.50, the current price for Postmortem's "100 Conspiracies". However, it would be a huge mistake to conflate those one-page chart-list products with this product.

100 Conspiracies starts with a couple of pages about what a conspiracy is and how to construct an interesting one. The very first GURPS supplement I ever bought was Illuminati, so having a refresher/introduction was useful and welcome. A lot of people (including major screenwriters) don't actually put much thought into how a conspiracy works or what it might be after. This can be overlooked in an action-thriller movie, but at the game table people are going to be asking a lot of questions. The introduction, something many supplements skimp on, gives a good method for moving forward.

The meat of the supplement is 100 one-page summaries of conspiracy theories and how they could be used in your modern roleplaying games. There are 2-3 one paragraph hooks for each of them, as well as a semi-hilarious list of what factions or organizations might benefit from the conspiracy.

As other reviewers have noted, there are some proofing/editing problems, though the layout of the work is definitely top-tier in terms of its usability. If there's a conspiracy you like for your game you literally just print out one page and you're good to go - there aren't any that spill over to two pages and there's no garbage art to clog up your printer.

There are no bookmarks and no hyperlinked index, which is a bit of a problem because the conspiracies are not in any particular order and their titles, while humorous, are not exactly on target. I have to reviewer-tilt down one star for the presentation/proofing problems (at least the ones that exist in early 2013.)

That said, the conspiracy theories themselves are well-written and the relentless focus on "cui bono?" ("Who profits?") helps GMs situate the conspiracies in their game in an organic and satisfying manner. Because of this, the supplement is well worth checking out for anyone who has a modern-day game of espionage or investigation. Supernatural elements can easily be added to many of these conspiracies if they aren't already there - maybe the black helicopters are piloted by psychic agents or servants of the Old Ones!

If I had to identify an area (other than editing) that could improve this supplement, I would suggest a section in each conspiracy that emphasizes what fears or anxieties that the conspiracy promotes. The AIDS conspiracy theories, for example, have racist and homophobic undertones - the Clinton Death List conspiracy theory is a product of right-wing radio. People who believe in conspiracy theories rarely do so because of evidence - the very lack of evidence is normally used as a reason to believe! They believe because the conspiracy theory fits other prejudices, fears or concerns regarding their world and their lives. We don't hear a lot about communist infiltration today (except on Glenn Beck) compared to what our parents and grandparents did in the 1950s, because in the 1950s Americans feared conflict with the Soviets. Similarly for these conspiracy theories, I would like to consider what drives them in order to determine what would be appropriate in my particular game.

All in all, "100 Conspiracies" is MUCH more than your typical "100 __" supplement, because of the high level of detail and the emphasis on constructing plausible conspiracies (not the same as realism) for use in your particular game. It's rare that a "supplement for any game" really is for any game, because most don't give this attention to customizing the material or give a framework for understanding it. "100 Conspiracies' does.

[3 of 5 Stars!]
100 Conspiracies
Publisher: Postmortem Studios
by Jeffrey V. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/02/2011 18:52:49

While I agree with many of the comments in Michael Dolan's review, I would add a few more:

On the plus side, the author does and excellent job of providing a "reader's digest" summation of most of the truly weird conspiracy theories floating around out there (though there are a few he misses). His organizational skills make it easy to dig into the superficialities of the various conspiracies, though if you want to really pull out all the stops, you're still going to need a LOT of hours on the internet reading some weird s**t. Still, for $7.50, you get a jump start on your research and, together with Richard Hite's work you should be in conspiracy heaven.

On the negative side, Mr. Dolan failed to mention that some of the run-on sentences and truly horrid grammar in the conspiracy explanations can actually leave you MORE confused than when you started. In addition, there is the occasional misspelling which can also briefly confuse since such misspellings are typical of the "spell-check" mindset -- that is, they are spelled "correctly," but it's completely the wrong word. I was frankly disappointed by the level of proof-reading, though I'm finding that particular failure to be more and more common as companies seem to let the computer do their editorial review for them, and don't bother to actually read their material prior to publishing anymore.

I give this one three stars, simply because all it really is is an introduction to the topic (though an excellent one for the neophyte) and the various issues noted by myself and Mr. Dolan do make it both harder to use and less useful than it ought to be.

[3 of 5 Stars!]
100 Conspiracies
Publisher: Postmortem Studios
by Michael D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/30/2010 19:51:14

Like the rest of Postmortem Studios' "100" series of systemless adventure/plot hook compendiums, there's ideas by the metric pantload here. This one focuses on Paranoid Conspiracy Theories, distinguished from regular conspiracies like insider trading and price-fixing by the level of sheer Bond-Villain theatricality and spectacle. For each of the 100 entries within, you get a one-page write-up with the following specifics:

  • A number and an easy-to-remember title, usually one with a splash of PS's traditional dry British humour and weapons-grade puns.
  • A description of the Bad Men's Mad Plan, ranging from mad-science weapons causing tsunamis in the Indan Ocean to getting the Anti-Christ elected President, with stopovers along to way at famous Conspiracy landmarks like Area 51, Atlantis, Hangar 18, Dallas in 1963, Bohemian Grove, the HAARP Project, and Vatican City, just to name a few. There are Conspiratorial causes proposed for real-world events like the the death of John Lennon, flouride in the water, 9/11, and the congressionally-mandated switchover to HDTV. Many of these are intended to be low-FX so as fit into straightforward modern games without requiring the existence of aliens and demons as much as possible, but some paranormal explainations are possible as well.
  • A how-to on putting the Mad Plan into action, and the kind of obstacles that would have to be overcome.
  • A list of the possible Bad Men behind the Mad Plan, to be detailed further in PS's 100 Conspirators.
  • 3 potential adventure hooks to get the GM started.

On the whole, I'm satisfied with this product. If you're a GM looking to run Dark*Matter D20 like I am, then this, along with 100 Horror Adventure Seeds and 100 Dark Places also from Postmortem Studios, is one the books you simply must have in your arsenal. There are only a few areas of dissatisfaction:

  • I only found about 30+/- adventure ideas suitable for use in an ongoing campaign, as many of the rest require players to be part of a specific group (cops, park rangers, of agents of one of the Conspiracies themselves) or at a specific date (the Phildephia Navy Yards when the USS Eldridge disappars back during WWII, Dallas in 1963, the morning after the New World Order declares martial law.) that may be better suited for one-night-stand or Convention games with pre-generated characters. Still, between the 3 hooks for each conspiracy, I can bump that number up to over 50, which is about what I got out of the two books mentioned above,
  • The list of possible culprits seems a bit vague if you don't have the 100 Conspirators book as well (which I don't). I mean, I'm as up on Conspiracy lore as the average X-Files fan, but a lot of the names put forward (like the Council of Nine and the Phoebus Cartel) leave me scratching my head. Still, you wouldn't be playing a modern Conspiracy game in the first place if you didn't know who Majestic-12, the Knights Templar, and David Ickes' Invisible Space Lizards were, so there's more than enough familiar suspects to be the Bad Man to blame the Mad Plans on,
  • There's a disappointing sameness to many of the adventure seeds. For nearly every Conspiracy here, there's always one seed that is a variation on "Reporter discovers the Truth/Conspirator has attack of conscience and wants to expose the Mad Plan. The Bad Men want the reporter/whistleblower silenced. Add players and stir." Again, this could aslo be an undocumented feature rather than a bug, as it allows some of the thematically repetitive plots to be mixed together as complications, red herrings, or both.

None of those complaints outweigh the positive elements, though. Get yourself a copy of this, 100 Conspirators, 100 Dark Places, and 100 Horror Adventure seeds, dim the lights, put Mark Snow's X-Files theme on your laptop's mp3 player, and send your players into the Shadows in search of some Truths that are way Out There.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
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