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Image Portfolio 1.10 Superhero
Publisher: LPJ Design
by John M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/17/2013 09:59:56
The actual quality of the artwork is high. If you like the style (artwork appreciation being subjective), this is a reasonable purchase.

There's a disappointing ratio of men to women (that is, only one of the images is definitely of a woman), and the characters depicted have a certain Iron Age buckles-and-buckels and zippers sameness to them (in fact, half the images are of two characters, so if you don't like them, I would downgrade this to two stars).

I can't speak for anyone else, but if I were looking to use purchased artwork in something I was going to publish, I'd want a variety of characters (no replication), probably a consistency of look (having them all be Iron Age, for example, is a good thing), and a more even gender split. I recognize that the majority of characters are going to be male, but I'm a little disappointed in the 9:1 ratio. From the perspective of a publisher doing this on the cheap, it seems like it might be worthwhile to save the money and save up to have some artwork commissioned, possibly even by the artist here. Then you'd have the characters you want, though you'd have to have less artwork.

Three of the characters are wearing masks of a sort; the rest are barefaced.

Because there does not seem to be a preview, images represented are:

1. Bald guy happily surviving having been shot at
2. Masked guy with hoof-like footgear
3. Menacing glare from zipper techno coverguy
4. Cover shot
5. Running speedster (mask)
6. Mammoth guy in a spiked collar sitting
7. Taloned guy leaping down
8. Woman approaching the viewer (mask)
9. Coverguy breaking the pavement with his fist
10. Talonguy crouching on a gargoyle

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Image Portfolio 1.10 Superhero
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Small Town Hero
Publisher: Point of Insanity Game Studio
by John M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/11/2011 21:14:47
More of a campaign seed or a starting point than an adventure, Small Town Hero offers a good sandbox but not as much story unity as I would have liked.

Pro:
- You get quite a bit of text for very little money: you get the adventure/campaign (90 pages), the Stonewell Player's Guide (19 pages), and the Stonewell GM's Guide(34 pages). The Player's Guide contains information not in the GM's guide. I might quibble with some--can a town of 9000 support that many gangs? There are at most, what, 90 gang members in town, if it's as gang-ridden as Illinois,
- Lots of villains to work with.
- Easy to convert to ICONS, HERO, M&M, DC Heroes, those being the systems I know the best—nothing funky about the characters.
- Liked the .rtf file for villain descriptions.

Con:
- I would have loved an overview, a guide to the optional scenes and what each scene accomplished.
- Without bookmarks, hard to navigate. Links in a Table of Contents are not enough.
- Not much unity to the storyline. There are three plots and one of them doesn't feel like it makes much sense.
- The story takes about a month to unfold. Your characters can't fly in, help, and leave.

Look, you buy a systemless adventure, you expect some work. I feel like I needed to do the wrong kind of work. For instance, I would have liked to see an overview and a scene by scene breakdown, pointing out what each character's purpose in the scene was, so I could do system-specific substitutions. Instead, I had to do that breakdown. Yes, that would cost more. On the other hand, this will be a great set of encounters to introduce tween boys to superhero roleplaying.

It wasn't what I wanted, but it's a solid medium in my eyes.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Small Town Hero
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Strange Magic
Publisher: Plain Brown Wrapper Games
by John M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/16/2008 09:24:46
Disclaimer: I have not yet run this adventure. Nonetheless, I plan to do so, and set it in Bedlam City.

Strange Magic is a straight-forward adventure done up in magical monster-y trappings. The characters are warped and though some of them cross lines I wouldn't cross (really--a cybernetic werewolf?) I think they'll be fun, and I think there's a good chance that various characters will recur. Non-powered NPCs will recur and be planted in foreshadowing.

The trappings make it an ideal adventure for Hallowe'en, and the exploration of the house can be an adventure after the adventure: it isn't required as part of the main plot, but really, someone should deal with the house...

The only downside someone else pointed out: if you run this immediately after Bedlam in Bedlam, players might notice that both adventures end in what are essentially dungeon crawls. Overall, this looks like a fun evening or three, and worth the money to a harried, hurried GM.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Strange Magic
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Bedlam City
Publisher: Plain Brown Wrapper Games
by John M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/15/2008 10:12:43
I'm running a campaign in Bedlam City right now, and having a blast with all the excesses of the Iron Age but the technology/supers of the modern era. Excellent work.

Lots of information here--this is a huge book. There are story ideas on nearly every page-sometimes explicitly identified as such, sometimes implicit. This is well worth the money, and (because there's no universe) it's easy to drop this setting into another campaign setting.

One of the things I look for in an Iron Age setting is a warped sense of humor, because I think that if the Iron Age is going to comment on our excesses, it needs a sense of humor. Bedlam City has it in spades.

Bedlam City also has all of the other things we might find reprehensible, which make it an excellent place for characters to try to make a difference.

Flaws: I've found a small number of typos, including one cut-and-paste error, but that's very good for a product of this type. I do wish there had been a bit more on GMing a Bedlam City-only campaign, because I think there might be too much information here just for an occasional setting. However, GMs looking for less information can get the adventure Bedlam in Bedlam, which started the whole Bedlam City thing, and has the basic information.

Overall, I'm very pleased with this purchase, and am considering getting a print copy through Lulu.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Bedlam City
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Bedlam in Bedlam: A Superlink Adventure
Publisher: Plain Brown Wrapper Games
by John M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/12/2007 10:44:54
A large adventure in five parts, Bedlam In Bedlam gives us the city of Bedlam, which is as corrupt as you want and is a counterpoint to your usual campaign city. The new version is extensively bookmarked, which is essential in navigating something this size.

LIKED: I liked a almost all of the adventure: good maps, clear scenes, the summary at the front helps a great deal. The setting of Bedlam is lovely (for gaming purposes) and I hope the upcoming Bedlam supplement will enlarge on it.

DISLIKED: My quibbles are pretty minor.
- There's relatively little of Bedlam in here, which makes the adventure somewhat ironic--however, it does give you a lot of material for future adventures set there
- Characters could start at the top of the page or could be in a separate booklet so you could just print them out and put them in a binder; as it is, getting the whole character means copying some of them out
- The first scene features a rather underpowered villain; if the players have Impervious Toughness (as most of the sample characters do), they essentially can't be hurt in the first scene
- The fourth scene features a lot of planning, which can make for a lot of talking; it's harder to end this scene on a cliff-hanger
- The ending, the part that makes it an Iron Age-style adventure, is something the heroes don't see. Presumably that is left for the GM or a future adventure to fill in

I think it would make a better adventure interleaved into a campaign, but it can be run as a single adventure (I did the latter). It adds a touch of the Iron Age styling in a more "regular" (Silver Age) campaign setting.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bedlam in Bedlam: A Superlink Adventure
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Modern Day Maps X
Publisher: LPJ Design
by John M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/15/2007 00:00:00
The maps are okay but not brilliant. Featuring plain text, black and white illustrations, and a variety of locations, I really felt like I was getting maps that were used for someone's campaign rather than a set of maps that I could use as a springboard. Don't get me wrong--I'll use the maps, and they're useful to someone, but they're only so-so.

Using the PDF features such as bookmarks and layers would have helped (in fact, since I play Hero sometimes, having either a hex grid or a square grid would have helped). There is no grid on any map, and the scale is likewise unmarked. The typewriter font used throughout--probably Courier New, but I'm not an expert--does nothing to enhance the visuals. Scale is usually provided but not always, though it's never numbered. The spelling mistakes are an annoyance but can be surmounted. You can't give the maps to players without adjustment; you can't add your own keys.


LIKED: Wide variety of locations.

DISLIKED: No use of PDF features, no tiling for large maps, no grids, spelling errors even on first page.

QUALITY: Acceptable

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Modern Day Maps X
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