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Random Acts of... Violence $2.00
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/16/2011 08:25:14

This work opens with a general introduction into what is a new venture for 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming: something that is system neutral rather than based on the OGL/Pathfinder RPG - although as this first volume at least is slanted quite heavily towards fantasy it will work well with such games. The aim is to provide random (or semi-random, as the GM can of course select an event rather than get the dice out) events which will add to the rich tapestry of your shared alternate reality, rather than actually move the plot along. Naturally, any event has the potential to escalate into a lot more if the characters choose to react, investigate or otherwise interact with whatever is going on, and many could serve as red herrings... or even a lead-in to the next adventure if preferred.

So, to the events themselves. Whilst all involve violence, not all will affect the characters directly. Some are things that they will see in passing, and which they can, if they so wish, get involved with: someone getting mugged, for example, or a man staggering into an inn badly wounded and collapsing at their feet. Others are more direct, from a flying tankard hitting a random character on the head to someone walking up and assaulting one of them - again apparently at random (but who knows? Only the GM, of course!).

There are many ways in which you can use these. Just reading through them spawns plot ideas. If you are at a loose end for what to do next, especially if the characters are in an urban setting, pick one and decide what is behind the event, then have it occur and watch the characters deal with it. If the characters decide that they are going to town when you haven't prepared anything, having maybe expected them to go somewhere else, grab your dice and see what happens next. You may even pick one to serve as introduction to an adventure you already have planned. Or that corpse pulled from the river with the skin flayed off the face might just be the person they were sent to talk to... or the town crier shouting that yet another prostitute has been found dead may just be announcing the latest in a series of murders which you intend for them to solve. (You see, just reading this book is giving me ideas!)

Although each one is a mere couple of sentences long, and with little detail beyond the event itself, each is massive in its potential. Whilst the trend is definitely fantasy, most will translate readily to other genres - perhaps it's not a town crier shouting, but a newsfeed on your handheld device. You get the idea...

Overall, this is a lot more than it seems on the surface, and well worth adding to your library, even if you prefer published adventures to writing your own or making them up on the fly.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Thank you very much for the review!
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Random Acts of... Violence
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