||Conflict, and A Person's Place In It, is a commentary on violence and how difficult it really is, compared to how it is normally portrayed in an RPG.
On Killing in Roleplaying Games
* This section repeatedly makes the point that the primary purpose of a weapon is to intimidate the enemy, not to kill the enemy. If the enemy breaks and runs, he is just as defeated for that battle as if you killed him face to face. Plus, it's easier to stab someone when they're running for their lives and not fighting back. At the end of this section, the GM-Player anecdote was amusing and illustrative.
'We're all animals!'
* This section details the "fight or flight" response, and adds two more: posture and submit. At the end of the section he details a behavior present in humans that isn't in animals: "evasion" (not the d20 rogue ability). This section is a short and very basic overview of those behaviors.
"Really, sir, I'm just a bad shot"
* This section deals with numbers and statistics of who fired how often in different wars, and how likely a soldier is to really kill another person in wartime activities.
"Can't fight, too busy!"
* A section explaining the "evasion" behavior in a little more detail. This section is very short, but it doesn't need to be long to get the point across.
Bang! ?Leave us alone, you sods!?
* This section details the intimidating power of guns. The example given deals with the Napoleanic military, and how they were used rather than longbows (which were more accurate than firearms at the time).
"Target to your front, fire!?
* So soldiers generally don't fire at their fellow humans. This section gives a short history of how soldiers were trained to do just that, and makes relevant observations about modern problems.
"This is all very well, Kyle, but what?s it got to do with the game??
* A house rule that can be adapted to pretty much any system to simulate the difficulty of murdering a fellow human being (or your sentient species of choice). Perhaps more useful for realistic games. It could be hard to adapt for d6 based systems, since it's based off a percentile. It isn't meant to be a ready rule, as far as I can tell, just a starting point for a GM to customize for his own game.
"Aw, geez, but that?s no fun??
* A short commentary on the third aspect of killing (besides the technical "with what" and the legal "how am I going to be punished for this?"): the moral.
Part Two is a load of information. It starts out with the aspects of killing (technical, skill, purpose, psychological, social), and quickly explains the stages of grief. It goes into detail on how both of those relate to different acts of killing: suicide, homicide, serial/mass homicide, civil insurrection, guerilla conflict, state war and great war, atrocities, and peacekeeping..
LIKED: The author obviously did a lot of research, as there are many studies that are referenced, and the anecdotes are amusing an informative. The familiar tone makes it easy to read and keeps it from being too dry.
The material flows well, and makes sense.
DISLIKED: The information in this product is sound, but the author doesn't have a bibliography for any of the statistics used, studies references, or anecdotes told.
[4 of 5 Stars!]