The second product in the Devilish Duos product line comes out taking a swing at Valentine's Day with 18 pages of romance-themed content. The product greets the reader with a stellar cover by Denise Jones and colored by James Dawsey. If you saw this on a bookshelf at your FLGS you'd know what it was about even without reading the title. As customary the artwork is reprinted on the second page without the titles and branding.
The credits page has an "Obligatory Introduction About Romance, Sex, and Squid-Men…" which had me laughing, and readies the reader for what's to come; all with tongue planted in cheek. Going into the meat of the book things start out with a discussion about romance and comics; a history lesson, and a reminder that though it may get overlooked romance is a part of even superhero comics. Segueing from history into a lite discussion of the way that super powers dovetail into romance introduces the reader to the four "C"s of superpowers and romance.
The rules section takes up a massive seven pages. Starting with a discussion on Advantages, both those in the core rule set, as well as some new ones, it moves on to talk about Features and Skills, before getting into a rules system. The system is fairly low impact, calling for rolls only at major milestones (first impressions, dates, and eventually break ups) while also encouraging role-play not only to help set the stage and tone of the romance but also as a means for the GM to provide bonuses or penalties based on that same role-playing. Extensive examples are provided and are both entertainingly engaging, and very well written to showcase the rules, as well as the various ways that powers, Advantages, and skills interact within the system they have created.
Lastly, but not least, are the Devilish Duo themselves; Amp and Rail are a pair of super powered characters who used to be an item, but have recently taken a trip to Splitsville. While not villains as such they are both deep in the throes of post-breakup recovery. Three adventure/plot hooks are provided, and show how each character can be used, either as a foil for PC-NPC romance, or as a potential thorn in the side of the other NPC. A third character is given a brief write-up as well, as part of one of the hooks. The characters are interesting, with believable backgrounds, and Amp in particular has a very interesting and original power-set.
With two complete characters (plus a 3rd with stats but limited background), 7 pages of optional rules, and a page of discussion, Strange Attractors is jam packed with content. Everything within is written to a high standard, and the rules and discussion present a well put together way to add some mechanical crunch to the soft and squishy side of love. I've never once wanted rulesy crunch in my RPed romances, but the rules presented here all service the story while still giving "roll-players" something to chew on.
There's nothing to be found in these 18 pages that doesn't work on one level or another. I can't even find a nit to pick.
Rating: 100% - Vigilance Press really knocked it out the park with this one. At the current sale price of $3 this product is a steal when compared to Green Ronin's own Threat Report and Power Profiles lines.
[5 of 5 Stars!]