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,, ,, Gadget Guide: Spy-Tech Vitals: Published By Green Ronin • 6(5) pages • $1.29 • full color PDF "What appears to be an ordinary gentleman's wristwatch conceals a fifty watt laser, a powerful electromagnet, one once of high explosive, a tracking device, three lock picks, one hundred feet of high tensile carbon fiber rappelling line ..." What's in it? All kinds of stuff. This is definitely a guide containing gadgets. From swing lines to lock picks to biometric spoofers, Gadget Guide: Spy-Tech contains the tools of the trade for spies, thieves, secret agents, and the like. The Guide is broken into six major sections discussing: Hidden & Concealed Tech, Infiltration, Surveillance, Concealment & Stealth, Disguise, and Forgery. Two sidebars covering Burglary Skills and Infiltration Challenges round out the product. With the exception of the first section on hidden and concealed devices each major section has one or more examples of items used within its purview. The discussion length varies from section to section, with little given to some, but a great deal (relatively) given to Forgery and Infiltration (especially when one considers the sidebars). Example gadgets run the gamut from, obvious items like swing lines and cameras to clever twists on common gear like bugging equipment and disguises. Nothing stands out as missing, but there are likewise no stand out "that is cool" gadgets either (at least not from my view). Still this Guide provides a welcome resource for certain hero types and will no-doubt be indispensable for GMs wishing to use M&M for espionage and spy themed games rather than the usual straight up superhero fare. Closing Thoughts Gadget Guide: Spy-Tech is generally good, but not great. It covers all its bases well and ensures that players and GMs planning to use stealth, infiltration, and surveillance techniques (among others) in their games will have access to a ready-made pool of items to use, or to inspire. Capable discussion and writing makes this a solid purchase, but the lack of any real stand out items or rules expansions may drive down the utility of the product for some. Rating: 85% - Thorough coverage of the subject without any stand out misses, but neither any stand out hits.
Power Profiles #5: Tech Powers Vitals: Published By Green Ronin • 6 pages • $0.99 • full color PDF By now you should either be familiar with the basic layout of the Power Profiles series (if you aren't please go here, or here to read my earlier reviews of the first two Power Profiles) so I'll dispense with the usual description and right into what was good and what was less so. Descriptors and Features We kick off with a good 2/3 page on descriptors for tech based powers. *sound of scratching record* Wait, no, I should back up. Power Profiles: Tech Powers, encompasses powers that control and interface with technology. There is some discussion herein about technologically based powers but the product wisely points the reader to look at Power Profile #2: Armor Powers, if what you really want is guns, rockets, and laser beams. OK, then, sorry about that. Descriptors for tech are fairly broad, with suggestions like “Computer”, “super science”, and “machine” in addition to the exceedingly broad “technology”. GMs will need to exercise their own judgement based on their taste and campaign if something like “technology” is simply too broad, it’s definitely a matter of taste and your campaign, but I would be hesitant to allow something as broad as “technology” in a high-tech science fiction styled game. Countering is discussed briefly, and mentions that with control over the myriad of technology in the world today it might well be easy to figure out a way to counter powers of many, many, other descriptors in addition to those that share your own. Countering a fire by activating a building’s fire suppression systems, for example. Features suggest little utility powers like being a universal remote (handy for watching your favorite team at the local pub), or having a “built-in” minor technological function. Offensive Powers Four powers are given here, each being different in terms of effects used and effects gained. These power control technology in some respect; as a result they may provide a somewhat less than reliable mode of attacking the super villain of the day. Of the four Animate Machines is easily the most utile power and the one requiring the greatest amount of preparation ahead of time as it functions off the Summon effect (as it did in second edition). Defensive Powers Two powers, both of which are built off the Immunity effect, deal with the character being, in some way, part (or entirely) machine. This section points you to the Armor Powers profile for things like armor, force fields, and the like, which I feel is a nice way of say “look we don’t want to waste your time and money by repeating ourselves”. Honestly I’m glad to see this; respect for your customers is always appreciated. Unfortunately this section also has a sentence that was overlooked by editing and grammar police. Hopefully they’ll fix it and make an updated file available. Movement Powers Three powers in this section; two of which involve digitizing your character a-la Tron and moving around via the vast networks in our modern age. The third involves using tech at your disposal to build (albeit in a mere moment) a “ride” of sorts. Again, if you are looking for things like built in rockets, or a personal pan-dimensional teleporter, you should check out the Armor profile instead. Utility Powers The real meat of this product; containing 8 powers, and more than a full page this is where we get all the odds and ends powers that make the tech guys fun to play but don’t really fall into the other categories. The best of them is probably Technomorph, which is basically a Variable effect that works in the same way as the title character from the Generator Rex cartoon, allowing the PC to transform his body parts into technological items at will. It’s expensive, but it should be, and the implicit descriptor restriction of “Technology” is an important balancing factor. Complications The Complications offered are fairly standard fare but do receive good suggestions on how to tailor their effects to a tech character. Closing Thoughts Tech Powers dives into a type of powers that is probably best exemplified by words like cybermancy, technokinesis, and the like. Control over machines, their functions, and their use is convered in depth while allowing the Armor Power profile published a few weeks prior to deal with the overt uses of technology. If you intend to make a character who interfaces with computers and other tech and bends them to their will this will prove indispensable. Rating: 95%, a solid entry