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Mutants & Masterminds - [Review] Due Vigilience #2: Black Chapter

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Due Vigilance #2: Black Chapter

Vitals: Published By Vigilance Press • 34 pages • $10.99 • full color PDF

Last year I reviewed the first product in the Due Vigilance line The Oktobermen. Within that was mention of a organization dedicated to sequestering dangerous magics known as the Library. Well Black Chapter picks up on that and provides a high level overview of the Library and then dives deep for a character portfolio of Black Chapter, the Library's top "wet works" team. These guys are the ones who go after the worst of the worst, the most dangerous of the dangerous.

After the cover and credits we jump right into a brief history of the Library and the Special Collections branch. This covers three pages plus two more to stat out the director of Special Collections. The text here is good providing a well planned out high level overview of the organization while leaving plenty of room for GM interpretation to fit the Library into their games. I found this especially useful as it will allow a person to place the group into their game as they see fit without needing to make wholesale edits. In the case of RPG setting expansions like this less can often be more.

After this we get directly into the core of the book: Black Chapter. We get two pages that run down through the group's dynamics and tactics (as well as sub-groups that are commonly deployed for specific mission types), followed by eight members of Black Chapter (or maybe seven members and one provisional member). Each character is given two pages including a portrait, background write-up, and a fully rendered character build. Those characters include:

  • Cabaellero - a young man guided by Fate and wielding a mystic sword
  • Elizabeth Tower - a woman who has a score to settle with the Oktobermen's Bookbinder
  • Lockleann Sheeramanneth - the spirit of a dragon locked within the body of a (possibly?) brain dead young woman
  • Mirka - an enlightened yeti armed with mastery of martial arts
  • Sister Hyde - an alchemist with a dark side
  • Talespinner - the resident mage, who's powers are all tied into books
  • Weaver - a disciple of an Arachne worshiping cult on loan to the Library as a "consultant" of sorts
  • The Mad Monk - a former member of the library who is now an inmate and a weapon of last resort

That's fourteen full pages and eight fully detailed and usable characters all with art (nine if you count the write up of Special Collections direction Oracle Sphinx). Generally the artwork is on the good to great side, though I did feel that Weaver's simple bodysuit clashed with the more "layered" and complex wardrobe of the other characters. Their write ups all present thoughtful and thematically strong power sets often with a number of interestingly built powers.

The last eight pages are given over to four pages of story hooks and second tier characters, two pages of standees for use at your table (if that's your thing), and then the OGL and a back cover.

Closing Thoughts

With strong artwork, solid writing, and well designed and executed characters Black Chapter is a very solid mini-expansion if you are looking to deepen the supernatural and magical communities of your game's setting. The premise is well wrought and even if (like myself) you find that the character's are too high a PL for your own use (without modification) the Library and its plots and sub-groups will serve well as a launch-pad for more PL-appropriate allies, or foils, for your characters.

Rating: 90% - A solid third party offering for games featuring a more supernatural bent.

Author's note: A review copy of the product was provided to me by Vigilance Press for the purposes of this review.

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