Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Review - Judge Dredd Judge's Handbook (MGP)



Judges Handbook (Mongoose Publishing)
System: Traveller
Campaign Setting: Judge Dredd

120page perfect bound softcover. Color cover, B&W interior, with thick paper.

Description:
Uncover the secrets of the Justice Department in Mega-City One. Within this book, you will find all the methods, technologies and procedures the judges use to track down criminals. From the forensics of Tek-Div to the Manta Prowl Tank, there is a tool to solve every crime, and your judges have access to them all.

The Justice Department provides new rules and options for judges as they patrol the streets of Mega-City One, and allows them access to the more elite divisions and promotions, allowing them to become Exorcist Judges, join the holocaust Squad, or even Acc-Div! If that is not enough to complete an investigation, then the judges will be happy to try out the latest weapons and equipment, straight from the workshops of Tek-Div.

This is one of those products you almost need if you're playing Judge Dredd games, and I'd say it's must have for a prolonged campaign. Within this handbook lies the secrets of all the divisions of Mega-City One.

Chapter 1: 17...SEVENTEEN character creation 'templates' for creating seasoned judges attached to one of the many specialty divisions, from advanced training of seasoned judges, to common specialties like Heavy Weapons Judge, Riot Squad Judge, Wally Squad (undercover) and COE (covert operations) Judge; to the mostly NPC roles of Harbor Squad, Sector Chief, and SJS Squad (Special Judicial Service (aka Internal Affairs). This one section greatly expands the entire universe of Dredd. Each specialty is just like a standard character creation table, Survival, Training, Requirements, Mishap and events tables. Training in a Specialty Judge role represents 1 year of training. Allowing characters to expand their characters in a quick and easy way, taking them off-camera for a year.

With the way I plan on Running Judge Dredd, ala FATE style, letting the players call their own shots, I was thinking of letting the players roll up the additional characters, so when they call in back-up, they're not calling in NPCs, they're calling in their own secondary characters, with their own back stories, personalities, and skills. This also lets players take more control of Mega-City One. Hell I'd probably occasionally let them bring Dredd in and run him once or twice just for the experience of running Dredd. Of course, they'll also be called in to back-up Dredd occasionally.

Chapter 2: the Equipment chapter, what can I say that I haven't said before, I'm a softy for Gear, junk, weapons, etc. So this chapter is right up my alley. This chapter incudes EVERYTHING from Holocaust Suits, Blast Shield, Riot Shields, and Armor; up to Special Issue Equipment like Cling-Nets, Com-scan, EpiStrip, Modular Repair Kit, and Space Boots. Weapons? Drokk yeah! 35 weapons, from the lowly sawed off stub gun, to the Blockbuster cannon present on the walls of Mega-City One, and the Omni Tank. This adds in most of the rest of the stuff missing from the main rulebook.

Chapter 3: Vehicles & Robots Chapter. 18 vehicles, this encompass the aforementioned Omni Tank, A-, S- and HH-Wagons, and other specialty vehicles of the Justice Department. Three spacehips, the Hubble attack Ship, Justice Pod, and Titan Shuttle make up the rest of the vehicles. Then come the Robots, always the Robots, do you have your Robot Insurance? 8 robots, Large Warbot Droid,

Chapter 4: More details on the Justice Department, Atlantic Division, COE, Immigration, Personel, Space Corps, Street Division, Undercover Divisions, all expanded. A Bunch of Backup units are described, stuff every Judge would know about. Gunbirds, Manta Prowl Tanks, K-unit, Long Gunner (aka sniper), Pursuit Squads, etc. Finally, A Bunch of Sample NPCs are given stat blocks, always useful for a Game Master.

Chapter 5: This flshes out Sector 13, the sample sector given to players to run as their sector, away from Dredd's sector. It gives descriptions, simple maps of most of the Sector House. Everything a growing Judge needs. Including Iso Cubes for those Perps that need putting away. Then, to make the Sector come alive, Dock 13, contacts, perps, and establishments round out the book.

Overall Rating: 18/20 Excellent proof-reading, lots of content, useful for advanced players and any game master running a Judge Dredd campaign.

Value: $29.99 for hard-copy, a bit pricey for a soft-bound at 120 pages, but as it's a supplement that is less used, it's going to cost a bit more. However, the PDF is currently available at Drivethru for $16.79.

Edit: Sorry, the formatting was jacked!