Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Reviews - Judge Dredd RPG (Mongoose)

JUDGE DREDD RPG (Mongoose Publishing)

Mega-City One - a vast metropolis where each of 360 million citizens is a potential lawbreaker. Patrolling these mean streets are the judges, tough lawmen of the future, trained to keep the peace and equipped to take on the criminals of the 22nd Century. Toughest of them all is Judge Dredd, for he is the Law, and you'd better believe it creep!

Judge Dredd is a new setting for the Traveller roleplaying game, in which you take on the role of Mega-City One judges, patrolling the streets astride your Lawmaster bike, ready to defend the city's civilians against an array of foes.

Lavishly detailed as a full colour hardback, Judge Dredd will take your Traveller games to somewhere they have never been before!

JUDGE DREDD requires the use of the TRAVELLER Rulebook, conveniently available in Little Rulebook format for $20.

I must say, having run generic TRAVELLER several times now, I'm REALLY looking forward to running the Hot Dog Run scenario I'm prepping for JUDGE DREDD  I have seen the older Dredd editions, and this one is by far the Best I've seen so far.

Chapter 1: Character creation
Using the TRAVELLER style character creation starting at age 5 instead of 18, using full d66 for event tables. Term 1 is age 5-8, Term 2 is 9-12, Term 3 (age 13-16) is where the creation really starts getting interesting, this is where the character ends up with a Judge division, Psi, Tek, Med or Street Judge, culminating in the mandatory Hot Dog run. Each division has its own Mishap tables as well. Term 4 is the final term, culminating in Full Eagle Day. Fifteen years of training, put to the test on the actual streets of Mega-City 1, under the eye of a  Full Judge, who assesses whether the candidate has what it takes to be a Judge. This character creation makes a stronger starting character than the Traveller character, but that's good since most starting characters in Traveller wouldn't last long as a Judge.

Chapter 2: Skills & Special Techniques
This chapter lays out news skills and special techniques, which are like Feats in the OGL system. A very good additional system for bringing the life of  a Judge together. These special techniques make the Judges feel like they're a step above the rest of the populace, and provide lots of opportunities for for role-playing, and making each judge feel a bit more unique as most starting characters will have only 1 or 2 from 21 different techniques. Short but jam packed chapter.

Chapter 3: The Justice Department
Every player not fully familiar with Judge Dredd should read this chapter, It would be basic information every cadet should know after having spent 15 years in the Academy. This chapter starts to bring the world of Mega-City 1 to life.

Chapter 4: I am the Law
Most people probably think playing a judge means executing wrong-doers immediately, however, playing Lawful Stupid in Judge Dredd is a good way to get yourself executed by another Judge. Often the perps will be captured alive, and have to be transported to a holding post for questioning and sentencing. A great portion of the chapter is dedicated to laying out the codes, section and what the sentencing is. (This would be a good handout for players to have, letting them flip through the codes to mete out justice.) Backup indicates what kind of help a Judge may call on when they're in over their head. Lastly the "Mega Rackets" are covered, this is the organized crime portion, and always a good opponent for a good group of Judges.

Chapter 5: Equipment
You got it, the chapter on the equipment, from the Lawgiver, the Lawmaster and Judge standard issue equipment, wonderful detail is presented here, with 3D CGI renderings of many weapons. One of the great things about Judge Dredd is 35 years of gadgets to give characters, challenging the characters which gadget to use to proceed in the game. Food, accommodations, illegal paraphernalia, etc is covered, a great book with plenty in it.

Chapter 6: Megways and Skedways
You can't get around MegaCity One without knowing the terms, From the Judge's Lane, to the Megway to an Eeziglide, this chapter covers it all, and the vehicles which travel on said 'ways.

Chapter 7: Mega-City One
Twenty Eight pages of coverage for Mega-City One and the rest of the Earth, from Cursed Earth, to East Meg One, Atlantis, and out to the Space Colonies. It covers recreation, sports and daily life. There's a section on tips for bringing th  mega-city to life, which unless you've lived in Hong Kong, New York or other mega city, you will have trouble imagining it at all. It has a couple of charts to help

Chapter 8: Thought Crimes
This is the Psionics chapter, which Psionics are a bit different than Traveller psions, but they operate under the same general rules.

Chapter 9: Crazies, Fatties, Muties and Perps
The monster book...From classic Dredd villains like Judge Death and the Angel Family to generic crazies, muties and perpetrators of crime. Plenty of charts help round it out, letting you make a plethora of baddies to challenge your Judges.

Chapter 10: Robots
With events such as the Robot Wars, and Walter the servant robot, it's bound to have robots, with a couple of Charts and Lots of Robot stat blocks.

Chapter 11: Mac's Database

A Timeline chapter. pretty straight forward, especially useful if you haven't read 30 years of Dredd.

Chapter 12: Sector 13
A Sample Sector for players to run in. It's not Dredd's sector. Population 1.5 million. With that many people to care for, there should be plenty for characters to do.With the following Blocks: Buzz Aldrin block, Jon Bon Jovi Block, Jimmy Gandolfini, and Bruce Springsteen block among others, interject it with an additional Justin Beiber Block that houses the worst scumbags in the sector and you've got a place to run.

Artwork:  This is a full color book, with lots of artwork from the comics, beautiful full  city panorama which make help bring the immensity of the city to mind.

Family Rating: Teen (The world of Mega-City 1 is a brutal place, with Block Wars, senseless violence due to boredom and various other wars, the players will have to make moral decisions about killing and violence in a non-fantasy setting, against humans, most often.)

Cost: $49.95 Print Version ($29.99 for PDF at Drive Thru RPG)

Value: If you're a role-player and you're a JUDGE DREDD fan this is a must have. It's gorgeous, well written and a classic, using TRAVELLER rules makes it simple to run.