I realized after re-reading East Texas University that I hadn’t written up my thoughts on the Rippers Resurrected Player’s Guide that is also going out as part of the Un-Stretch Goal for the Fear Agents and The Goon kickstarters. So I decided to re-read the both the Player’s Guide and here are some of my thoughts on this read through. This is probably the last of the reviews that I will get through before the kickstarter ends, but I will follow it up with the Gamemaster’s Guide as soon as I finish re-reading it.
This is your basic background chapter. Who are the Rippers, how did we get here? This whole section is the hook for the setting. The basic idea is that monsters are real, and the Rippers are fighting them, and because humans are out classed by the monsters, they have experimented with harvesting the monster’s body parts and implanting them into themselves.
This chapter covers the setting specific rules for creating characters. We get two new stats, Reason and Status. Reason is a sanity mechanic that is based on your Spirit die and will go down as you add Rippertech or if you suffer certain frights. Status is your social Status which in Victorian times influences who will interact with you and your wealth.
We also get a number of factions in the Rippers organization that you can belong to each of which has a special edge that you can choose to take. One thing of note is since this is a world spanning setting, you start off knowing a number of languages equal to half your smarts die.
We round out the chapter with a number of new hindrances and edges such as Supernatural Weakness, Alienist, Technical Journals and Wolfen Jaeger.
The Arcane Backgrounds available in this setting are Magic, Miracles, Psionics, and Weird Science.
As told by the name, this chapter covers the various bits of equipment and weapons that you can get in the setting. The default unit of currency is the British Pound since England is at the hight of is imperial phase and most of the places that you will travel to use it. Overall nothing terribly surprising or unexpected is to be found here.
There are a couple of setting rules that are introduced in this chapter starting with Outsiders (whenever you travel to another country, you have a penalty to social interactions unless you spend a large amount of time there). We then get rules on Reason, Reason loss, Insanity, Reason recovery, and Ripping Psychosis. For Ripping Psychosis think of this as the same rules that a cyberpunk setting would use for excessive cyberwear. We also get rules on Status and how it impacts your interactions with others of different Status, how to get favors because of your Status, what happens if you are implicated in a scandal, etc. We finish this chapter with a section on Lodges, meeting locations for groups of Rippers. I like the section on Lodges a fair bit, and am half tempted to lift it for the Deadlands Noir game I am running with some tweaks to make it match that setting.
This chapter covers the grafts, transplants, and elixirs that can be created from the various monsters that are in the world and bestowed on the characters. We also get rules in researching new ones, harvesting the ingredients, and implanting them. All in all some really nifty ideas and a few really cool concepts are hidden in here.
A Victorian Life
This chapter covers what life was like during Victorian times. Starting with discussions of the various empires, what kind of travel times you would expect between various locations, politics, trade, warfare, law and order, medicine, the fuels of the world, communication and entertainment. There is a lot of important information in this chapter to help get the feel of the setting right especially in regards to the time period. Overall a very well done chapter.
The Ripper’s World
This is the final chapter of the book and is the longest covering the whole world from a high point of view. We don’t get much on any section, but we do get areas mentions on each of the continents, a couple of countries or cities each with its own selection of strange locals and some ideas of what you might encounter there. We also get some information on the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and the North Pole. The last bit is some information on the Underworld (think Journey to the Center of the Earth, not the after life). All in all another very useful chapter with the information to get the players up to speed on what is known about the world that they live in, what is going on, and what hasn’t been explored yet.
Overall I really liked the setting and the book. One thing to note is that while it does take place mostly during the same time period as Deadlands and they share some of the same technologies (gatling pistol), they are not the same world, but that doesn’t mean that they could not be put together if you wanted to.
Anyway, I continue to be glad that I am re-reading some of these books because I have been finding that I have forgotten a lot of useful nuggets in them that I might find use for in other places.