So the other day I finished reading the new Goon RPG. I started out excited for it, then I started to get concerned as I was reading it, and I ended up at happy that I backed it. One of the things that I was not happy about was the words that were marked out throughout the book. I know that they were just off-color comments and are appropriate for the source material, but I just found them distracting as I was reading the book and was wishing they had either not included them or just had them without hiding what they were.
Tales of the Goon
This chapter covers the basic information on the setting focusing on the title character’s life, the recent history of the setting and where things stand now. All of which is useful to people like me who have no familiarity with the source material. Basically the Goon is a child abandoned by his parents and left to grow up in a traveling carnival with his aunt. When his aunt is accidentally killed in a shootout between a mobster and the cops, he killed the mobster and took over the organization. He later makes new friends and enemies in the town.
This chapter covers the making of characters for this setting. For the most part this is exactly what you would expect. The new things that are included are a new secondary stat called Virtue based on your Spirit attribute that covers how much of your humanity you have left as the Town tries to destroy it. We also get the Perform skill that has been used in other settings, some new hindrances and new edges. Most of the hindrances look like they are re-treads from other settings with updated names to make them fit with the theme of the setting. The same also goes for the new edges, though we do get one that I haven’t seen before called Knife to the Eye which seems to be the signature move of Franky, the Goon’s best friend. The other interesting thing is the incorporation of non-human races including rules for building them. Apparently just about anything can wander the streets of the Town without being too weird, but the humans will probably be prejudiced against them. We are given several sample races that are common in the comics including Bog Lurks, Fishman, Hobo, Slackjaw (zombie), Spider, and Werewolf.
The last thing to note is that there are only two arcane backgrounds available for this setting Magic and Weird Science.
Gear and Loot
There is nothing special in the gear section. It mostly seems the same as that from Deadlands Noir, just without the Patent Science devices. I did find it interesting that they included stats for a broken bottle as a weapon. It is useful as a reference for Deadlands Noir because it does include things like costs for housing and in general just some extra odd things that are not in Deadlands Noir.
Down and Out on Lonely Street
This chapter covers the location that the game takes place in. It is an un-named town and the environments around it. Again this is a useful chapter especially for those that are not familiar with the source material. It also helps to reinforce the themes fo the game of tragic comedy. and some of the snark that is in the setting. An example of this is the McGreg Home for Illegitimate, Wayward, and Possibly Homicidal Youth.
There are a couple of new setting rules included in this setting. The first one is Anecdotal Non Sequiturs which awards a benny to a character whenever a scene begins if they cause the other players to laugh with a non sequitur. If one of the other players chimes in with a timely response, they also get a benny. The next one rule is Gettin’ the Clues which basically makes sure that the players always find the clues when they look for them. It is something that I have seen used in other systems and I try to incorporate in my Deadlands Noir. This one has some differences that I am going to noodle about and might start using instead. The next rule is Hittin’ the Sauce which basically deals with the effects of alcohol. There are also rules for Knockback and Knockout Blows. This is also the chapter that we get the details on the two arcane backgrounds including some new powers and how they interact with the corruption mechanic. Misery Never Dies is a setting rule that basically makes it harder to kill wild card characters. Basically if the damage roll is enough to kill them, they just get knocked out unless another character takes a deliberate action to finish them off. Relics provides a list of items that are either magical or super high-tech that you can have with the purchase of an edge, or just find. These items might be cursed which also expose characters to corruption. We also get rules on Super Strength for characters with a Strength of greater than d12+4. We also get rules for gaining and loosing Virtue as well as what happens when your Virtue drops below two and you are Not right in the head. The last setting rule in this section is Weird Shit Happens which allows a player or the game master to spend a benny and declare something weird out of left field happens as long as it fits within a handful of guidelines and the GM doesn’t overrule it.
Secrets Dark and Deep
This chapter covers the setting secrets such as why the Town is the way it is, any secret information about locations, and what types of encounters might happen at these locations.
More Setting Rules
In this chapter we get rules for Black Magic which is an arcane background that the players can’t use. They also get some special powers that are not available to the players. We also get some rules for Tapping the Curse where those with access to Black Magic can use the town’s curse to help power their spells. We get some extensions to the Misery Never Dies rules with a table of things that happen when you don’t die. These are the price for cheating death. We also get some rules on the Spirit Worlds, and more rules on Virtue in this chapter.
Adventures in the Town
This chapter is all about generating adventures that are appropriate for the setting with tables and decision points. The decision that you make is the first step, is the adventure a comedy or a tragedy and then you use the dice and cards to generate the rest of the information and flavor your interpretation of the results based on that starting decision. All in all it looks to be serviceable, but it is not my favorite of the Savage Worlds adventure generators.
From Hell’s Heart We Bite at Thee
This is the plot point campaign that they included. We start off with some background information from the comics, and then we have the breakdown of the eight core stories that resolve the campaign. It is interesting and there are two adventures that are written to provide the players to play the title characters from the comic instead of their normal characters if they want to. That is about all I will say about this since I don’t want to spoil it for anyone.
This chapter has the side missions that you can go on to round out the plot point campaign in the previous chapter as well as the adventures that you created on your own. I think my favorites where Thick as Thieves which is a get the group together adventure that takes place before the plot point campaign. My other favorite was The Z-Team just because it was funny.
Toughs, Lugs, and Femme Fatales
This chapter stats out the important characters from the comics both the anti-heroes guys and the villains. It also includes a number of secondary characters a generic template characters like Beat Cops, G-Man, and Kid. All in all, it seems like a fairly exhaustive list of people who you could interact with from the comics, and to cover what you would need to run a campaign in the setting.
This is the last chapter of the book and it covers the more monstrous things that have less to do with humans than the fishman, spider, and werewolf people. Here we get demons and spirit creatures, animals, and the undead. There are some interesting creatures in here including the Haunted Car and the Snake Riddled. Some of these are things that I will think about including in other games. This chapter had a lot of things about it that I was hoping would be in the book.
I originally decided to back this book as potentially supplementary information for the Deadlands Noir game that I am running. Some of that has turned out to be true, and some of that has turned out to be false. I didn’t expect so much of the comedic aspect of the setting, but there is still some good nuggets in it, and on its own right, there is plenty to like about it. So all in all I am happy I got this. There are some things about the setting that I was not as happy about, but I accept that they were being true to the source material. As I mentioned before I was not happy with the choice to place the scratched out words in the text because I found them distracting while reading the book. On the other hand there are a lot of things that I can lift and use in other games. I’m thinking of the rules on Black Magic and Tapping the Curse especially.