Game: Quick Shots Mission File: Bravo
Publisher: The Brood
Review Dated: 8th, November 2004
Reviewer’s Rating: 4/10 [ Just shy of the mark ]
Total Score: 6
Average Score: 3.00
Quick Shots Mission File: Bravo is a collection of twenty encounter set ups for the busy or winging GM. The idea here is that if the players do something unexpected, you need to pad out some part of the game, you need to distract the group or you just need something quick then one of these twenty encounters will suffice. Each encounter suggestion has a variant or two and this helps a great deal.
Quick Shots is a d20 Modern supplement which requires the use of Urban Arcana.
“If you don’t like it, don’t buy it” is The Brood’s strapline. It’s a good call. I think there are gamers who’ll throw their arms up in disgust at Quick Shots Bravo and there will be others who embrace it.
We’re warned that Quick Shots Bravo is suitable only for mature players. There’s swearing. There’s sex too, sex with a young woman in a Japanese school uniform. Alright, fair enough, it’s sex with a parasite and host – the resulting encounter being nasty alien infection issues for PCs or friendly NPCS alike. I won’t actually quote how young the woman appears to be, I really don’t want this web page triggering firewall and content alarms when people try and read it from work, but I don’t see why the author felt it necessary to do the age thing as well. It’s redundant. You can be mature without being icky and you can be more effective through suggestion than blunt strokes.
Don’t get me wrong; I like mature RPG products. I’m fed up of supplements and even the games themselves being written to the lowest common denominator (which in some product lines seems to be pretty low).
Twenty encounters, plus variants, is good value for $5. This is a professionally put together PDF too, with images and bookmarks. There is an on-screen and print friendly version of the product as well. If you’re struggling for ideas then finding five bucks and spending five minutes to buy and download is easy and worthwhile.
Having said that the production is professional I think The Brood has been too ambitious with the formatting. It’s too hard to read. The on screen version uses a light shadow effect font, annoyingly in all capital letters, printed over a nearly as dark water mark. Admittedly this isn’t the sort of product which you need to consult and refer to often. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t have to squint to read it. The printer friendly version is friendly on the printer, but uses the same font, is in all capital letters and is just as hard to read.
It’s also worth noting that there’s not quite twenty full Quick Shots too. The 12th entry (surely the 13th would have made more sense) is a joke blank. The “what happens” set up is that the party needs something to do and one variant would when the author wasn’t lazy and actually finished the slot. I quite like the cheeky humour!
Quick Shots: Mission Bravo has a transatlantic language issue. This reviewer is Scottish and doesn’t understand the flavour text. It’s utterly incomprehensible to me but I gather its gangster talk.
“No jive, T-dog, check it; she took me to her crib, and while the honey went to get ready for me to smack that monkey, I went to get a forty, and all that was in her fridge was a fatty grippa old moldy grubs. I bailed.”
“Yeah, the brother has a bomb ride, H-Honey.”
“Gimme yer bling-bling, fool!”
The flavour text is based around the same group of characters and it tends to be just one of them who talks like this. That helps you work out who’s saying what. These same characters are presented at the back of the PDF as iconic NPCs. You’re given backgrounds but not stats – and that’s the way I’d prefer it, though I suspect many people downloading a PDF of quickie GM assistance would expect to get fully statted NPCs.
There’s more luck with the monsters. Bravo has rules for Alley Stalkers, Skinstealers and Giant Ants. The Alley Stalkers and Skinstealers fit in well with Urban Arcana. These are horrors which could easily hide in a modern society without the inspiration to see them.
You really do need Urban Arcana for this issue of Quick Shots. Many of the encounters are based around the idea that some of the characters can see the monster but pretty much no one else can. Kobolds which look like kids are especially hard for a combat orientated group to deal with without the SWAT teams getting involved.
Combat is a constant threat in these encounters and sometimes the balance is dangerously off. Some of these quick shots could prove to be quite fatal. That’s not what I want from this product. I want delays and distractions until I can continue the planned game. I don’t want to finish the game.
Perhaps the single biggest plus in Quick Shots: Mission File Bravo is the inclusion of the Shadow Sorcerer as an Advanced Class. There’s a full spell list and that’s good. Too often new magic users, even in fantasy settings, are introduced without spell lists.
The Bravo in the title, by the way, implies a sequel. The original is Quick Shots: Mission File Alpha which was published under the EN Publishing partnership. I prefer Quick Shots Alpha to Bravo. The second edition does what it says it’ll do – provide those last minute encounters. It’s an up and down journey from there. It’s good that there are added variants but bad that we struggle to read it. It’s good that the product isn’t designed for dim thirteen year olds but bad that it doesn’t get the new balance right. It’s good that we’ve new monsters and an advanced class but bad that the encounters aren’t quite at the level of quick shot distractions or mini-games. That last point is the single most important catch. You can use Bravo but you’d need to have read it before hand and can’t really use it in a hurry. With that there’s a danger of defeating the purpose of the product.