Game: Quick Shots – Mission File Alpha
Publisher: E.N. Publishing
Review Dated: 29th, November 2003
Reviewer’s Rating: 6/10 [ On the ball ]
Total Score: 7
Average Score: 3.50
Quick Shots: Mission File Alpha is a cost effective collection of encounters from E.N. Publishing. There are 20 encounters, a gun, a big new monster (the Junkyard Golem) and some templates in the 40-paged PDF. This will cost you less than $5.
The encounters in Quick Shots are just that – they’re encounters. Some of the events will last just one scene, they’ll be the focus of the game and then they’ll pass. Other events, although not so common as the first, are unusual circumstances that’ll last a little while, shake things up for a bit and then fade. Almost every one of these later examples has an optional variant where the strange circumstances might persist a little longer or return later. Every encounter, every quick shot, has a couple of variant options. All the encounters are best suited to d20 modern or something similar. They’re not fantasy. The encounters might best be described as being X-Files like; there are supernatural overtones to most of them.
In one encounter the players might find themselves fighting an almost unstoppable junkyard golem, in another a PC might find himself haunted by teasing (and dead) girls on TV, another encounter has the PC tormented with pages from a dead loved one and another has the group of players pick up a ghost hitchhiker. In many cases the encounter simply dies off with a spooky twist in the tale if the PCs attempt to turn to the local authorities.
Good. I’m all for d20 support; Wizards of the Coast seem barely able to cater to their own product and there are a few third party publishers out there who are willing to help out. Quick Shots will be very useful for many d20 modern GMs. I’m not so happy about the accidental bias in the encounters. They’re all American. It doesn’t really matter if a fantasy game spells “armour” as “armor” but cultural differences to start to bite in Earth like settings. Here in the UK the average police car simply won’t have any guns in it. Cops certainly wont chase after PCs with guns drawn for simply speeding either and nor is it likely that player characters will find bullets and shotguns lying around. If you’re not playing your d20 game in modern America then you’re horribly restricted by what you can use in this issue of Quick Shots.
I like the idea of Quick Shots. I really think there’s bang for your buck here. Twenty separate encounters are just the sort of thing you can buy once and then use as emergency back-up for your d20 modern game. If you’ve not done enough preparation, if the players (bless their hearts) do something unexpected, or you’re looking for a scene to shake things around then you’ll be able to check this PDF. It’s an easy PDF to check since the screen version is simply but effectively bookmarked and the purchase comes complete with a printer version.
The PDF is pretty too. The screen version looks like a set of police files (lending to my X-Files comparison) that are “decorated” with coffee mug rings. It’s an especially appropriate joke to make given the state of many character sheets I’ve seen!
If you’re looking for spooky encounters for d20 Modern and in an American setting then Quick Shots: Mission Alpha really is tempting. Most of the encounters need a fairly specific set of events set up before they can get going, these specific events are fairly easy to engineer. You really do have to be willing to allow the supernatural into your campaign world though, many of the encounters in the PDF imply a whole set of world factors that you might not want to deal with. Whereas its pretty fun to imply the presence of an alternative and parallel dimension for one encounter you then have to face the possibility that players will take the encounter to be a seminal scene in the campaign and base all their future actions around the dimensional possibility. It needn’t be anything as potent as the alternative dimension either; it might simply be ghosts or ghouls. The three templates, for example, are ghost, modern ghoul and “deader”.