Several of the us who participated in the Eclectic Bastionjam are doing a showcase where we take a look and write about each-others works. For the showcase I will be speaking and thinking about Ossie's hack The Diabolical Dossier.
The hack is very tightly written, focusing primarily on the rules, guidelines for enemies, and a list of backgrounds. From the start we get a nice list of 'media touchstones' (excellent term) along with an evocative description of the setting. The hack is descried as a 'Supernatural Espionage RPG' and the term fits well.
- Theres a nice little skill system that is essentially a codified way for players to know what their characters are good at. Reminds me a bit of Troika's skills.
- Simple chase rules. Im divided on this and would have to see it in play in order to get a good read on how well they work.
- Very simple progression tied to the skill system. Would be nice to maybe give this a bit more meat with some info on how this might go diametrically within game.
- Enemies are divided into Pawns, Knights, and Kings with each fitting into a sort of 'archetype' with Pawns being your typical throwaway goons whereas Kings fit more for Dracula type bosses.
- An evocative (if short) list of anomalous items.
- A 'birthing beasts' section on design monsters with some okay examples. This could have been a bit more substantial in my opinion. Maybe not a full bestiary, but a micro-bestiary or sample adventure would have been nice to get a bit more 'feel' for the setting.
These are the highlight of the game for me, a d66 list of character backgrounds that provide some skills and tidy explanations for what dragged them into the supernatural world. Comes with such delightful entries as 'Birdwatcher' and 'Suspicious Widow'.
The entries do a wonderful job of fleshing out the setting and giving you a sense of who the players characters are going to be. I would love if in a future edition they came with their own little portraitures.
A good amount of content for only 13 pages. I could defiantly see myself using those backgrounds and some of the rules in my games. Biggest criticism is that it could do with more setting detail. Perhaps a sample adventure or some thematic in-game documents. For example, I would love to know more about the Institute and how that slots in with the players.
Overall I liked it and am eager to see what's in those redacted sections of the Diabolical Dossier.