Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Reviews: Victorian Era Games, LPJ Design Edition

I love Victorian Era games.  I own most of the classics and many of the non-classics in dead tree versions and nearly everything on PDF.  I am a tad bit obsessive.  But I also play most of these games too.  It is just a fun time to play in.

Here are a few that I have enjoyed, but have not talked about much.  First up a few from LPJ Design.  These were released in the d20 days and have been retooled for Pathfinder.

Victorian Age Feats
14 pages of new feats (12 of content and 2 of OGL).  While there is a Victorian sensibility to these, most, if not all could be used in Pathfinder or d20 Modern.   In particular I liked the Astrology, Bookworm, Charmed, Empathy, Expert Healer and Look Harmless feats.  Others like Puritan Witchfinder might be more suited for 200 years before the Victorian times. A bit of a different feel to feats which I like.  With a price of under 2 bucks this is a pretty good deal really.

Victorian Age Feats 2
Like Victorian Age Feats, this product is 14 pages (11.5 for content, 2.5 for OGL). It offers a wide variety of interesting feats to use with your d20/Pathfinder based game.  Again what strikes me the most about these is how well they work with Pathfinder out of the box.  A minor quibble though. Some of the feats are related to guns, this is fine, but the Victorian era saw a wide variety in technology related to firearms.  The "Rip a Clip" feat is fine, but only useful for firearms created after 1890 (near the end of the era).  Also not appropriate for Pathfinder even with the Gunslinger (but that is not a strike against this product).
For under 2 bucks it is a good deal, but I didn't like it as much as the first.

Victorian Horrors: Jack the Ripper
It is very difficult to talk about the late Victorian period and NOT mention Jack the Ripper.  This 6 page PDF covers how to use Jack in your games and assumes that he will be an adversary of the Characters.  Two possible means of link Jack to the PCs as a nemesis are discussed.   Some detail is given on the public and police reaction to the Ripper case.  Some basic d20 crunch is given to help move the players along.  
Stats are given for Jack the Ripper (d20 Modern) and some ideas are given based on the level of magic in your games.
The text of the "Jack the Ripper letters" are reproduced.
While I think this is a good starting effort a lot more could have been done.  For example a time-line of the Ripper case should have been included and the names of his victims.  Also a map of the killings would have been extremely helpful.  While all of this is readily available, that is also the exact reason why it should have been included.  As it stands this is just a PDF of a potential threat to the PCs with not much in it that says it is Jack the Ripper.

Victorian Horrors: Martian Invaders
A much better effort here than the Jack the Ripper product.  This details the Martian invasion ala H.G. Wells.  This product details the Martians, their crafts and their technology.   Though curiously missing are stats for the Martian alien themselves.  Also while the inspiration is obviously Wells, he is not mentioned in this product.  Quotes from the War of the Worlds text would have also been nice.  Plus there is not much here that says "Victorian" to me.  This could have been about the Wells book or the classic 1953 movie.  Actually it seemed more similar to "Day of the Triffids" to me.
7 pages, 6 of content, 1 of OGL.

All four of these are available in the D20 Victorian Era Bundle from LPJ.


Chris A. Field said...

Actually, the Puritan Witchhunter feat was from a D20 Modern class book I did based pretty loosely on Solomon Kane. A lot of the Victorian Feats content was simply material culled from other freelance books I was doing for Louis at the time. It was all pretty early in my career.

Timothy S. Brannan said...

Yes. These are all from the dawn of the d20 ages.