This review covers:
Dark Days, week 1 - By Dilly Green Bean Games.
Writing, and Art by Jay Libby
Editing by Renee Libby
Review by Walt Robillard
SPOILERS: Some scenes may be spoiled by this review. If you are planning on playing in this adventure, read no further as the fun you save could be your own.
Dark days are coming my friends, at least for the heroes of the Guardian Universe. If you haven't been following the releases of Jay Libby's G-Core Role Playing Game, then you might not know what that is. G-Core is a modern take on a classic superhero rpg from the late 1980's. Updated with recent innovations for the modern gamer, G-Core does a nice job of bringing Four Color Action to the players for a very affordable price. You can check out my podcast review for the product here (http://www.hazardstudio.net/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/gcore.wav).
Dark Days, Week 1, is the first in a planned series of adventures from DGB Games set in their Guardian Universe. It does start off making some assumptions. It starts with you knowing about the Guardian Universe, in which most DGB Games are released. If this is your first DGB purchase other than G-Core, don't worry, the story is not hard to follow and if you are at least a minor fan of comics, you should be able to pick up on things fairly quickly. The scenario is also a good jumping on point for those who would like to play in the Guardian's Universe. There is just enough to tip the player's interest but not so much that folks will seem overwhelmed.
The adventure starts off with a broadcast press conference from Senator Orland Percy. The President of the United States is a Superhuman called Omega and although he has served his country, Percy is incensed that Omega has given a great deal of authority to superhumans as well as the Guardians (the premier super group.) Percy calls for all citizens to take to the streets and voice their displeasure over superhuman favoritism, the changing of the constitution, and for the ability to be protected from superhumans running amok.
This call to arms puts the heroes in the middle of a moral dilemma. Do they side with Percy and oppose the president in favor of democracy or do they support a pro Superhuman regime.
At this point it is not really clear what drives the PC's to get involved in such a fashion but citing curiosity, a few well placed calls indicate that a warehouse up for sale was bought by the Senator and he is going there to take possession. With curiosity as your rally cry, you decide to make a run to check things out. At this point you come to know that going anywhere near the warehouse is a tricky thing as it is in the middle of Chicago which has been declared a no "hero," no "superpowers" zone. In steps former good friend (so we are told) Dr. Apian (cool picture of this guy in the book). Apian has developed a masking unit that will hide your powers from the authorities (Something nasty called the EV Hunters... YAY). The down side to this is that it only works if you aren't using your powers (AWE C'MON!).
With masking units on and running you head to Chi-town. Based in the descriptions, Chi-town must also be a no fly zone as there are only "ground based" introductions describing coming into Chicago. With contacts furnished by interested parties you make your way into the heart of the Chicago underworld in order to investigate Percy and his agenda.
The adventure takes some interesting twists while you come up against a slew of enemies from the local Triads to Demonic Killer Clowns (I didn't see that one coming either). As the investigation unfolds, you soon learn that Percy and his warehouse have been at the center of a conspiracy that could threaten the USA and the world! A simple investigation into a potential political powder keg turns into a desperate fight for survival. All of this tension is further compounded that any display of power (or spandex) at all will nullify the power mask and call in the dreaded EV Hunters!
At it's very core, Dark Days: Week One starts off as a simple sneak and peek and turns into a run and gun style of adventure. The characters that you meet (many of whom come from previous G-Core releases), are fun and memorable. Some of the conflicts can be a bit of a challenge as any use of superhuman abilities will bring the EV Hunters in short order. This just calls for a "rise to the challenge" style of game play in which the PC's either get creative or get arrested.
This introductory adventure keeps the action and intrigue moving at a decent pace so the players are never bored. As the plot moves forward, the players will quickly realize that they are in for more than they bargained for. The ludicrous appearance of the enemies toward the end will certainly catch unwary players off their guard when they go for the take down.
While the story is fun and the art is very eye catching (much improved from the initial release of G-Core the RPG), Dark Days: Week One does suffer a couple of snags. There are times during the adventure that feels like the writer was trying to craft a story rather than an RPG adventure. At key points, failure to do as directed in the adventure ends "the ride" real quick with the PC's either going to jail or with the player pulling out the g-core rule book to craft a new character. Another sticking point for the adventure is that it relies very heavily on other G-Core releases to build back story and uses characters from those releases to corral players into going the "right" direction.
These minor points aside, this adventure has a lot of potential for crafting an interesting story where the players find out about a heinous evil while not being able to do much about it overtly due to the villain's position both socially and geographically. The tension is made almost palpable in that the PC's have to rely on wits, allies, and more to go toe to toe with the villains as the use of their powers will mark them for capture or worse.
With so much potential for mayhem and the ability to throw a monkey wrench into the gears that are the players, G-core game masters should seriously consider picking up Dark Days: Week One.