Categorized | RPGs

Serpent Scales: Happiness is a Sten Gun Review

Posted on April 12, 2010 by spikexan

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    I reviewed the Savage Worlds edition of The Day After Ragnarok a few months back.  As a fan of bleak settings, Kenneth Hite’s dark little world is a contender.  Atomic Overmind Press now releases Serpent Scales, which are meaty bits that focus on a specific (and I mean specific) aspect of that world.  In this review, Hite takes on the British Sten Gun, which may be most deadly to its user.

    I’m going to combine layout and artwork today.  I mostly liked the layout with the exception of a sidebar on page two.  The sidebar could have been a bit darker for readers.  I was reading about the gun, hit the sidebar, clicked to the next page to find more about the gun.  It was only then that I realized I hit a sidebar instead of a new section of the booklet.  I otherwise like the font choices and rich look of the PDF.  The artwork consists of (I’m assuming) footage photos and authentic sketches.  All of these make much more sense than having someone sketch out a picture or two.  Readers planning on using this weapon will be able to detail it perfectly thanks to this PDF.

    What you get with this PDF is six pages with so very little wasted space.  Yes, there are some credits squeezed in at the end for obvious reasons, but that accounts for a third of the last page.  Hite has this ability to write so densely that six pages feels like much more.  You leave this feeling educated.  It’s damn hard not to learn something from him.

    After Hite’s history lesson, he offers some fun (and dirty) little rules for the Savage Worlds setting.  This is easily my favorite part of the PDF.  I don’t know why I enjoy accidental kills and attacks in Savage Worlds so much, but botches get equal amounts of laughs and groans at my game table.  This gun comes equipped with so many problems that only the most confident (or foolish) of players would want to run with it.  I’ll offer one example.  Hite gives the gun the flaw of “bump fire.”  He writes that:

    A stealth roll of 1 by a hero (or NPC) carrying a Sten gun means the gun fires off a round–possibly into an ally!

    Cue laughs and groans.  The gun is riddled with multiple problems like these, a fact that endears it to me.

    All in all, this is an inexpensive expansion to The Day After Ragnarok corebook (it’s actually number two in the series) and totally worth the meager cost at under two bucks.  I’m giving this PDF the following scores:

    Layout/Artwork: Four out of Five Dice (a bit richer background coloring would be nice)
    Writing: Five out of Five Dice (educational and fun)
    Overall: Five out of Five Dice (so much in such little space)

    Review by Todd Cash

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