Magazine Review: d6 Magazine Issue #2

Just a few weeks ago, the second issue of d6 Magazine was made available on the d6 Magazine website. And again, I’m wowed by the cover, which is always a good sign. Issue 2 is not quite as long as Issue 1, but still full of creative goodies for your Open D6 gaming needs from a variety of sources. J.Elliot Streeter of Wicked North Games pulled together a solid 33 pages of content this go-round, with two science-fiction themed articles and two fantasy-themed articles for a nice overall balance from a few writers.

From Blue Max Studios, we have “The Black Desert – Excerpt #2: Robots,” a science-fiction article focusing on – you guessed it – robots! The whole thing reads a bit like a sales pitch for the company behind Discovery One, the spaceship from 2001: A Space Odyssey. And I actually love that spin, as it quickly drew me into the setting where I knew robots were a normal part of daily existence. “The Black Desert” in this context is of course the emptiness of outer space where space is in great abundance and islands in the void are far and few between. So having a few robots to handle anything outside your craft might save you from an accidental (and fatal) decompression if a micro-meteor were to punch through your suit or conditions you’d rather not submit yourself to (i.e. toxic atmospheres, radiation, extreme heat or cold, and so on). Somehow I think I’d buy more than a few robots for any journey I was undertaking in the depths of space…

The article goes on to describe the three main types of robots – automatons (typically stationary ‘bots that are only programmed for a single task), teleroids (mobile bots with humanoid frames much more flexible than their stationary counterparts), and anthroids (humanoid robots built to resemble humans with even more capability than the other two types). Each type is described in detail, with basic rules for creation as well as examples with predefined stat blocks. Also included are a few cool pictures of an Astro-Bot (teleroid) and a Siberian Imperial Robotics Institute basic anthroid to give a bit of flavor.

If this is the sort of content that will be available for The Black Desert, I suspect they’ll have a successful product launch on their hands.

Next up, from Mike Fraley, is “Graiv’s Magical Curiosities: A shop of useless magical items.” Poor Graiv may be at the end of his life trying to pawn off his remaining items before he passes into the next life… But I’m always fascinated by “useless” magic items. Usually my characters can find uses for them the GM may not approve of right away. For example, Graiv’s “Great Razor” which causes thick natural looking hair to grow 6-12 inches anywhere you shave with it… If I had a thief, he might use it to help disguise his appearance before or after a robbery. Or perhaps the “Pacifist Dagger” could be used in a scam on the street…

But I love the creativity inherent in these one-off kind of items. They’re not the kind of thing a magic shop would ever have more than one of, and if you’re a clever GM you can include all kinds of off-the-wall items in your magic shops to both help and hinder your PCs depending on how creative your players are. Great article.

The third article is from Raymond McVey called “Cinnamon and The MaCO” – which hits me like something out of Firefly or a back-woods Star Wars campaign. Spacecraft with character are one of those things that can really make a space-based campaign come to life. There may be a few Enterprise- or Firefly-class ships running around, but there’s only one Millenium Falcon and only one Serenity. The MaCO is a personal ship for a Bothan slicer known as “Cinnamon.” Not only can Cinnamon do all her business from on-board her specially customized Monarch-class Courier ship, but if you mess with her you’ll end up getting shot at from the turret installed on her bow. All I can say is don’t mess with this woman – she’s going to make your life a living hell…

Lastly is an Azamar adventure called “Broken Wand” written by J. Elliot Streeter himself. The adventure, like Azamar uses the Cinema6 rules that are based on the Open D6 OGL. The intro gives you a high-level view of the system and character creation steps, and then you dive into the story of the Dragon Eyes. These are rare and dangerous gems containing a great deal of destructed magical force that when detonated can destroy cities and more. This is the fantasy equivalent of a backpack nuclear device. If one of these gems gets into the wrong hands… The damage could be incalculable.

Enter the player characters. They have been elected to go after a group of thieves who stole one of these gemstones en route to a secure vault. Mission Impossible-style, the PC’s mission – find the gemstone and return it to the town Elders. Simple enough, right? The mission will take them into troll territory and force them to deal with the a group of orcs who have their own goals for the gemstone… Sure, like any impossible mission is ever simple!

Really, I think though there are fewer articles in Issue #2 of d6 Magazine, it’s just as full of content as the last one. And whether you’re looking for ideas for your sci-fi campaign or a fantasy adventure, you’re bound to find something you can use within these pages. And it’s free! So you can’t beat the price.

If I have one complaint about the magazine, it’s that the layout may have been done in Microsoft Word. With more consistency in the layout, better use of white space and headers, page numbers, and an inner cover mentioning authors, artists, and company websites for the content included, it would have been a little more complete. But the content more than makes up for any layout issues.

Be sure to keep an eye out for the next issue of d6 Magazine, check out Wicked North Games for more about the Cinema6 system, their D6 Unleashed project, and Azamar, and check out the Blue Max Studios blog for more about The Black Desert!

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