Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Hulks and Horrors - Basic Black Edition - Review And Commentary

Hulks and Horrors clocks in at 156 pages of deadly little throwback rpg action. Except one problem. This isn't a throw back rpg at all. Don't let the great back story or weird space opera background fool you. This is actually a total re skinning of the game you love into something very deadly. 

Hulks and Horrors - Basic Black Edition

Heart Of The Game 
The game has a very snap to character generation system and its good for a pickup game and the background is pure dungeoneering in space. The background is nice and solid. The rules are useful except for one very glaring problem with them.
As it was point out in a Drive thru rpg review by Benjamin M. 
"I could wish that they had at least run the levels to ten, but six is a nice level. I feel that they could differentiated the skills of the races a bit better for the players if they where going back to the old school style game design, but I also see that most current players will never stand for that level of focus." You can read more of that HERE

I understand the why this was done and it makes the rules very useful as a pickup game but not for long term for my players.
However that being said there are some very interesting ideas in this game. The appendix, background, and monsters are very well done. Four stars for those. The solar system, planet generation, and what have you.
 Race as class and more. There are some really nice little weapons, equipment, and what have you. 

Plot And Blurb From Drivethru 
We are not alone in the Universe, but we have few friends. As we emerged on the galactic stage, we found a universe stripped bare of sentient life by a great Plague, leaving only the wild beasts and twisted plague horrors wandering the ruined hulks of lost civilizations.
We are the Surveyors. We explore the uncharted sectors of space and hunt these ruins for the treasures they contain and the riches they might bring to what sentient life remains. We are not brave, merely foolhardy and desperate. Those who survive become rich beyond dreams. Very few survive. Hulks & Horrors is a science-fiction roleplaying game of galactic exploration and adventure for 2 or more players ages 13 and up. Inside you will find:
• Complete rules for characters up to Level 6 and beyond
• 7 character classes: Pilot, Scientist, Soldier, Psyker, Hovering Squid, Omega Reticulan, and Bearman.
• Easy to learn old-school inspired game rules and combat system
• Weapons, armor, and equipment inspired by classic science-fiction
• Spaceship construction and combat rules
• Random tables for creating whole sectors of space
• Loot generation rules
• Dozens of alien monsters as well as guides for designing your own
• Dungeon-mastering advice for sandbox space exploration
• Optional rules for customizing Hulks & Horrors

Where the game shines 
• Loot generation rules - These are very well done and other games could certainly take a nod from these. 
• Dozens of alien monsters as well as guides for designing your own - Also nicely done. 
• Dungeon-mastering advice for sandbox space exploration - These could have been expanded and given a bit more fleshing out. 
• Optional rules for customizing Hulks & Horrors -This part is very old school and that's great and these really really could have been incorporated more of the background into them. 

This is a great afternoon game but is it good and solid for long term campaign play? Yes if the DM is going to invest time, creation, and worth to put into for a long term campaign which is then going to hit the glass ceiling of the character levels.
Bottom line is that this the basic edition of Hulks and Horrors that's selling for 10.00 on DriveThrurpg. com akin to OD&D with all of the pulpy goodness your expecting.

There is one other great little feature to this game that makes it different from others. You can easily convert it from any retroclone into and back again, Not that I said that but you get the idea. 

Bottom line in my humble opinion? Wait till it goes on sale and then grab it. I got the free edition and printed it out. Its a solid game in the old school tradition. 
 I liked it but your mileage may vary. I'll dig in deeper into the game soon.
 Get the game right over HERE


  1. As I said in the email, thanks for posting this review! Definitely need to check it out. I noticed at Drivethough rpg the pdf and book were only $20 combined.

  2. Yeah the $20 combined edition might be the route to go but really it felt like there was more to the game then just the "basic edition". Almost as if there was more game or an "advanced companion" waiting in the wings. I would have been very curious to see more of the advanced rules.
    The black edition has more then enough to get the average campaign off the ground and sustain it for a couple of months maybe even a year or so. The background and extra appendixes are really where this shines. Bottom line, I'd like to see or create more filler for the game.
    Thanks Maedar Antocus!


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