Thursday, October 15, 2015

Review & Commentary On 'Have Death Ray, Will Travel' From Magic Pig Media For the White Star Rpg System

I received the pdf of Have Death Ray, Will Travel  From Magic Pig Media for the White Star Rpg retroclone system as a pulp crossover point product three days ago. There's a whole campaigns feel here turned into forty five pages of material with some public domain sci fi comic book material used as the artwork for the book.
Because White Star takes a lot of its P's & Q's from Star Wars and basically Star Wars derivatives much of its material from pulp magazines, properties, and comic books Magic Pig Media has tapped into that vein with 'Have Death Ray Will Travel'. The material here really taps into a specific form of pulp namely the post war WWII years from 1949 and onward. It describes itself as, 'The year is 1999 and a new millennium is on the horizon. Mankind has colonized outer space. Lunar City is a bustling metropolis. Earth has found new allies with the Martians and Venusians.  The Solar System is filled with mysteries, danger, and adventure!'

The setting material here is fine but dials back the interstellar action into a localized pulp solar system and Earth has expanded into the local Sol system. There's a great retro future feel to 'Have Death Ray, Will Travel' lends itself to any number of options but comes with its own built in campaign setting. Includes two new classes (Scientist and Gunfighter), ten new ships and over 30 monsters and foes, and an introductory adventure: Lost Mines of the Brain Masters. And it all seems to work very well for what it does which is emulates a very specific period in pulp history. Your party is going to be  adventurers who roam the solar system solving problems, righting wrongs, and vanquishing futuristic supervillains and monsters. All of the planets of the solar system, and many of the moons and asteroids, are suitable for life, and most are already occupied by humanoid extraterrestrial races.
Magic Pig Media has tapped into the pulpy setting and weird aspects of the science fantasy space western in a way and it works on many levels. Here's where Have Death Ray, Will Travel shines:
  •  Have Death Ray, Will Travel is great for designing out a pick up game of White Star in a pulpy  Earth based solar system. There's lots of potential for campaign play in the limited sphere of Earth's solar system. 
  • The retro future sci fi elements have plenty of material built right into the back end of this so that a clever DM could incorporate the pulp elements of this product into an existing White Star campaign ie alternative Earth solar system slotted into existing White Star Campaigns. 
  •  File off all of the campaign and setting elements of the two new classes (Scientist and Gunfighter), ten new ships and over 30 monsters and foes, and an introductory adventure: Lost Mines of the Brain Masters to make them your own. This is exactly what I'm going to do.

    Is Have Death Ray Will Travel worth getting? In a word yes but wait till Drivethrurpg has a sale. For me the 'Have Death Ray Will, Will Travel 'campaign setting and options means customization and lots of it. Because White Star is Swords and Wizardry based it makes this retro future setting a good solid contender to shoe horn into existing campaigns. This makes customizing the PC classes a snap because using the game elements of the product could show up in the most unlikely places say a dungeon or post apocalyptic ruin.  The governmental agencies of Have Death Ray will Travel could have agents operating across the planes.
    For example the inter system monsters and aliens   could with little effort be used in a Mutant Future Mazes and Mutants campaign providing the claw,  muscle and high tech alien assistance to mutant armed forces in the wastelands. For a Labyrinth Lord or Swords and Wizardry campaign the Mad Scientists or Brain Masters could be the power behind the throne of your favorite despotic rulers.
    For Hulks and Horrors these guys make a great opposition  for adventurers combing through the space hulks for treasure, artifacts, or more. For White Star or other OD&D retroclone style rpgs Have Death Ray, Will Travel has lots of potential such as filling in a middle management campaign product role.  My recommendation is to grab this one and use it to create some exciting pulp adventures for your White Star games.

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