Hey all, it’s that time of the year again. Getting close to the holidays, cold weather out, and gifts for all. And in the spirit of giving, I decided I’d be doing some smaller “mini-reviews” of free d20 Modern pop culture-based sourcebooks from Michael Tresca, whose work with RPObjects I’ve already reviewed before on this site. For our first installment, I’ll be looking at Aliens: Game Over and Predator: Cazador de Trofoes.
The Xenomorph Menace
As its name implies, Aliens: Game Over is a sourcebook for the Aliens franchise, including the four movies and the Dark Horse comics, amongst other things. If you’re unafmiliar with the setting, the title compensates for that via a timeline and a general campaign overview. Most likely, you’ll either be a space marine or working for one of the Corporations in an A:GO game, and will probably be playing a human. If you want a little extra flavor, though, you are given the option of two other playable species: the android Synthetics, and human-Xenomorph hybrids. While the former seems somewhat reasonable, I can’t help but imagine the latter causing conflict when interacting with a pure human team. I digress, though… For new occupations, the title gives you a “[Corporation] Employee” for members of the Aerodyne, BioNational, Central Space Consortium, Hyperdyne Systems, Neo-Pharm, New Eden, Tradex Consortium, and Weyland-Yutani Corporations. If you aren’t happy being a corporate drone, though, you could strike out alone against the cold universe with the Mercenary or Prisoner occupation, or get straight to the fight as a member of the Marines with the Auxiliary, Marine Garrison Infantry, Marine Line Infantry, Marine Officer, or Staff Officer occupations. There are also some feats and psionics, as well as weapons, armor, and equipment, but a chunk of this is reprinted d20 Future material, and the others are more interesting as flavor than discussion fuel, so we’ll move right along.
Like most d20 Modern expansions, there are advanced classes here for your perusal. While many of them are simply renamed SRD classes (such as renaming the Dogfighter the “Aerospace Pilot”), there are new advanced classes with the rough and tumble Hazardous Atmosphere and Radiation Detachments Specialist (HARD Specialist for short), the destructive Explosions Specialist, the most-likely-should-have-been-alternate-Soldier-class-features Machine Gun Specialist, the bonus feat-laden Navigator, and the motivational Starship Captain. They fit alright, but none of them besides the HARD Specialist and Starship Captain hugely stand out to me. After an overview of the planets of the Aliens-verse and a random mission generator, we get to my favorite chapter…that’s right, the bestiary. Obviously, the book mostly focuses on the titular Aliens, or “Xenomorphs” as some have dubbed them. All Xenomorphs are Outsiders that share blindsight, acidic blood and venom spew, electricity and cold resistance, invisibility to thermal detection, climbing, the ability to sense fear, and vulnerability to psionics, amongst other vicious venues. Stats are given for the CR 1 egg, facehugger, and chestburster phases of the immature alien, the CR 8 drone and CR 9 praetorian (queen guardian) adults, and the CR 6 to 10 growth phases of the queen. And if those aren’t enough monstrosities for you, there’s an Alien Hybrid template to create half-Xenomorph creatures. There are 11 given stats, ranging from something so mundane as a half-Xenomorph dog to the Alien-Terminator (yes, that Terminator) from the comic Aliens vs. Predator vs. the Terminator…no, I’m not making that title up, it actually exists. There are also some various flavor extraterrestrials from various sources such as the tentacled humanoid “space jockeys” and stats for a few different robots including a synthetic Xenomorph and those ever-popular sex gynoids. All in all, a fairly solid range of faces whether you want to fight the Xenomorphs themselves or something else in their galaxy.
The Power of the Predator
Okay, on to the second title, Predator: Cazador de Trofoes. The book starts has a similar layout to the previous one, starting out with setting fluff before heading to player information. Unlike A:GO, P:CdT only has two player options: you’re either human, or you’re a Predator (unless you decide to use the books together for the Aliens vs. Predators series, I guess). The new stuff given is mostly slated toward the latter, with the Alpha, Beta, Subordinate, Omega, and Lone Wolf occupations all Predator-only, the new items being Predator-focused, and the new advanced classes representing more Predator castes. If you’re a human, you get…well, a few weapons and one occupation, the Spearhead Mercenary, and that’s it. As for the bestiary section, it’s just a classless Predator, plus Predators with varying levels of Strong/Fast/Tough Hero combinations. Yeah, this one isn’t as strong as the previous title, and I’d imagine that it’s best used to tack onto A:GO for an AvP game.
For a free title, Aliens: Game Over is pretty darn nice, giving you a host of options and a good dose of monsters for you to use, and a rich alien history. Predator: Cazador de Trofoes, though…eh, I’d pretty much get it only if you want to do an Aliens vs. Predators game or reeeeally like the Predators. I give Aliens: Game Over an 8/10, and Predator: Cazador de Trofoes a 6/10.