Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Mini Review - Book 'Em! (Modern D20ish)

If you are a regular reader of this blog you probably have an idea that I am employed in Law Enforcement.  With that out of the way, how could I pass up on Book 'Em!, a short RPG product designed with the intent of letting the GM find out how the police investigation goes when the players go postal on someone's ass!  They will.  We all know it goes down that way.  It's the D&D training of "Go Forth & Kill & Take Their Shit!", but that's for another post at another time.

How does it succeed?  Well, it's a system.  It get's results.  Are the results realistic?  Uhm, it's a game, right?  Where does realism come in?

The thing is, there are so many modifiers and variables attached to the system that it sure as hell seems like the writer wants to go realistic.  At least, in depth, convoluted systems usually mean "attempted realism".  Then why does a highly competent police department potentially end investigations in 2 1/2 weeks, while the Mayberry Police will stick at it for months?  You get to roll each week for success, 2 successes are needed, more time means more successes.  Alright, I'm confusing myself here.

The resolution charts at the end help make sense of things, but even then, the results don't make sense to me.

I was hoping for more of a "what the PCs should expect" sort of product with a simple resolution system attached.  Instead, I got a convoluted system with no background depth attached to it.

Eh, maybe my issue is with more with the whole "roll for everything and everything with a roll" mentality that pervades 3.5 in its various incarnations.

From the blurb:

Ever wonder what happens when your players do something really bad and the cops get involved? Wonder no more! "Book 'Em!" provides the harried GM with a quick and easy means of figuring out how good the local police are at figuring out what the players did and to whom!

Designed for d20 systems with an eye on the contemporary rather than the fantasy, this simple system can be used with little or no alteration in nearly any game system.

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