Review: Bulldogs Adventures and Pregens

Posted: 10 April 2013 in Reviews

When I reviewed Bulldogs! last week, I mentioned that the rulebook contained neither pregenerated characters nor an example scenario, but that both were available as free downloads; and I promised to review them. So, here goes. They look like they were all intended for convention games, probably as part of the game’s launch.

PRE-GENERATED CHARACTERS

These are available on the publisher’s website, along with a form-fillable PDF character sheet. Each sheet has selections that let you change the skill cap and power level, so you can play the same character as Fresh Meat, Trouble, Hard Boiled or Serious Badass. I couldn’t figure out how to get changing those to update the rest of the form, but that’s probably just me. The characters are:

  • The Black Watch, the ship
  • Jocaar Laf’t, the captain (NPC)
  • Badd, Urseminite Cook
  • Gloop, Tetshuashan Systems Tech
  • Big Brunda Margab, Hackragorkan Cargo Loader
  • Talus Mrioc, Dolom Engineer
  • Nightingale5000-D21, Robot Medic
  • Prbrawl awp Yawrl, Ryjyllian Pilot
  • Annabelle Quin, Arsubaran Co-Pilot
  • Shsss hatched for the Shul Clan, Saldrallan Gunner.
  • Sparkle Twist, Ken Reeg Procurement Specialist

ADVENTURES

There are five of these freely available on the web; I got mine from RPGNow. They share the clean, simple layout and comic-book illustration style of the core rulebook.

Each contains the same main sections; an explanation of how Bulldogs! scenarios are intended to be run, an introduction to be paraphrased to the players, a series of obstacles they must overcome to succeed in their mission, and stats for any NPCs or creatures encountered.

The introduction is generally along the lines of "the despatcher gives you this crate to deliver, and by the expressions on his face he doesn’t expect you to come back".

As Bulldogs! PCs apparently go off-piste sooner and more often even than normal PCs, there’s no real attempt to provide a sequence of events after that. The half-dozen obstacles are presented in the order the designer thinks the typical group will encounter them, but the GM is encouraged to change the sequence or even number of obstacles depending on the progress the PCs are making and what decisions they’ve taken. That’s a pretty good approach and I recommend it for any RPG.

In the NPCs section, a different set of stats is provided for each possible PC "rank" – Fresh Meat, Trouble, Hard-Boiled, or Serious Badass – so that the GM can scale the opposition to match the party.

The adventures are:

  • Astrozombies Must Die: In which the PCs go looking for another of their employer’s ships, overdue and declared missing. I think you can probably guess what happened to it.
  • Ghost Pirates of the Bandeth Sector: Here, the crew must deliver a container to someone who doesn’t actually exist. Tricky.
  • Jaws of the Barracado: Even the nastiest bunch of space pirates around needs supplies sometimes. Who better to deliver them than the PCs?
  • Pleasure Planet: A retired Templar charters the PCs’ ship to take him to the legendary Pleasure Planet, assuming it exists. Will they find it, or will they strangle him when they realise what a pain he is?
  • Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Bulldogs: Why does the Navy want the PCs to deliver a crate to one of their bases? Best not to ask, you know you’re not going to like the answer.
  • Stormy Weather: This delivery turns out to coincide with a rebellion. And of course everyone wants that crate.

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5, does the job. Hmm. I wonder what would happen if I Savaged this game and blended it with Daring Tales of the Space Lanes? Hijinks would ensue, I’m sure. It would be pretty straightforward to drop all of the Tales into Bulldogs’ Frontier Zone.

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