A Review of the Role Playing Game Supplement Comic Book Adventures

Comic Book Adventures by Robert Hemminger is a role playing game supplement published by the Avalon Game Company. This is a solo version of Avalon’s Heroes Wear Masks system, itself a superhero derivative of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. As such, it is covered by the Open Game License and some of it is considered to be Open Game Content as a result.

The supplement is available from RPGNow at the regular price of $14.99 but was purchased at the greatly reduced price of $1. The supplement actually consists of several different files.

Comic Book AdventuresComic Book Adventures

This is the main PDF and has 54 pages. Of these, one is the colour front cover, one the front matter, one the Contents, one the Open Game License and one is a page of ads for other supplements. There is also a printer friendly version of this PDF, which is in black and white, lacks the page backgrounds and internal images and is two pages shorter as it lacks the OGL and ads.

This starts with Game Play, which essentially covers the various differences between solo and normal play. There are such things as Hero Points, which are probably similar to such as Fate Points in concept, that can be used to help or prevent the death of the character.

There is also the Patrol Chart, which is rolled at the start of a new issue to determine random events. These are then split into different types, from ordinary villains to supervillains, which are then subdivided further. At around 36 pages, these take up the majority of the book. Each event gives some general details and potential outcomes; quite a lot of events are pretty similar in design, some having exactly the same text.

Finally, there are five pages of Chase Charts, which cover chases in different locations.

Mini-Mission BookMini-Mission Book

This is a 45 page PDF of solo adventures. One page is the colour front cover, one page the front matter, one page the Contents and there are five pages of colour battlemaps. There is also a 40 page printer friendly version which lacks the colour illustrations and page backgrounds, has a black and white cover and lacks the five pages of battlemaps.

It starts with Getting Started, with the adventures designed for first level characters and the mission book leading on to Comic Book Adventures, Mission Book 1.

Next is Contacts and Informants. These are acquired through the course of missions completed, and provide more missions once they are gained. There is also a map of Hero City, where the adventures take place; this is simply divided into major areas.

Then there are the 15 missions themselves. These are often in mission chains; if a mission is failed, any missions that would follow it tend not to be doable. Each mission has details on the rewards, small battlemaps as appropriate, and consequences for success and failure.

NPC Heroes are six NPC superheroes who can assist the player. These can be encountered in missions and, once acquired, can advance in level and be called on for help.

Supplementary Files

A 46 page PDF consisting of 41 numbered battle tiles, followed by various items such as vehicles and scenery, all in full colour.

A 2 page PDF having 2 full colour battle tiles.

A single page PDF, the Mission Record Sheet, which is used to keep track of a character – this is supplementary to a character sheet; it does not replace it.

Comic Book Adventures in Review

Both the main PDFs are bookmarked to a useful level, and both have a table of contents to a similar level of detail. Navigation is therefore fairly decent.

The text is mostly in a two column format but occasionally switches to single column for some reason. There are a few errors in the text but the biggest problem is where these errors appear to be, in the main book, such as missing results from tables or modifiers. The Mini-Mission Book has quite a lot of errors, largely grammatical in nature, more than the main rulebook. This is not uncommon in Avalon products.

The artwork is also pretty typical for Avalon products; the images of superheroes will not be to everybody’s tastes, and don’t look quite as professional as that in some of the other superhero games. The included battlemaps look better and should be useful.

The concept of the game is pretty decent. It isn’t standalone – Heroes Wear Masks is needed, as are some Pathfinder materials – but being able to play such a game as an individual is something that is pretty lacking. So this does fill a niche. It expands and alters the rules from the Heroes Wear Masks core rulebook so that a single player can play such a game by themselves.

As well as the included Mini-Mission Book, there are a number of other Mission Books available, allowing a solo campaign to be played. Perhaps more material would be good. This supplement is, at full price, a little on the expensive side, considering how short the main PDF is (also not uncommon from this publisher), although the supplementary material, especially the Mini-Mission Book, do make it better value for money. This is not the best presented supplement around but, if you have Heroes Wear Masks and want to try solo play, it’s worth picking up at a discount. Comic Book Adventures can be found by clicking here.

 

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