A Review of the Role Playing Game Supplement Wisdom from the Wastelands #52: Nanotech Undead

Wisdom from the Wastelands #52: Nanotech Undead is a role playing game supplement published by Skirmisher Publishing for use with the Mutant Future system. As such, the supplement is covered by the Open Game License with some of it being Open Game Content as a result (unfortunately, this does not appear to be much of the supplement). This is a bestiary of technological undead.

The supplement is available as a PDF from RPGNow for $2.99 but it is also included in the Wisdom from the Wastelands ‘Nanotech’ Bundle for $1.99, which contains all the nanotech issues and was how it was purchased, as well as the complete Wisdom from the Wastelands Issues 1-52 Bundle for $27.74. This is a 29 page bookmarked PDF of which one page is the front cover, one page the Open Game License and front matter, one page an ad for other products and one final full page illustration that effectively serves as a rear cover.

Wisdom from the Wastelands #52: Nanotech UndeadThe supplement begins with a brief overview of the undead and how they were created using robotic and organic nanites.

Section 1: General Traits covers general Undead Traits, and they are immune to quite a number of things, and Alignment; their creation makes the majority of them animalistic and neutral, but the exception tends to be the intelligent undead. A sidebar mentions issues #28, #30 and #31, which covered nanotechnology; it says that these supplements are not essential but are useful.

Section 2: Transmission, Incubation and Treatment explains how the nanite infections are spread from an undead to a new creature, how infections incubate and how they can be treated. Some things in this section, and the prior one, may be supplanted in different undead types.

Section 3: Wider Context has Nanotech Undead Hazards, where areas become hazardous due to an infestation of nanites that create undead, and how the undead interact with other monsters.

The rest of the book is the descriptions of the actual undead. These are not undead in the traditional, fantasy RPG sense, so cleric turning will not help. Instead, this is an alphabetical list of the dead that have been reanimated through advanced technology. Some of the undead types are “traditional” undead, such as the Banshee and Ghoul, but high-tech versions of such, many created by terror organisations.

Wisdom from the Wastelands #52: Nanotech Undead in Review

The PDF is decently bookmarked with the three main sections linked as well as each undead creature and their supplementary tables. The bookmarking could have been slightly better by including the subsections and it also lacks a table of contents. Navigation is as a result above average but it could have been better.

The text, apart from an introductory paragraph, maintains a two column format. Although the majority of the book is free from errors, towards the end a few do creep in, including a monster that is out of order alphabetically. The biggest issue would seem to be regarding a monster called the Walking Dead. This would sound to be a fairly traditional zombie movie undead, and it is frequently referenced in many other monster descriptions – but it isn’t actually described itself. It would seem that the monster has been left out of the book.

There are a number of images, and there are images for all of the undead, but these would all appear to be converted from stock photos and other images, which have then been tweaked to make them more like an illustration.

The majority of these creatures are, as stated, dangerous and should be considered to be high-level monsters. Even though many of these undead are effectively mindless and not actually “evil” they are really, really dangerous. The transmission method makes fighting these up close and personal extremely hazardous – there is a good chance that anyone fighting one of these monsters in hand to hand is going to end up infected and some explode spreading their nanites everywhere if killed.

There is a nice range of new monsters and variations on the traditional undead, but they should probably not be overused. A prevalence of these creatures has, if taken to the logical extreme, the definite potential to trash any setting. Infection is far too easy and the monsters are far too difficult to safely kill – or, in some cases, even detect – to risk overusing these.

The supplement references the previous three nanotechnology issues of Wisdom from the Wastelands, #28, #30 and #31, but it also makes reference to issues #1, #11 and #22. The other nanotechnology supplements are probably required; the other three referenced are less important.

Wisdom from the Wastelands #52: Nanotech Undead is a good and interesting collection of new creatures and can be found by clicking here.


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