02 July, 2015

Game Chef Review 29: Law & Order & The Otherworld by Steve Johnson

Law & Order & The Otherworld

Ingredients: 8 [Dragonfly (4), Dream (4)]
The use of the dragonfly and the dream are on lar with many of the better entries I've seen using those ingredients so far. The Dragonfly as a tulpa (vaguely conscious dream spirit manifest through the willpower of a conscious beings subconscious thought), and linking that notion to primal dragofly beliefs is clever, as is the idea of tracking the recently departed through a dreamscape. There are a few stretches, but most game settings do have a few stretches in them.

Theme: 3
This game reads and feels more like a supplement for an existing game, allowing it to expand a modern fantasy setting into a dreamscape (though it could arguably be used to expand any setting into it's associated dreamscape). The way I see it this isn't really giving us a different audience, but offering new choices to an existing audience.

Would I Play This?: 4
I'd add this to an existing campaign as a one off, or maybe as a variant way to get things done, but I don't think I'd play it straight out in its own right. This isn't a controversial stand to take, because it's basically suggested by the designer.

Completeness: 5
As I suggested earlier, this doesn't feel so much like a full game as it feels like an expansion for an existing game (possibly the QAGS system mentioned by the designer at one point in the text). This is a shame, because at 9 pages of fairly solid text this is one of the more comprehensive entrants I've encountered in the reviews so far. The biggest problem is that it just feels like there is so much more that could have been. The dreamscape description is vague and could be detailed further, and a lot more information could be given on the way characters interact with the dreamscape, or with the recently departed. It feels like a good start with systems chunks attached to it, but not quite there.

Innovation: 3
I've seen plenty of setting books like this before, I've written plenty for myself. This has a few nice ideas scattered through it that could easily be adapted to other systems, but it seems pretty crude on its own.

Output Quality: 5 [Language (3), Layout (2), Imagery (0)]
The language is functional and typical of much roleplaying text, the layout is similarly fnction and contains all of the typical things you's expect to find in such a text (titles, bullet points, etc.) It could do with some play examples. No imagery at all.

Overall: 52% Pass [24+6+4+10+3+5]
I wanted to like this one more than I did, especially after reading "All Hail Bugtopia!", but it just fell flat for me.
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