High Tech Heroes (2019)

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RPG Item: High Tech Heroes
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Publisher: Skortched Urf' Studios
Year: 2019
Electronic (PDF, DOC, eBook, HTML, etc.)
227 pages
Size: Letter
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From publisher blurb:

High Tech Heroes is a big, meaty sourcebook, filled with lots of new options. This sourcebook is organized into five chapters each built around a specific theme or campaign world.

Chapter One: High Tech Heroes

This chapter describes traits, feats and variant racial abilities designed for most military sci-fi and space opera campaigns. In addition to a ton of new abilities that directly interact with the new weapons, gadgets and the Cyborg player races in Technology Unleashed, these feats include totally new options for modern and near future adventurers. Forensic super-skills, a plethora of realistic military specialties and campaign-changing legislative powers are offered as discrete feat trees, allowing interested heroes to build some interesting heroes with unique abilities. Since the feats are fully modular, players uninterested in these new abilities never have to interact with that aspect of the game world.

Heroes from any of Otherverse Games’ signature campaign worlds can and do field feats from this chapter. There are several options in this chapter that are a great fit for the revised Psi-Watch:1993 Campaign Setting.

Chapter Two: Atheist APEX
Part of the difficulty in creating a pure APEX player’s guide is that many of their feats and tactics would be just as useful outside of the APEX organization as within. As a result, while you’ve got a ton of military options in chapter one, all the elements unique to APEX are found in Chapter Two.

This chapter introduces three new player species common to the Otherverse America Campaign Setting and often serving with APEX:

Couriers – highly intelligent teleporting psions used for rapid troop deployment

Mediators – keenly intelligent post-humans bred for scientific rationalism and mental excellence

Shy Minutemen – hulking mutates created by a black program as a natural predator to Lifespawn

The player options in this chapter focus on APEX’ identity as a faction of rational, highly disciplined and often atheistic soldiers, in contrast to the Evangelical Christian Lifers and the Neo-Pagan Choicers. Factions within APEX, such as Black Light and Witch Watch, are explored, as are the Fed-Gov’s highly classified Project: Heartland…. the creation of an artificial afterlife using unimaginable technology.

Chapter Three: All-American Heroes

APEX was always strongly inspired by Larry Hama’s lengthy run on GI Joe (Marvel Comics), and my game worlds have always drawn very heavily on the cartoons and comics of my childhood. This chapter celebrates the goofy, toyetic superheroes found throughout 80s cartoons. Homages and in-jokes abound, but with these player options, and with these options you can empower your player characters with abilities inspired by Jem, Inspector Gadget, Masters of the Universe, and a lot more.

A lot of these abilities are intentionally goofy or comedic, but nothing stops a player even in the grimmest and most violent Otherverse America campaign from choosing these unique abilities. Mixing and matching is the name of the game, and in a lot of cases, the divisions between this chapter and the prior two are arbitrary and loose. I put the goofiest abilities, the ones I couldn’t easily justify in a realistic context in this chapter, but that’s not to say that the abilities in the prior two chapters weren’t just as toy-inspired.

Chapter Four: Aliens of the Lifechain
This chapter explores the star-spanning eco-system of the Lifechain. Choosing Lifechain powers gives players phenomenal abilities, but links them to a galactic ecology that begins with a breed of enigmatic star-gods. Becoming a Lifespawn awakens a partially divine heritage, but also marks you as the favorite prey of some of the most horrific and indomitable predators in the Multiverse.

The Lifechain is designed with the Otherverse America Campaign Setting in mind, and incorporates monsters and NPCs from the Horrors of the Lifechain series of bestiaries. The Lifechain is designed for dark, cosmic science-fantasy.

In addition to dangerous new powers and racial options, this chapter describes two of the alien species most common on Earth, and most influential in the modern galaxy.

Half Grey – a stealthy race of refugees who came to Earth in search of a cure for their species-wide sterility

Stonecutters – a race of gigantic, honorable merchants whose trade empire is the greatest power in the Western Spiral Arm, and a patron of humanity

Chapter Five: Heavy-Ass Heroes
This chapter describes all the assorted space scum native to the Heavy Future Campaign Setting, and provides a host of sleazy, weird powers and tactics. Heavy Future is inspired by the weirdest, worst and most exploitive bad sci-fi comix and movies of the late 70s and early 80s. Sex, violence, dope and the Satanic Panic! Heavy Future’s all about blasphemous, kick-ass adventuring in the dirty, corrupt (yet still wondrous) 46th Century.

Because both settings are inspired by 80s nostalgia, mixing and matching elements from this chapter and Chapter Three: All-American Heroes can produce some awesome results! Adding elements from Chapter Four: Aliens of the Lifechain introduces true, cosmic horror to the low-brow action of the setting.

Various appendixes describe the various star-gods of the Lifechain, a few new creatures mentioned in various feat write-ups, and some new weapons and gadgets. Included are rules for mortars and indirect fire-artillery, as well as skateboard rules (originally debuting in Cat’s Cradle), which inspired a lot of abilities in Chapter Three: All-American Heroes.

Thinking About Starships

This sourcebook makes extensive use of the starship construction and combat rules found in chapter nine of the Starfinder Roleplaying Game and the Warp Speed! expansion (LPJ Designs, 2018). Those rules are really nice and elegant, but I’ve intentionally ignored most of the Starfinder Roleplaying Game ruleset in favor of the older Pathfinder Roleplaying Game rules. This is mostly personal preference, as Technology Unleashed and most Otherverse Games products are based around those older rules. If you want to convert elements from this book to a home Starfinder Roleplaying Game campaign, you can do the work pretty easily.

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