Admittedly, this is the “partially redacted” e-book version for the Kickstart backers, so some of this may change with the final version. With that out of the way — the boys at Evil Hat and Atomic Robo writer Brian Clevinger bring us the first sourcebook for the game: Majestic 12. The book revolves around the eponymous bad guy organization from the comic (and in particular their latest volume The Ring of Fire.
It’s a short splatboot, only 82 pages in .pdf. It begins with “The Secret History of Secret History” and outlines the creation and developmetn of Majestic 12. The second chapter briefly outlines the other secret organizations of the Roboverse — including Project Daedalus (which specializes in Helsingard tech), the Soviet’s Department Zero, China’s Most Perfect Science Division, and Big Science, Inc. This was a section I think could have been built out a bit, but more on that later.
Chapter 3 and 4 are the meat of the book. Three deals with new Weird Modes for characters, each for the six sections of the organization, and includes new skills like Teslology — the study of Tesla science and gear. Four focuses on some new rules — creating mission briefs, and requisitioning gear — which works like Inventions, except here you are getting gear not by building it, but by navigating bureaucracies. It’s a cool conceit and works well with the Atomic Robo rules.
There’s write ups of the various Majestic characters we’ve seen in the comic, as well as a few new ones. The final chapter is a series of adventure hooks.
It looks great, using mostly Scott Wegener’s art from the comics, but includes a comic vignette of the creation of Majestic with art by David Flora. some of the art, the indexing, and other things were incomplete (hence the funny redaction, which works very well with the flavor of the organization. I can’t wait to get the physical copy in a few months.
That said…I was very disappointed that they didn’t expand rules on Factions. In the core book, there’s very basic rules for Factions to cover Tesladyne, and how you can use the company to achieve your goals. In the core book, Factions only have a singular mode: Resources. Resources then have skills: Armory, Intel, R&D, and Transport. There is no write-up for Majestic. It would have been a simple text box to include it, so I’m hoping it’s in the offing, (and this may be the case, as Majestic’s Intel skill is mentioned in a few places) but I think adding similar stat blocks for the other organizations would be a good idea for those players and GMs that don’t want to write the stuff up themselves. With the new rules for Requisitioning, it might be an excellent chance to build out faction rules. (If you want some rules regarding organizations, you could also crib from Mindjammer by Sarah Newton…)
Style: writing and artwork (minus the Flora stuff) is solidly in the mode of the comics. I’d give it a 4 out of 5, for capturing the comic well. Substance: here’s where I have to ding them a bit. The lack of faction stat blocs is a big omission, but they might be part of the unfinished artwork. If so, I would expect to rate it higher than the 3 out of 5 I’m giving it, right now. Call it a solid 3.5/5.
So is it worth it? At $20 in physical form and you’re playing the game, yes. If you’re not a fan of the comics and game, then you probably weren’t looking to buy anyway.