When I pack for my summer holidays, I get my clothing and toiletries done in as much time as it takes to throw things over my shoulder into a case. My gaming and reading material takes more time, care and attention.
This year I’ve been able to travel light thanks to an iPad with Goodreader and a Drivethru account. I did make one concession to the old dead tree idea by bringing the 5e Starter box along just in case my son fancied some dungeon on a rainy day (he did. Report to follow) I stuffed my 2nd ed copy of Whitehack in there for reading material too. In fact, my dice bag is probably the heaviest item I’ve brought with me.
My reading list is a synced up Kindle app which thanks to a Ron Edwards post now contains a copy of The Astounding Antagonists by Rafael Chandler. My goodness it’s a lovely piece of writing. There aren’t that many supers novels kicking around, and many (most?) seem to kiss the point of the change in format. This one doesn’t. It would be a worse read with pics, here the prose does all the colouring in, and your imagination provides the inks. Plot wise, it’s a bunch of supers, heroes and villains, all fighting for supremacy. But the sides are very blurred and Rafael plays with notions of role, good, evil and righteousness all the way through. I love that this isn’t just another ‘modern’ take where the protagonists sit around in leather jackets moaning about the burden of power. In this, the spandex and stoopid names are present in abundance, but so is bone crunching violence, casual death, and meaningful dilemmas.
But this isn’t a book review blog. It’s for gamers, and that’s why I recommend this book. I’ve rarely been able to get a decent supers game off the ground. Most systems want to concentrate on power sets rather than genre emulation, and players seem to agree. I want my supers games to sound like Rafaels book reads, which is a big ask. Having finished it, I’m now going back to my library to dig out some supers rpg material, and I’m looking at it through Antagonists eyes. Read it, and you’ll do the same.
And Motley is one of the best characters I’ve read in years..