Explore The Earth-Prime Of Mutants & Masterminds
  • Explore The Earth-Prime Of Mutants & Masterminds

    Today I will be looking at the ENnie Nominated sourcebook Atlas Of Earth-Prime by Green Ronin. While it missed out on the top spots, this book has a lot going for it and I thought I'd break down where I think it shines and where it might could have been better.

    The Atlas of Earth-Prime was originally released as a series of PDFs based on various geographical locations (e.g North Africa), this book collects all of the PDFs together, puts them in chapters based on wider global areas. This leads to 24 PDFs collected into five chapters covering roughly 150 countries, nine of which don't actually exit in "real life."

    One good thing about the book is that everyone featured on the cover is at least given an idea of statistics inside. Not only that there is a handy "who's who" guide on the third page to help you figure out who a character is if you think 'I want to use that skull headed gangster.'

    From there book wastes no time in jumping into its different locations, starting with the Americas and moving slowly eastwards around the globe. The book is full of NPCs adventure ideas and setting frameworks that all challenge ideas of how to set up your supers games. I have been running superhero RPGs for so long I began to get fed up of them but this book provided me with ideas for at least five new games, with each feeling fresh. You are constantly confronted with new ideas and concepts.

    There is however a downside here. The nature of the original PDFs having different authors means that the differing styles sometimes clash with each other, and there is not a lot of explanation in pulling it all together. It means that while I am excited to use content from the Mexican, Central Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa & East Asia chapters in particular, I have to do some serious legwork if I want to tie them all together in any kind of campaign structure. There is a little bit on this near the end of the book, but there could be more.

    Also, despite an attempt to avoid cliché, some of the content falls into easy stereotypes: mystical Celtic Brits, German eugenicists, Rasputin, Communist-Themed Chinese that sort of thing. There's an argument that some of this can't be helped because writers bring their own perceptions and experiences with them but it can be a little hard to swallow. However, having said that, the book is strongest when it purposefully kicks against those types and produces some truly unique characters. Rude Canadians, African Heavy Metal Fans and Singapore tech Genii are amongst some real standout characters.

    The book is well worth the entry fee. The book is massive and presents so many scenarios for gaming it is hard to comprehend how dense the Earth-Prime setting now is. For usable content per page, there's very little that will beat it. It's also educational and inspiring. I know more about Central America than I ever have and knowing it's just the tip of the iceberg has lead me to research it more, just so I can be accurate when my heroes tangle with joker-like gangsters in the Brazilian favelas.

    While The Atlas Of Earth-Prime does have its flaws, they are largely forgivable enough that you can overlook them. It not only adds a tonnage of new factions, locations and villains to the default setting but updates old ones as well, with one villain getting a makeover that is very in line with her character's ruthlessness. If you want a book to that provides a series of toolboxes and settings for running very original supers games, this is it. If you are looking for a world book and don't mind doing a little legwork, this is also for you. It's endlessly applicable. It is not however, a fully built campaign or adventure path, so if you are looking for or expecting that, particularly given Emerald City's "Emerald City Knights" material, you are going to be to in for a shock.

    ​contributed by Benjamin Jackson
    Comments 2 Comments
    1. BytomMan's Avatar
      BytomMan -
      Freedom-verse is a melting pot of different cliches on purpose, because it's familiar to any fan of mainstream comics. Even place names have comic book creator names (Claremont Academy, etc.).
    1. Benji's Avatar
      Benji -
      Sorry, I missed this comment on original publication but my inbox clearout caught it. I agree with you that Freedom-verse has always been as you describe but the original intent of this sourcebook (as posted on Green Ronin's website) was to avoid those cliches a little. They went to great trouble to announce that. So I thought I'd point out it doesn't quite manage that, despite it being a noble goal.

      I think it's a great setting and great book and I think it's better to try and succeed with 75% of purpose than not try at all so, for me, I don't mind it and I think the review is/was largely positive. But it needed saying.
    Comments Leave Comment