Expand Your Villainous Horizons With Rogues Gallery!
  • Expand Your Villainous Horizons With Rogues Gallery!

    It's no surprise that in superhero RPGs , the villain books are the equivalent to the monster manual. But like any foe book, eventually you can end up spoiled for choice. So with the release of Rogues Gallery by Green Ronin marking the fifth Mutants & Masterminds book to feature over twenty villains since the release of third edition of the game, do we have anything new to offer to jaded crimefighters or this is only for completists?

    Arranged in a fashion familiar to anyone with M&M products since first edition, the villains here are arranged into Single threats and groups and are a compilation of foes previously released singly in PDF format on the GR website combined with around 10 or so faces from previous editions with updated stats and backstories. Those extras provide new takes on existing concepts but also the cynic in me suspects they've been put in to give someone who has bought all of the PDF's a reason to get hold of the hardcopy.

    The good news here is that book offers some quite original takes on the concept of the villainy, with some of the entries examining the psychology of the foe in question. Will the heroes take pity on Megastar or The Orphean and argue about whether to stop or help them? Is Apostate wrong about the state of society? Is Mercurial a friend, foe, or just wildly unpredictable? The book offers a few new moral challenges or behavioural puzzles to work out.

    It does, sadly, fall into a number of familiar traps that Green Ronin tend to make in these books. A few of the the villain origins are repetitive concepts, for example - This book features the fourth old villain since the third edition that has had an update to their skills and powerset by making an infernal deal. As well as that, the occasional character is too tied to established in-universe lore to be used without much modification – take for example Lady Lighting, who is obsessed with a very specific NPC in setting. Why would she then focus any attention on the players? Does that NPC even exist in your setting?

    Having said that, from a mechanics standpoint, these villains are balanced to feel unique and provide different power based challenges to the heroes. Standouts include a living virus, a conflicted empress of a micro-universe and a teleporting assassin who is going to take some real work to stop. These types of villains could support storylines that lasted for a week or three without a problem. They also come in variety of different styles for different campaign types from the absolutely four colour snack based Candy-Crew to the Patrick Bateman-like creepy stylings of Shatter.

    So, should you get it? The weird part here is actually the choice is harder if you have more previous M&M product and are into the setting. If you already have Threat Report or one of the city sourcebooks, you might not need or want this – except that it contains interesting setting details hidden in it's villainous backstories. So you are balancing your desire for setting lore with the need for the foes contained within.

    If you have run out of bad guys for your heroes to punch, or you are new to the game/setting, this book is a solid purchase that provides some really fun threats. However, if you have a collection of supervillain books already, you might instead want to go to Green Ronin's website where separate PDF's of the villains exist and you can judge which style of purchase is more cost effective.

    This article was contributed by Benjamin Jackson (Benji) as part of EN World's Columnist (ENWC) program. We are always on the lookout for freelance columnists! If you have a pitch, please contact us!
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