Dream Pod 9
127 Pages L??.??
The Duellist's Handbook takes Heavy Gear into the sometimes seedy world of Gear
Duelling, where pilots fight in gladiatorial type events for honour and money.
This sourcebook has all the usual high quality features that we have come to
expect from Dream Pod 9 products, excellent layout and 'anime' style artwork
which compliments the well thought out text. If any product is going to bridge
the gap between the tactical and role-play side of the Heavy Gear game then
this is it, these Duellist pilots have complex emotions that really do need to
be explored to gain the most from a Duellist campaign.
Gear Duelling is an ancient and honourable act on Terra Nova, and a strict
honour code has been drawn up regarding the fighting of a duel. With their
roots firmly placed in military tradition even the commercial and underground
duelling circuits have paid strict adherence to the code. Not all duels are
lethal, however, and Dream Pod 9 have provided details of many different types
of duels that can be fought. The role of the Duellist in Terra Novan society is
fully explained, and the psyche of these troubled individuals will reward the
efforts of good role-playing.
For me, chapter 6 is where the Duellist's Handbook really shines. It details
'The City of Trash' (aka Hhayr ad-Din) which has become the underground heart
of the badlands and a haven for the illicit end of the Duelling circuit. Anyone
serious about role-playing in the Heavy Gear universe is going to want to start
a campaign in Hhayr ad-Din, it offers a heady mix of intrigue and deception,
and encapsulates the badlanders struggle against the polar powers on Terra
Nova. Dream Pod 9 have excelled themselves here, I hope that the upcoming
Northern & Southern League Sourcebooks will do as much to flesh out the
rather meagre description in the Terra Nova Sourcebook.
At the end of the book are provided updated rules for duelling scale games,
some new gear designs and an imaginative selection of duelling weapons to fit
to your Gears. There are some real gems here that fit the whole duelling theme
very well indeed. This is probably the best selection of original new weapons
to have appeared yet in a HG sourcebook.
Overall This product really links the two opposing themes of HG, tactical vs.
role-play comes together at last. I am a little disappointed that Dream Pod 9
have not made more effort to expand the role-play combat system to better fit
in Gear fights, relying as they have on a few minor rule changes to the
existing tactical system. Regardless of your preference for role-play or
tactical games, this product has something to please everyone.
Review by: David Crowhurst