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Valkyrie Magazine and RPGnet are happy to provide this review.


Technical Manual

Heavy Gear

Dream Pod 9

125 Pages L??.??

I have been critical of previous Heavy Gear releases due to the lack of attention Dream Pod 9 seem to be giving to the role-playing side of the game. To my mind Heavy Gear is a wonderful SF universe which has been largely untapped by its creators as far as role-play potential is concerned. It's all there waiting, a world divided by deep cultural and religious differences on the brink of another destructive war. So why do Dream Pod 9 still churn out supplements full of more Gear designs? Dream Pod 9 have provided some new ammunition for use with your Gears, but mostly this supplement concentrates on the explaining how the technology of the Heavy Gear universe works and what makes a Gear 'tick'.

The book is up to the high standards we have come to expect from Heavy Gear supplements, good 'anime-mecha' style artwork (some recycled artwork is present) illustrate the text well and the layout is first rate. For the technologically minded amongst you Dream Pod 9 have carefully explained all of the assumptions they make when designing for the 62nd century, but rest assured this is no degree course study text and the writers are quick to point out that HG is Science FICTION! The largest chapter in the book is of course dedicated to the technology behind Gears but Electronics, Meditech and Military Tech are all given individual chapters. Of particular interest is chapter 8 which provides handy hints on designing Gears and other vehicles. While some who are used to the very open design system provided in Heavy Gear may see this as too restrictive it does help to set realistic limits on vehicle specifications.

One major disappointment for me was in the area of personal equipment and weapons. Not everyone who plays Heavy Gear wants to play Gear pilots or vehicle crew, and in the course of an adventure it is highly likely that the Gears will need to be left behind at some point. This supplement provides nothing new in the way of personal weapons and armour, another wasted opportunity by Dream Pod 9 to really push forward the role-playing aspects of the game universe. I sometimes get the feeling when reading the Heavy Gear books that Dream Pod 9 assume that everyone wants to play Gear Pilots and Strider crew in a military campaign, maybe they need to rethink this when considering future supplements.

Overall This is another high quality supplement for Heavy Gear. Yet again though Dream Pod 9 have failed to push forward the role-playing aspects of the game as far as they could. I would have liked to see more in the way of personal gadgets, the kinds of things that players like to pick up and use during the course of a adventure.

Review by David Crowhurst

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