PC Pearls (a review)

9 10 2009

pc-pearlsI recently reviewed GM Gems (also from Goodman Games) and it was only logical to consider this title too.

Billed as a product for players, I would say that GMs can get something from this too – and not just for fleshing out NPCs.

The title is split into four neat chapters:

  1. Creating Memorable Characters
  2. The Early Levels
  3. The Middle Levels
  4. The Higher Levels

As the titles suggest, each section provides help on how to help your character at different levels of development. The first chapter runs for just under twenty pages and starts with a character questionnaire. There are twenty-four questions that enable you to build your character.

Questions like:

  • Do you have any siblings?
  • Do you have any bitter enemies?
  • Do you have any scars or tattoos?

There’s a section on names, some fifty pre-generated suggestions for your parents/family unit and reasons for being an adventurer (were you in a freak-show or a prisoner for example). There are some cool ideas on where you grew up as well as some really neat back-stories you can adapt.

It wouldn’t be Goodman Games without some random generation tables and here you have fifty quirks for your character,

The second chapter is useful when you’re just starting a campaign. There’s a lot of information about organisations (GMs will love these too). Like most of the information here, it can be used verbatim or adapted to fit your game.

There are hints where your PC could look for information in the game (and here’s another area the GM can benefit from). There’s a really helpful section on what every adventurer should have in his backpack (like flour to help spot invisible creatures).

There are random encounter tables and for those that can’t do accents, there are twenty distinct voices you can try out.

The third chapter has a mixture of the useful and humorous. The Twenty Protocols for Exploring include, “If you’re certain you can sneak up on it – you can’t.”

There are some alternatives to the boring old horse and even things like, ‘How to Stage an Ambush.’ If you’re hankering for a random table, you can roll for one of twenty tattoos.

The fourth and final chapter includes alternative religions, meta-gaming protocols (Stay away from good looking people – an obvious trap of the GM’s). And there are some suggestions for life choices for your character once you’ve retired them.

The PDF version won’t break the bank and any half-serious role-player should own a copy – and GM’s should too.

Finally, you’ll like it if:

  • You get stuck for ideas when creating your character
  • You want your standard PC to be a little bit different
  • You’re a busy GM and you want to make some NPC’s stand out from the crowd

You won’t like it if:

  • You expect to get a nugget from every page
  • You don’t like creating a back-story for your characters
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