Friday, June 24, 2011

"Nuclear Sunset: The Southwest" Review

Nuclear Sunset: The Southwest is the first of a planned series of Mutant Future campaign books by Vigilance Press. Taking place in the ruined remnants of the United States, The Southwest encompasses what once was Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and the surrounding areas.

The campaign book is 24 pages long and nicely laid out. Each page of the high-rez PDF download is beautifully illustrated with a colorful background image and some really nice artwork is scattered throughout. A few issues with this approach is that it can be difficult to read some text that was overlaid across an image. And printing out the entire book yourself in color could prove to be pricier than a simple black and white product. However, these are small complaints as the quality of the art really is top-notch.

As for the content, The Southwest posits that this region of America fell back into the lawlessness of The Old West after the Great Wars destroyed civilization. Settlements and mining towns have risen from the ruins, and thieves and bandits roam the wastelands. To make matters worse, warring factions like The Cartel and the 88th vie for control; a new Aztec "king" has arisen and begun sacrificing victims; and those rumors of aliens kept at Area 51 were true. Fortunately, there are men like the Marshalls who try to keep the peace in the region, and the Navajo Nation thrives once again. Several other factions are discussed that the PCs might cross or join as they venture through the area.

The various cities found in the region are nicely rounded, with each entry describing the town's government, economic activities, and racial diversity. The settlements have mutated along with its residents, as they changed to meet the needs of the new world. For instance, Vega (Las Vegas) is an industrial society as the culture scavenged the piles of small machines and plastic chips to reuse in other ways. Each town also comes with a set of adventure hooks that could be used as campaign springboards for visiting PCs. There is also a listing of ruins throughout The Southwest -- those places that were destroyed in the exchange that could potentially hide valuable salvage...or twisted savages.

Overall, I'm impressed with this initial effort as the "feel" of the post-apocalyptic American southwest has been nicely realized with just enough gonzo-ness to give it that Mutant Future feel. I can see this being used as a more serious starting point for a new campaign, especially one that wants to focus on six-guns and shootouts. And I look forward to new entries in the series -- The Northeast is the next area we'll be seeing. When completed, I can envision an entire Atlas of the Blasted States of America.

Nuclear Sunset: The Southwest is normally $1.99, but until Saturday, Vigilance Press has it on sale for 99 cents at RPG Now. One buck for a brand new Mutant Future campaign book? Why are you still sitting there reading this review? Go. Purchase. Enjoy.

1 comment:

  1. Great review - thanks for taking the time to write that up.

    I also purchased this last week when it came out, but I haven't had a chance to fully go through it yet. I do agree with you that the production quality is quite high, especially for something that sells for a buck or two. And, also, totally agreed about the background images impacting the reading (and printing) of the text. It's a common problem among PDF publishers (and even regular print publishers) that seemed to start in the WotC 3E era and just never got fixed.