Thursday, January 22, 2009

Scenic New Savannah

By Steven Creech, Exec. Chairman

**Available at FRP Games for only $15.95!!**

This review is for Dinosaur Planet: Broncosaurus Rex by Goodman Games. This d20 core rulebook is a 96-page excursion to an alien world where dinosaurs exist. It retails for $20.00.

Broncosaurus Rex has some good points to it, especially if you are a fan of dinosaurs and want a d20 alternative to the usual magical fantasy fare. The basic premise in this setting is that a resource hungry and culturally divided Earth is colonizing space and has discovered Cretasus. The year is 2202 and two major factions exist as a result of the Civil War, the Federation Union of Planets and the Confederacy. The Federation, which is the more technologically advanced culture, wants to exploit the world for its natural resources and leave it barren. The Confederacy, however, wishes to colonize Cretasus and live in peaceful co-existence with the indigenous life, some of which is intelligent (yes, smart dinosaurs).

There are six possible character classes to choose from, but only one race - human. Bronco Riders are your stereotypical cowboys except that dinosaurs are their mounts as opposed to horses. Machinists are tinkerers and inventors, coming up with all manner of contraption. Soldiers are the fighters of this world with a good understanding of tactics. A Spy also falls into stereotype with espionage, stealth and disguise as their forte. Two-Fisters are the rough and tumble warriors who prefer using their fists rather than fancy weaponry. These guys are tough as nails. Finally, the Wild One is a type of ranger/hermit who prefers the company of dinosaurs to his fellow man.

Most of the existing skills and feats from the Player's Handbook are available for use, but some have been modified. This book also comes with its share of new ones that, for the most part, are balanced and have a good purpose. New skills include Drive, Pilot, and Repair Device. New feats include Death Wish, Dinopathy, Dinosaur Presence, and Great Lover, to name a few.

Of course in 2022, equipment will be considerably different. Broncosaurus Rex does a great job listing, describing and giving balanced stats for such equipment.

Chapter three is all about the dinosaurs of Cretasus and how they are actually intelligent and social creatures. True paleontologists will probably take issue with how the dinosaurs are presented statistically and described, but let's face it, this is a game designed for fun, not a scientific journal. The different listings are one of the real strengths to this book and complement the listings from the Monster Manual nicely.

The remainder of the book contains information for GMs to develop adventures on Cretasus. The various faction names are listed, the motivations of the settlers and major political issues discussed, and the treasures that may be found are covered. Another nice touch is the One Hundred Adventure Ideas that give you plenty of excellent adventure hooks.

In conclusion, Dinosaur Planet: Broncosaurus Rex is an excellent choice for the dinosaur lover. It represents a very good alternative d20 game and is a fun change of pace from your typical Dungeons & Dragons campaign. I liked it and recommend it. It's a good buy at $20.00.

The Critic's Rating: (maximum 5 pts for each category)

  • Amount of Open Game Content: 4.0
  • d20 Compliance: 5.0
  • Originality: 5.0
  • Playability: 5.0
  • Value for the dollar: 5.0

Overall Rating: 4.8

Final Grade: A


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