Old School & Cool Vol. 2
Welcome to the Apocalypse! Old School & Cool Vol. 2 is the second issue in the Old School & Cool series. This issue has all manner of post-apocalyptic mayhem inspired by George Miller’s fiction to Tank Girl—from Planet of the Apes to Cormac McCarthy. Designed and intended for use with Old-School Essentials, it can easily be used with other OSR game systems.
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These forty pages are filled with an array of mind-bending, post-apocalyptic classes, new rules, tables, and a one-shot adventure that incorporates all the elements of this issue. While all of the contents of Vol. 2 can be used together, they may also easily be used piecemeal in your game and are fully compatible with Knight Owl Publishing’s The Scourge of the Scorn Lords.
The five new classes—Borg-Cy, Human 2.0H, Motorhead, Mutant, and Simian—provide a variety of new character types to choose from. Some classes, like the Mutant, have variable options to individualize them further. Each class is wonderfully presented as a two-page spread, following Old School Essentials’ footsteps.
Borg-Cy – These strong and durable machines are covered in flesh, blending in well with humans but are extremely rare. They’re deceptively powerful and have an array of skills but have one significant weakness—they can not heal through rest or magic. As they level up, they can upgrade their physical abilities.
Human 2.0H – At character creation, Human 2.0H rolls randomly for their occupation, each conveying a particular benefit. Although Humans are no match for the great minds of the machines, they are that their best when shooting from this hip. As a result, Humans have five special actions they can tap into at the rate of one per day.
Motorhead – The Motorhead is a grease monkey with an affinity for vehicles. As vehicular experts, they possess a broad range of skills that plays into this. They may become a master driver at the 5th level and possess a series of Motorhead Skills (i.e., Evasion/Chase, Hotwire, etc.) that incrementally increase as they advance in levels.
Mutant – Independent and self-sufficient, Mutants hold their friends close. Mutant character creation requires additional steps and Mutation List rolls, which results in a uniquely individual Mutant. Mutants lack the range of skills of other classes but make up for it in what they do have. Their Adaptive and Intimidating skills are quite useful.
Simian – Simians are mutant apes possessing the strength and agility of apes with the knowledge and intellect of humans. Generally hostile towards humans, Simians are most definitely inspired by Planet of the Apes. This warrior class possesses a set of Natural Abilities—Climb, Hear Noise, Hide, Move Silently, and Back Protection—that embodies their ancestral identity and increases as they advance in level.
Tables & Rules
Old School & Cool Vol. 2 provides Gamemasters with a host of new rules, tables, and lists to make the most of any post-apocalyptic setting. Always mindful of the issue’s sources of inspiration, there are several creative additions included. It begins with a simple d6 table, which determines the source of the Apocalypse and its effects on the broader world. Various lists cover armor, melee and ranged weapons, standard equipment, and vehicle/robot mods—nearly everything you might want or need in your post-apocalyptic game.
I want to highlight a couple of new rules: the Evasion and Chase rules that will become an integral part of your next post-apocalyptic game, especially if you run the included scenario. The Evasions rules are not narratively focused on wild driving maneuvers or cool rocket attacks but rather on establishing whether or not the fleeing side can outrun and outmaneuver their purser. If and when a pursuer can narrow the distance, Evasions then become Chases. Chase rules are essentially a vehicle combat sequence, with an additional series of special rules covering things like Driving Maneuvers and Rollovers. This is where all the kick-ass cinematic action happens!
Two generations ago, at the hand of Primate Truth, the city of Minor Techs-Arcana fell, and with it, the jewel known as Kurz Light was lost. Now the Kurz Light has been found in the wreckage of Techs-Arcana. Primate Truth’s successor, Primate Justice desperately wants it. He now leads eight of his best Templars on their powerful Thundercycles to reclaim the jewel for his patron. It is most fortunate that the PCs are closer. With any luck, they can grab the Kurz Light from Techs-Arcana and return to the safety of their hidden underground city.
“State of Adventure” is a chase-based one-shot scenario that utilizes every bit of the material contained in this volume. In particular, it uses the evasion and chase rules as an integral part of the scenario. Both in traveling to Techs-Arcana and on the return trip. Once they arrive at Techs-Arcana, gameplay becomes more traditional in style. The PCs have to infiltrate the Tow Cutter’s compound, find the Kurz Light, and then extricate themselves, only to be pursued by Primate Justice and his Templars.
The scenario is well written and action-packed. I enjoy the idea of starting the PCs off in media res as they are racing toward Techs-Arcana with Primate Justice somewhere, just out of sight, behind them. Its tone is reminiscent of both Mad Max: Fury Road and Tank Girl to some degree. As written, this will easily play out in a single session. The in media res start and semi-linear story make it well suited for convention play.
The physical quality and presentation of Old School & Cool Vol. 2 are top-notch. This saddle-stitched zine has a psychedelic futuristic-inspired cover. The layout is clean and smartly done, making it easy on the eyes. The artwork is black and white line drawings; each is well executed and captures its subject matter quite nicely.
Unfortunately, I was not provided a PDF; therefore, I can comment on its usability.
I had no idea what to expect when this showed up. I quickly skimmed the table of contents and thought, “great, more sci-fi,”—readers may recall my general avoidance of hard Sci-Fi, but damn, I was wrong! Once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down. Although it has some sci-fi elements, my assessment is that the content is post-apocalyptic with a touch of gonzo. It whets my appetite in all the all right ways.
If you enjoy post-apocalyptic themes found in—Mad Max, Tank Girl, and Planet of the Apes—you’re going to want to pick this one up. This is old school and damn cool!
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