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Author Topic: Vice Squad: Miami Nights  (Read 639 times)

ghost-angel

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Vice Squad: Miami Nights
« on: May 07, 2007, 08:40:37 pm »
Characters p2
Crime p13
Miami Nights Tips & Optional Rules p17
Miami Nights Stories p22
The 1980s p28
Miami p33
Episodes p48
The Deal (sample adventure) p65
Character Templates p73
Character Sheet p80
Charts p81
Miami Nights 80s Trivia p83

The Upside:

Vice Squad Miami Nights is a genre and setting for use with the GenreDiversion i system. The genre is 1980s action cop shows, the setting is Miami circa 1985. If you've ever wanted to play Crockett or Tubbs this is the supplement you want to pick up.

The books starts with Character Creation, getting the genre emiulation done first. The nice touch here is that it covers playing either the good guys or the bad guys, or the other guys. The good guys consist of the usual assortment of police roles; beat cops, vice squad, S.W.A.T., internal affairs, detectives, anti-gang. The bad guys covers playing as Italian mafia, Yakuza, Columbian Cartels, part of a street gang or an independant criminal. The Other covers the various archetypes that don't fit into the above; private investigators, vigilantes, Cuban nationalists, bounty hunters and corrupt cops. There is also a section detailing NPC types to include in the game (terrorist, arms dealer, drugs smuggler, generic police, corrupt officials, and organized crime syndicates). Why some of these didn't make the PC cut I don't know. Playing as a group of drug smugglers might appeal to some players for example.

The next part is system stuff, Skills approrpriate to the genre/setting, Gimmicks (with seventeen new Gimmicks), and two new Vehicle Gimmicks. There is a very short suggestion with advice on role-playing the various PC archetypes presented earlier.

Crime. The next chapter (and I use the term loosely as there aren't any chapter designations in the document) covers various crimes the characters can stop, or commit. The various acts of crime are divided into their basic type. Theft And Fraud is the largest crime and is further divided into Business, State and Personal crimes one can commit (or stop). Illegal Services And Goods are next, then Business And Labour Racketeering. And finally Sex Crimes gets a very short list. It goes on to list which crimes are Felonies or Misdomeaners and jail time and parole. Drugs are covered seperately, breaking down how a deal works. It also gives prices (which are made up according to the book) that Manufacturer, Smuggler, Wholesaler and Dealer pay for various quantities. It leaves out the end user price list so you'll have to make that up.

Optional Rules. This section gives some advice on the tone of the genre. It also gives, as the section name implies, some optional rules to use. There are five optional rules you can utilize; Armor (or how to deal with the lack of it), Combat Savvy, Heroic Dice (alternate methods of giving bonus dice), Die Hard and Phantom Injury. All of which go to capturing the feel of being in a T.V. Show version of reality. Lastly are Cliches, which work like Gimmicks. Overall, some good things are here to capture the feel of the genre, but this should have gone up with Characters.

Miami Nights Stories. This section covers running the game to capturing the feel of being on a T.V. Show to maximum effect, specifically a 1980s Show. The bonus here is the part covering No Dead Ends - or how to pus the story forward even is the characters fail at some important task or another. In other words, failed rolls and attempts don't really mean failure, then mean things just got harder, sometimes a whole lot harder. This type of discussion should be covered in every game system. Tacked onto the very end, completely out of place, is tools of the trade which gives system stats for various weapons.

The 1980s. This section gives some general information, for those who've forgotten (intentionally or otherwise) what the 80s were like, or for those who didn't live through them. It lists years hit movies came out, television shows, other aspects of entertainment, clothes, a price list (from an actual 1985 Sears Catalogue) for luxuries, and a lexicon of 80s slang (a good portion of which I still use. . .).

Miami. The setting is covered here, going over the city of Miami in moderate detail. It starts with a brief history of the city, and the architecture of the city. Most of this section is taken up by the geography and neighborhoods that make up the greater Miami area. The last part covers jails, hospitals and radio stations that service the area. The inclusion of the radio stations (and play lists) helps bring the city to life.

Episodes. This section is all about making Miami a real place to game in. Forty-five plot ideas are given to drive an episode (adventure) of Miami Night. Most of them are given from multiple points of view, they could be used if you're playing the good guys or bad guys. Forty crime sites are described, again either as targets, places to protect or interact with. Twenty-seven notable personalities are presented to flesh out the game world (all without stats making them useable in any system as is). Eighteen organizations, from well meaning to the worst of the criminals. Removing system information completely means this entire section can be used by anyone in their favorite system.

The Deal. This is a sample adventure to get players into the system. It comes complete with the setup, random plot complications that can be used as flavor or seeds for future adventures, the climax and aftermath. It also has stats for two new vehicles, why these aren't with the vehicle list at the end of the book I'm not sure.

Character Templates & Vehicle Templates. This is system information for various sample characters (one each from the Characters section at the begining of the book), and stats for thirty vechiles of various kinds. The last part of the book contains one-hundred places to hold a crime at and another table with one-hundred traits you can give NPCs to make them stand out.

The very end of the book is a 1980s Trivia Quiz. A hundred question quiz to see how much of the 80s you retained.

The Downside:

The book suffers from some organization issues. Clearer Chapter divisions and headings could help this. But mostly, some of it seems a bit haphazardly put together. Why the weapons table isn't at the end with the vehicle tables I'm not sure. And the Optional Rules, especially the Cliches, really need to be with the Character Creation section.

No Index. Any gaming book these days should have an index, there's no excuse not to have one, even a bad one. At least the PDF has bookmarks, because the table of contents leaves something to be desires as well. If you printed this out for hardcopy reference you're probably spending a bunch of time just looking for the right page.

A few aspects of running a city could have been included, notably local politics and corporations. Especially if you want to cover city corruption as an aspect of the game.

The Otherside:
The book provides enough non-system information to make it a good genre and setting book for someone wanting to game in 1980s Miami, specifically a cop show set there. If that's your idea of a good game pick this sourcebook up.

In the end, the book is good as a source of information on running a cop show set in 1985 Miami, which is what it set out to do. It's not too heavy on the information side of things, in fact it seems a bit short. Lacking politcal or corporate info isn't that much of a shortfall, but if would have been nice to see. For the price, this is an excellent investment if you have any interest at all in the genre or setting.