Role Playing Games

Game Book Reviews

Champions Battlegrounds

Book Line: ChampionsSKU: 205
Book Type: AdventureFormats: Softcover
Authors: Andy Mathews, Allen Thomas, Jason Walters, Darren Watts, Derek HeimforthReleased: August, 2003
Cost: 24.99$ISBN: 1-58366-015-1
Page Count: 128Hero Designer: No
Common Abbreviations: CHB, CBPrint Status: In Print

The Upside:

Champions Battlegrounds is a series of connected Superhero adventures that take place in Millennium City of the Champions Universe Setting. The basic premise behind the adventure book is there is a new master villains in town out to destroy the heroes! The five adventures are designed to be connected in a single long story arc (taking at least five sessions, possibly much more depending on how you want to fit it into your campaign). Each adventure comes with notes on how to run it as a stand alone adventure however, making it easy to pull one or two that you like from the book and fit them into your game.

The book is so much more than an adventure book. With each chapter there is an adventure and a location, and some other goodies that can be used anywhere.

Chapter One - A Walk In The Park. The first adventure is a strait up knock down fight. The plot device appears in the city park - a bomb. The heros must disarm the bomb then defeat the group of villains waiting to fight them. As part of the full story this is the Master Villains first test of the heroes, a strait up test of their combat ability. With this chapter we get a write-up and map of a typical large city park that can be used pretty much anywhere. We also have two NPC write-ups a Bicycle Police Officer and an EMT. Both NPCs are generic and reusable anywhere you might need them. We also get two vehicles not found elsewhere, a Mountain Bike (a variation on the 10-Speed Bike found in The Ultimate Vehicle) and an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV).

Chapter Two - Let's Go To The Maul. This adventure provides a few things, first is a bit of comic relief in the form of Foxbat, the chance to stop GRAB (a group of thieving villains) and a romp through a mall to save civilians. This adventure provides the PCs with a chance to show they're heroes by saving mall-goers from chaos, and attempt to stop some robbers. This is not the strait up fight of the first adventure, and it has comic relief which is good every now and then. This is another test of the PCs mettle by the Master Villain. With the plot we get a map and full write-up of a typical two story mall of decent size. And the real bonus to this adventure are write-ups for Foxbat's sidekicks strait from the Foxbat Fanclub! (for those not familiar with Foxbat he is the Champions Universe's most ridiculous master villain ever, pure comic relief).

Chapter Three - Fatal Attractions. This adventure is another test of our heroes, this time they have to not only save civilians, but the traps are lethal and they must find and stop the villain of the adventure. This combines some of the fight of adventure one with the heroics of adventure two. With the scenario we get a really nice write-up of an amusement park (this one themed after a Superhero Drama in the Champions Universe, but is easily adaptable to any campaigns theme park needs).

Chapter Four - Under Construction. This adventure plots the heroes against a master villain level villain (but not The Master Villain of the book), and a few of his cronies. The twist is it involves a bit of a political roleplaying on the part of the PCs and NPCs alike. The adventure takes place at the construction site of a new building that will hold the Institute For Human Advancement (The IHA is the Champions Universe version of an anti-mutant organization). The PCs must save the building site of one of their enemies to stop another enemy, putting them firmly in the middle of the pro/anti-mutant debate. Assuming such a thing exists in your campaign this is a good adventure to get the PCs involved in that aspect if you want to. With the scenario we get several maps of a construction site (two basement levels and eight unfinished stories of a building), a variant write-up of a Bulldozer (smaller and faster than the one written up in The Hero System Vehicle Sourcebook) and a Truck Crane write-up. We also get three Business Men NPC archetypes, the clean stand up business man who is polite and has no dark secrets; The well connected obviously crooked but no one can prove it businessman; And the appears clean but acts nervous and probably has something to hide weasel type businessman. All three are good examples of this NPC type, though the descriptions given aren't completely generic they can be good for ongoing NPCs in your game.

Chapter Five - Down In The Hole. The final adventure in the book pits the heroes against the hidden Master Villain of the story. A brand new villain written just for this scenario. Tracking the villain to his warehouse base the PCs first encounter his minions, ARGENT Agents (ARGENT is a Champions Universe villain organization) and Interface, a supervillain with friendly ties to ARGENT. We get a write-up got Interface, generic ARGENT Agents and Robot Minions designed by Interface. We also get Interface's base, with typical warehouse disguise over it. The base includes a series of devious Death Traps to put your PCs into, forcing each PC to use all their powers available to them to get out. The villains base and death traps are easily suitable to any villain you want, but the set up is tailored to Interface himself.

All things considered there's a lot of meat in this adventure book, we have five new vehicle write-ups to use anywhere appropriate, several generic NPCs and NPC archetypes that can be reused, five locations to flesh out your campaign city some more and a new master villain to pit your PCs against. The adventures themselves are well written, each one has an overview, a short section on how to pull it out of the story arc and make it a stand alone adventure, a time line of events to work with within the adventure, and ties to make them either part of a larger story or simply connect them to your campaign.

Another nice touch in the book is the back provides full page maps from the scenarios that make it easy to photocopy for handouts in your adventures. Also provided are Combat Record Sheets for each adventure making it easy to track what's going on with each scenario.

The Downside:

The only down side in the book is that it does not contain the write-ups of most of the adversaries the PCs will fight. It requires you have Conquerors, Killers, And Crooks, which villains to use in each scenario are provided with page references to this book. Or it requires you to write-up your own villains to fight the PCs. While this doesn't ruin the book by any means, it does mean it's not a stand alone product (I highly recommend Conquerors, Killers, And Crooks by the way, it is an excellent book of Supervillains).

The Otherside:

The book is easily useable by non-Hero gamers looking for some locations and adventures to pit your Superheros against. The location write-ups are generic and don't require any particular system. And the adventure hooks and scenarios are likewise generically written enough that you need only provide the stats of your favorite Supers RPG.

Overall, the book is an excellent source of material for a Supers game given the adventure scenarios, the location write-ups and the story arc that ties it all together. Even if you get it just for the locations it's worth the price on the cover.