Role Playing Games

Game Book Reviews

Galactic Champions

Book Line: ChampionsSKU: 211
Book Type: GenreFormats: Softcover, PDF
Author: Darren WattsReleased: June, 2004
Cost: 26.99$ISBN: 1-58366-027-5
Page Count: 150Hero Designer: Yes (SKU: 737)
Common Abbreviations: GCPrint Status: In Print

The Upside:

Galactic Champions is a sub-genre books for the Champions. It has two major defining elements, the first is it tends towards High Powered Superheroes and the second is meshing Superhero with Space Opera elements to create a cross-genre game.

Chapter One - Awesome Cosmic Power. The book starts with a definition of Galactic Champions, and the themes, tropes and common genre conventions. These include aliens, time travel, cosmic menaces, technology, space gods, travel, the hero out of time, and cosmic power. Providing a short few paragraphs on how each is treated in the genre. The next part goes into the classic Superhero Archetypes common in comic books and detailed in the Champions Genre Book, going into how each is different in Galactic Champions, and how common they are. One new Archetype is presented, the Space God character type which is unique to the genre.

Game Elements takes up the rest of the chapter. Considering the wide open range of a Galactic Champions this has two focuses. First is to expand a few Power's reference tables. The Faster Than Light table and the Mind Scan table both get expanded greatly. The second part covers which Limitations and Disadvantages are rare for this genre given both the power level and the scope of space it usually takes place in. There's also a nice sidebar element on moving planets and how much Strength is needed.

The last part is a short section on equipment common in the genre that Galactic Supers can take advantage of. Four are movement gadgets designed to help them get across the expanses of space, one is a communicator and the other designed to help those heroes who can't innately survive in space do so.

Chapter Two - Champions 3000. This chapter is information on the Champions Universe in the Galactic Champions era. The first part is a history of the Champions Universe from when superpowers left the universe to when they returned. It's a very brief history, but it covers major events and periods with a broad brush. Then there is an explanation of the Galactic Federation, the government of the year 3000. Also provided is some information on other galactic governments that compete directly with the Galactic Federation, more information can be found in the Terran Empire setting book.

Life in the Galactic Federation is a section that covers many of the background elements of the setting. Such as money, the datanets, various types of technology and transportation. Also covered are the various sub-cultures encountered in most games, the business and financial world, espionage , law enforcement, military, mystic, and religious aspects. Conspicuously missing is anything on the criminal world. The last part of the chapter is a list of terms and references used, most of which come from the Star Hero settings. This includes aliens, regions of space, worlds and governments.

Chapter Three - Galactic Heroes. There are two sections in this chapter. The first is the Champions Superhero Team in the year 3000, the other is the Star*Guard, a superpowered police force of sorts.

The Champions 3000 takes up most of the chapter, where each of the eight members of the team are given full write-ups. Defender, the power-armored hero, leads the team. Bulletproof is the Hero Out Of Time brick type. Thalya is a jack-of-all trades type, an immortal from the time of the original Champions. Firedancer is the teams energy projector. Gavis Gan is an alien with momentum powers. Sage is another alien, a diplomat from a rival government, with psionic powers. Rampart is another new kind of alien introduced in this book, a solid brick. Charm is the groups speedster and sneak, an alien fleeing from an enemy of the Federation. The last bit details the teams base and space ship.

The second part, only a few pages long, is the Star*Guard. An ancient organization that has been battling evil in the galaxy for a million years. With the return of Superpowers to the universe the Star*Guard is no rekindling some of its former glory and becoming a prominent force in fighting off villainy.

Chapter Four - Galactic Villains. With the good so comes the return of Supervillains. The chapter is divided into Master Villains, Teams and Organizations, and Solo Villains.

Starting with an old villain, Mechanon 3000 introduces the villains chapter, bringing the organic eradicating robot to a galactic scale. The Recruiter is a new villain, an alien from a series of low tech planets at the edge of the galaxy who trades in dangerous creatures, and sentients. The Slug also makes a reappearance to continue the Elder Worms conquest of the galaxy. Sovereign is another new master villain for the Galactic Champions genre, a misguided and very powerful Mandaarian bent on reshaping the galaxy to his view of utopia.

Three teams and organizations are presented. First are the Overlords, an all purpose villain team whose leader, Arcane, is out to rule the universe. The Sword Of Ackal is a patriotic team of Ackalians who aren't so much villainous as simply working for an enemy government. And Viper returns once again to plague the citizens of the galaxy with their plans to take over through organized crime.

Solo villains contains six Galactic villains to oppose your PCs. Echo is a villain who can mimic others powers. The Examiner is one of the near omni-powerful space gods that Galactic Champions often meet, several other Space Gods are described here as well. Firewing returns in a new form to return pride to the Malvaan people. Maraud is a left over experiment of the Xenovores from the past. Overrider is a Galactic cyberkinetic out to free all the computers in the universe. And finally Suprenova contains the collected minds of an entire extinct species.

Overall the villains presented are well done, given the high point totals it easy to want to cram in everything. These do a good job of avoiding that pit fall.

Chapter Five - Gamemastering Galactic Champions. This chapter has two main parts. The first focuses on setting up a Galactic Champions game, the second on revealing secrets and plots from Chapters two and three.

Creating the campaign and setting goes over the scope of the game, small or galactic and the pitfalls and advantages of each. Campaign characteristics covers morality, realism, and outlook. It also provides information on some classic Galactic Level villain archetypes.

Gamemastering Galactic Champions covers point levels, spending the points and how to deal with high point totals in a Hero game. As well as some advice on mix high and low powered characters in the same game.

Running the game covers creating plots for high powered characters, challenging the heroes and a nice sidebar on ways to destroy a solar system and galaxy. Superheroes and Starships covers how to handle the interaction between the two, from doing nothing to making them fragile so Superheroes stand out even more.

The second main part is plot seeds for the Champions from chapter three, and some behind the scenes information for chapters two and three.

The sourcebook does a decent job of explaining common conventions and aspects of mixing high powered supers with a space opera setting. But there seems to be too much focus on the Champions Universe setting, and not enough on how to go about using the information to create your own setting.

The Downside:

Several things are noticeably missing from this genre book. First, is information missing on how crime might work on a galactic level, though this isn't much of an oversight since worst case scenario you simply scale up the same concepts for any organized crime syndicate to fit a galaxy.

Several new aliens are introduced to the Champions Universe, some write-ups and package deals to go over the normal version of each alien type to populate the galaxy would have been a nice addition.

Finally, in the GMs section there are no campaign level plot seeds to help get a game off the ground. There are simply some ideas on how to create some of your own. Which is good, but at least one canned plot is always helpful to see how the elements all come together.

Also, no bibliography. Not a terrible thing, but these are useful when someone wants to get a feel for the genre and needs some source material.

The Otherside:

The books is decent at covering what goes into a Galactic Champions game, and is worth picking up if you want some more information or ideas on setting up this style of game, for any System.

Overall, this is probably the most informative of the Hero Sub-genre books. And the most helpful in setting up a game for the sub-genre in question. But it seems a bit thin on actual interaction between the Space Opera elements and the Superhero elements. I would say it's a good book that could do with some expanding.