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Steve Long

Monster Island

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Here's our back-cover text for MI:

 

MONSTERS, MINIONS, AND MARAUDERS!

 

Located just a hundred miles from Japan is a strange and deadly island — a place where gigantic alien monsters battle one another for supremacy, evil entities search for artifacts of power, and villainous organizations scheme and collaborate. This is Monster Island, where even the boldest, strongest superheroes come face to face with enemies powerful enough to give them pause.

 

Monster Island is your guide to the entire island, including:

 

—a detailed history of Monster Island, from its creation by the alien Qularr in 1965 up to the present day

 

—character sheets for the giant monsters living on the island

 

—information on Bureau 17, the Japanese organization that keeps the monsters under control

 

—a region-by-region review of every area of the island — Wayfarer Coast; Slither Beach; Wells’ Pass; the Feral Tangle; the ARGENT Corporate Wildlife Preserve; Echinocos Shore; and Andrithal — with plenty of maps of key locations

 

—a description of the various factions competing for power and territory on the island — such as the Qularr, VIPER, the Elder Worm, and the Lemurians — including their leaders, lieutenants, and resources

 

Inspired by and based on the Monster Island zone from the Champions Online massively multiplayer online roleplaying game, Monster Island is lavishly illustrated with screenshots, character pictures, and other art taken directly from the game. So get your heroes ready for their greatest challenge yet: Monster Island!

 

ISBN: 978-1-58366-114-7

SKU: DOJHERO231

Price: $29.99

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Re: Monster Island

 

1) 6 giant monsters; 6 robots for Bureau 17; 6 Qularr variants; 4 new VIPER agent types; 8 beast-man types; 6 Elder Worm variants; 5 types of Lemurians; about a dozen more miscellaneous characters, package deals and assorted Others.

 

2) 133 pages.

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Re: Monster Island

 

1) 6 giant monsters; 6 robots for Bureau 17; 6 Qularr variants; 4 new VIPER agent types; 8 beast-man types; 6 Elder Worm variants; 5 types of Lemurians; about a dozen more miscellaneous characters, package deals and assorted Others.

 

2) 133 pages.

 

*Fenris pricks his ears up*

 

Beast-man types? Please, do tell me more...

 

The bits about the Elder Worm and the rest sound good too.

 

CURSE YOU, HERO GAMES! Must you tempt me so!

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Re: Monster Island

 

CURSE YOU, HERO GAMES! Must you tempt me so!

 

Well, yeah. ;)

 

The beast-men in the book are:

 

Bear-Man

Bird-Man

Boar-Man

Cat-Man

Dog-Man

Frog-Man

Rat-Man

Stag-Man

 

Most (thought not all) appear in the MMO -- I added a couple to round out the roster. ;)

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Re: Monster Island

 

Most (thought not all) appear in the MMO -- I added a couple to round out the roster. ;)

 

How about Chicken-Man and round out the rooster ;)

 

ba-boom-ching!

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Re: Monster Island

 

I was disappointed with this product. What I was hoping for was a more "Giant Monster" Kaiju/Tokusatsu genre book. What it is, is a good settings book for Champions. What it has is pretty good, but I was hoping for so much more like:

 

Rules on running really BIG monsters. i.e. what happens when a 100 meter lizard steps on your Volvo? etc.

 

What are the effects of two HUMONGOUS creatures slugging it out in downtown 'insert roleplaying city here'?

 

Rules for really big HEAVY fists and tails etc. (Area affect attacks based on size and weight)

 

How does size and weight change Knockback for these creatures, they would have loads of knockback resistance, but if you have ever seen a Godzilla movie the monsters get knocked back, only the buildings they hit crumble like the cardboard models they are.....how does that work in Champions? (Possibly the damage the creature does to the object it hits is modified by the weight/size of the creature?)

 

I bought the book, and I do like it, but I would also EAGERLY buy any book with Kaiju expansion/genre rules. I hope such a thing is considered in the future. There is such a wealth of source material, you have Ultraman, Gamera, Godzilla, , Rodan, Space Giants, Johnny Sokko, Spectreman and so many others. This is such fun stuff, it would be great to roleplay.

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Re: Monster Island

 

I too was disapointed.Not so much by the lack of the Japanese Giant Monter material,but just the overall quality & design.I almost over looked them thinking they were for someother game just stuck in the Hero Games section on the shelf.Only because I caught the books names(I also got The Atlantian Age.)did I realize what they were.It wasn't till later when I sat down to read it did I realize The champions were on the cover(Hate the new costumes,except for Witchfire's at least she still looks like she did.).

I liked the book except for the poser artwork.It was still a reconizable Hero Games product(unlike The Atlantian Age).I really was looking forward to this book,& feel a little like I should have saved my money.I've never had that feeling about a Hero book.

I did like that Argent got used (I use Argent more than Viper anymore,thanks for the agent write-ups),as was Viper.Liked Bureau 17 & the good Dr Moreau.(I like Father ElK ).Wish the maps were more detailed,but you gotta work with what they gve you.

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Re: Monster Island

 

Unfortunately, I have to agree with the above sentiments. Instead of a book about giant monsters I got book about a bunch of different groups watching the giant monsters. Not that the content was bad, just not what I hoped from a book titled "Monster Island."

 

I also have to say I cannot stand the MMO art. Yuck.

 

I've been with Champs since First Edition and have every book published to date. However, if this book is an indication of how the MMO stuff is going to influence future books, I may start skipping the setting books entirely and just enjoy crunch books like the Book of the Destroyer.

 

We'll see.

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Re: Monster Island

 

Unfortunately' date=' I have to agree with the above sentiments. Instead of a book about giant monsters I got book about a bunch of different groups watching the giant monsters. Not that the content was bad, just not what I hoped from a book titled "Monster Island."[/quote']

 

Although I do enjoy the kaiju genre, and wasn't expecting this to be the emphasis of MI, I'm finding these elements to be my favorite part of the book. As someone interested in how the various elements of the Champions Universe interact, I was quite pleasantly surprised to get more background, personnel and equipment stats for the Qularr, the Elder Worm, the Lemurians, ARGENT, and Dr. Moreau. These can readily be transplanted to other settings within the CU, giving Monster Island broader utility. At the same time there's so much more going on on the island than just the monsters, MI is an interesting and challenging location even for gamers not especially interested in giant monsters.

 

I'd just like to add that for folks who do want more giant monster action, there's a high degree of compatibility between this book and the two fine Monster Island articles by John Ivicek Jr. in Digital Hero #s 32 and 37. DH #32 gives different interpretations of the "official" monsters plus detailed maps of the Bureau 13 island base, while #37 offers several new monsters.

 

I also have to say I cannot stand the MMO art. Yuck.

 

I've been with Champs since First Edition and have every book published to date. However, if this book is an indication of how the MMO stuff is going to influence future books, I may start skipping the setting books entirely and just enjoy crunch books like the Book of the Destroyer.

 

We'll see.

 

The MMO-derived art (and there's quite a bit of it in the book) definitely has the look of video game characters and scenes translated to print, which IMO isn't a bad thing in itself. While I like the style and detail of the images, the character poses are rather stiff, and their translation from the original color to greyscale leaves them either too dark to see clearly or rather washed out. If the latter technical problem could be improved upon for future books, I for one would be satisfied with more art in this vein.

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Re: Monster Island

 

Aw shucks Lord L, you're gonna make me blush. :)

 

Yeah, that one was a real labor of love back in the day. I hammered out the article over a Christmas vacation. If I were going to change anything, it would be to remove the limitations on the defenses. I left that in as a loophiole so you could stun a monster with a big enough normal attack, but they'd be pretty much immune to tanks and what not.

 

I like the new MI, it has a nice look and a LOT going on! I'll probably be running some fusion of the DH articles and the MI book once I get back to the Champions Universe.

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Re: Monster Island

 

Although I do enjoy the kaiju genre' date=' and wasn't expecting this to be the emphasis of MI, I'm finding these elements to be my favorite part of the book. As someone interested in how the various elements of the Champions Universe interact, I was quite pleasantly surprised to get more background, personnel and equipment stats for the Qularr, the Elder Worm, the Lemurians, ARGENT, and Dr. Moreau. These can readily be transplanted to other settings within the CU, giving [i']Monster Island[/i] broader utility. At the same time there's so much more going on on the island than just the monsters, MI is an interesting and challenging location even for gamers not especially interested in giant monsters.

 

I'd just like to add that for folks who do want more giant monster action, there's a high degree of compatibility between this book and the two fine Monster Island articles by John Ivicek Jr. in Digital Hero #s 32 and 37. DH #32 gives different interpretations of the "official" monsters plus detailed maps of the Bureau 13 island base, while #37 offers several new monsters.

 

 

 

The MMO-derived art (and there's quite a bit of it in the book) definitely has the look of video game characters and scenes translated to print, which IMO isn't a bad thing in itself. While I like the style and detail of the images, the character poses are rather stiff, and their translation from the original color to greyscale leaves them either too dark to see clearly or rather washed out. If the latter technical problem could be improved upon for future books, I for one would be satisfied with more art in this vein.

 

My problem wasn't so much with art as character design. I hate the MMO themed baddies....grunt...mutant grunt...giant grunt....yawn....boring. And the book was full of that. The monsters were the only seemingly creative things in the book....and they seemed far too weak for their background and descriptions.

 

Rob

 

Rob

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Re: Monster Island

 

The Upside:

 

Monster Island is the one of the first setting books released since their collaboration with Crypyic Studio's to create the Champions Online MMO. The other book it was released with was Book Of The Destroyer. Compared to that book this one seems far more rooted in the MMO's universe than it does in the already established Champions Universe that's been published since Hero Fifth Edition was released. It does a good job of translating what is obviously an MMO design to Table Top play, but it's still obviously built on the foundations of a computer game.

 

Chapter One - The History Of Monster Island. Monster Island gets its start in a classic Superhero tale of alien invasion, giant monsters and saving the world. The aliens are defeated, and their giant monster creations they used to wreck havoc in the world are all contained and placed on Monster Island, the humane thing to do really. It's actually a pretty fun history and enough information is provided that should a GM in a Silver Age Champions game set in the sixties want they could re-enact the invasion. The chapter also contains an overview of the islands creation, geography and climate.

 

Chapter Two - The Monsters Of Monster Island. Since its Monster Island after all, best to start with the giant monsters. You've got a flying snake, mechanical dinosaur, a genetically engineered dinosaur from Teleios (a master villain in the Champions Universe), giant ape, massive bird, and radioactive lizard. Almost all the great stock tropes of Giant Monster movies are presented with character sheets. While the monsters presented are definitely cool, I would have hoped to see a few more of the books namesake presented.

 

Chapter Three - Bureau 17. To administer the island the United Nations - an effective organization in the Champions Universe - set up a coalition to watch over island. Eventually, the proximity to Japan led to them taking over the project, though it's still UN funded. Here we get a look at the government organization responsible for making sure the monsters stay on the island, capture them when they get off, study them as appropriate and generally act as the first line of defense between the world and a bunch of rampaging giant monsters. We have personnel, equipment, history and a good bit of information. One could, should they desire it, actually use this and Chapter One to base an entire campaign around Monster Island as Bureau 17 Operatives.

 

Chapter Four - Wayfarer Coast. As the first Chapter mentioned, Monster Island was created as the spearhead of an alien invasion. The Qularr are the mysterious aliens that created the island and its monsters. Driven back and off the planet in the initial invasion - they have naturally returned! This chapter gives us some history of the alien species, but not a very complete one, and details a little bit of their society. Mostly the chapter goes over their presence on the island and what they intend to do now that they've returned.

 

Chapter Five - Slither Beach. VIPER is the premiere Champions Universe evil organization, their mitts are in everything. Including Monster Island. This chapter details their presence here, why and what they want out of it. It also covers some information on their interactions with other groups on the island, they are almost as prevalent on the island as Bureau 17. It really wouldn't be a complete Champions Universe supplement without VIPER.

 

Chapter Six - Well's Pass. Dr. Moreau, the Champions Universe, one makes his reappearance here - continuing his work as detailing in Hidden Lands to "uplift" animals into Manimal Hybrids. Having set himself up on the island as a virtual god to his creations with some funding from VIPER. For some reason there seemed to be a need to introduce the Champions Villain White Rhino here, instead of keeping him in his native Africa. While the connection makes some sense, I can't help but feel it was done because the MMO wanted to use him, and not for any real reason other than that.

 

Chapter Seven - The Feral Triangle. This chapter relates to Dr. Moreau, containing two factions of Manimals that have rejected his rule as their god. First is the friendly New Gornyj led by Father Elk, recently moved here from his village in Russia to rescue Manimals from Dr. Moreau's grip. Second is the decidedly unfriendly Mal Zver, a ramshackle village of escaped feral Manimals from Dr. Moreau, who've gathered here under the leadership of The Hyena-Swine, a particularly nasty failed experiment of the Doctor.

 

Of all the chapters this is the one that seemed the most out of place and forced, it could easily have been combined with the previous chapter. It also comes across as just far too video gamey. It just feels like a quest waiting to happen.

 

Chapter Eight - The Argent Corporate Wildlife Preserve. ARGENT is another Champions Universe organization. This one is less an overt villain than VIPER, and more a behind the scenes corporate menace. They actually feel like they'd make a good Bond Villain Group were that your play style. Nominally the group set up a presence on the Island to study the fauna and see if they could make some profit from it somehow. To that end they ended up setting up a corporate hunting reserve for their VIPs and high ranking officials. They hunt anything from the giant monsters themselves, captured enemies, Manimals and other assorted creatures.

 

Another group whose presence is interesting, as the hunting lodge of a powerful global organization, but also seems forced in the 'we wanted to use them in our computer game' kind of way. I would have left this group out of the book and expanded on other sections.

 

Chapter Nine - Echninocos Shore. The Elder Worm also have a presence on the island. It seems that somewhere back in the past ages of history the Elder Worm had some artifacts hidden deep in the rock that eventually became the island. And now the Elder Worm is here, looking for them. While I would say this is just another group tossed in because they wanted to use them - I'm actually happy they're here. Not enough is done with the Elder Worm in the Champions Universe and this is a much appreciated plot added to this sourcebook. I hope we see more of the Elder Worm as things go on.

 

Chapter Ten - Andrithal. Also an under utilized group, the Lemurians (from Hidden Lands, and Atlantean Age Fantasy Setting), are here. One of their ancient leaders had his lab here. I won't give away the plot of what the Lemurians are looking for exactly, but it's a good plot and a good story to work into a campaign using this group. Again, I hope we see more of this group and the developments here.

 

Each chapter contains write-ups pertinent to the group involved (both adversaries and equipment), their relationship to other groups on the island, and how UNTIL and Bureau 17 are handling their intrusion on the island. All the information provided is useful, helpful NPCs are added to each chapter to help hook the players, and some plots are introduced. But nothing along the lines of the Plot Seeds we're used to seeing from Hero supplements of the past. In fact, some of the plots are written into the main text, and look and feel exactly like MMO Quests.

 

The Downside:

 

To put it bluntly, there's too many things going on and not quite enough information on any single part. The book is presented as if everything in it were going on at once, I think it would have been a better resource if each organization were preseted as their own secnario, with some cross referencing should a GM want more than one at a time.

 

Also along those lines, I honestly would have preferred one or two less organizations on the island and more information on the ones provided, especially more Big Monsters - I mean, where's the giant flying insect monster?

 

The book is simply too busy.

 

The Otherside:

 

As I said at the start, this is a cross between the plots introduced by Cryptic in their MMO, and plots and background used by Hero Games from the Champions Universe. It does a good job of combining both elements and making things available and open enough for a GM to use what they want for a Table Top game. I think the book has a little too much going on with it, and the plots are all introduced as simultaneous making the island feel about as busy as your average rush hour in New York City.

 

Enterprising GMs will easily be able to cull what they want from the setting and use it easily, as it's presented cleanly and clearly.

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Re: Monster Island

 

To put it bluntly, there's too many things going on and not quite enough information on any single part. The book is presented as if everything in it were going on at once, I think it would have been a better resource if each organization were preseted as their own secnario, with some cross referencing should a GM want more than one at a time.

 

Good point.

 

I really liked this book overall, but the thing I really didn't like was that it didn't feel like a normal sourcebook for an RPG, it felt like a sourcebook adapted from another source - nominally a video game.

 

You have the different colors of the same creature each getting tougher, in the bases. You have specific locations to clean out - obvious locations or instances.

 

It wasn't bad enough that it ruined the book by any means, but I could really feel a difference in style between it and non-adapted sourcebooks.

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Re: Monster Island

 

Good point.

 

I really liked this book overall, but the thing I really didn't like was that it didn't feel like a normal sourcebook for an RPG, it felt like a sourcebook adapted from another source - nominally a video game.

 

You have the different colors of the same creature each getting tougher, in the bases. You have specific locations to clean out - obvious locations or instances.

 

It wasn't bad enough that it ruined the book by any means, but I could really feel a difference in style between it and non-adapted sourcebooks.

 

What was interesting to me was comparing it to Book Of The Destroyer - which also had to go through the Cryptic Vetting Process. And that one felt like a really good solid RPG sourcebook, not an adaption.

 

The different colored enemies didn't bother me too much (the VIPER sourcebook is a veritable rainbow of uniforms. . .); but there were a lot of little tiny details that just made me think "computer game" ["find the right pen for the Dog-Man" was one of those moments].

 

On the other hand, there's enough in the book that any GM with a shred of creativity could just run wild with this setting. I just wish it had another 50 pages of info or so. As is each chapter gets an average of 13 pages to present history, motive, enemies, plot seeds, NPCs, and tie it down to the CU.

 

Ah! new I forgot to mention one little tidbit, the Introduction contains a section for adapting Monster Island to other genres, which is cool because at the very least you have a nice map of an island to strand adventurers on (Pulp and Fantasy being the ones that come to the front of the mind).

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Re: Monster Island

 

What was interesting to me was comparing it to Book Of The Destroyer - which also had to go through the Cryptic Vetting Process. And that one felt like a really good solid RPG sourcebook' date=' not an adaption.[/quote']

 

That may be reflective of how Monster Island came to be. It wasn't even a glimmer in Steve Long's eye until he saw all the background detail and artwork that Cryptic Studios was developing for the location. With so much work already done it would take far less effort to turn into a full book than a wholly original concept, and Steve felt it now deserved a book treatment, so he took it the rest of the way.

 

Ah! new I forgot to mention one little tidbit' date=' the Introduction contains a section for adapting Monster Island to other genres, which is cool because at the very least you have a nice map of an island to strand adventurers on (Pulp and Fantasy being the ones that come to the front of the mind).[/quote']

 

That's another nice thing about this book. Besides the detailed main Monster Island map, there are seven other maps of locations on the island, three of them also quite detailed. Together they add significantly to the book's reuse potential.

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Re: Monster Island

 

The monsters were the only seemingly creative things in the book....and they seemed far too weak for their background and descriptions.

 

I had the same reaction to the monsters' power level (and to the ones in the Digital Hero MI articles, which are comparable). Fortunately the monsters' main attacks and defenses are simple enough builds that it's pretty easy to add Character Points to upgrade them.

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Re: Monster Island

 

I'll just chime in with the same thing about, it was obviously taken from an MMO. We've got various bases with the villain mobs hanging about ready for "street" hunting.

 

Shows that Until is rather powerless since they know of all the villain groups on the island, but can't do anything about it. I hated that bit as very MMO, but didn't get past my believability filter.

 

On the other hand, lots of ideas that can be stolen. So over all, I'm happy with my purchase.

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Re: Monster Island

 

I'll just chime in with the same thing about, it was obviously taken from an MMO. We've got various bases with the villain mobs hanging about ready for "street" hunting.

 

Shows that Until is rather powerless since they know of all the villain groups on the island, but can't do anything about it. I hated that bit as very MMO, but didn't get past my believability filter.

 

On the other hand, lots of ideas that can be stolen. So over all, I'm happy with my purchase.

 

One of the best ways to handle it, IMO, is that each group infiltrates at different times, you can base an entire campaign around Monster Island as the Players have to fend off one group after another. . .

 

Given that, I'm definitely happy to have this book in my collection, it's practically a campaign setting in it's own right.

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Re: Monster Island

 

One of the best ways to handle it, IMO, is that each group infiltrates at different times, you can base an entire campaign around Monster Island as the Players have to fend off one group after another. . .

 

Given that, I'm definitely happy to have this book in my collection, it's practically a campaign setting in it's own right.

 

Yep. That's how I'd run it as well.

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Re: Monster Island

 

 

The different colored enemies didn't bother me too much (the VIPER sourcebook is a veritable rainbow of uniforms. . .); but there were a lot of little tiny details that just made me think "computer game" ["find the right pen for the Dog-Man" was one of those moments].

 

On the other hand, there's enough in the book that any GM with a shred of creativity could just run wild with this setting. I just wish it had another 50 pages of info or so. As is each chapter gets an average of 13 pages to present history, motive, enemies, plot seeds, NPCs, and tie it down to the CU.

 

Yeah. Those "computer game" moments were just a little annoying on reading it - the book itself is very very good. And Destroyer wasn't as bad (although I could see it there too).

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