Earlier this month Green Ronin released DC Adventures Heroes & Villains, Vol. 2, a great catalog of characters for the DC Universe. Featuring hundreds of characters and teams alphabetically from L to V, it’s an extremely valuable resource if you play DC Adventures or the core Mutants & Masterminds 3rd edition.
While neither this book nor the previous volume of Heroes & Villains is perfect, I think they have immerse value, especially because there is no other NPC resource is available for the current edition from the publisher. Well, except the Threat Report series, but $0.99/character is high, compared to a full book.
(BTW, I don’t know why Green Ronin hadn’t re-released their “old” books like Crooks! and Freedom’s Most Wanted for 3rd edition)
So, for now lets take a look at the new book.
Design & outlook
So what is in the book ? As I already mentioned the heroes, villains and teams of the DC Universe are sorted in an alphabetical order in this volume. For each entry we receive a picture about the character or group in question, as well as background information and game statistics. We also get several indexes t the back of the book, sorting out the characters by power level.
I think the artwork is a mixed bunch, and I guess many of them is directly drawn from the comics. This also means that several obscure characters feature seemingly very old artwork, but I guess this is a part of the DC history.
What is a difference from Volume 1. is the inclusion of Minion Archetypes for common NPC’s (like soldiers, robots or cultists) and animals, as well as the addition of three hero animals. This is great, but the sad part that the Minion Archetypes are the same as in the Mutants & Masterminds 3rd Edition Gamemaster’s Guide, so they offer value only to those players who don’t own that book. On the other hand, I think their inclusion in the book is resonable, as that book is not a part of the DC Adventures line, even if it’s 100% compatible.
As in Volume 1 many of the characters has their name highlighted with green in the table of contents and the characters by power level tables. This again represent those characters, whose power points total are correct for a player character of the same level (150 for a PL 10 character). I guess this is a fine feature, but I think it would be great if I could see their level in the Table of Content too, not just in the PL tables.
I think the designers tried hard to include as much characters in the book as they can, and they work proved really fruitful. I think they were able to cover most of the well-known characters and groups, and even many obscure ones. On the other hand it’s not always easy to find what you are looking for, and in some cases I still feel that something is missing.
Maybe one of the main problems with the Heroes & Villains books the way they manage groups. Some of the members are receiving their own entry, while others are merged under the respective group which is quite annoying. For example from the current 9 Teen Titan members 2 is under the team’s entry, and the others have their own entries divided in the two volumes. Also, if you look at the (former) members list, there is no way to know that which characters are included in the book and which are not.
Also, it helps a lot if you know the aliases of the character you looking for. One example is Beast Boy, who has his Changeling alias listed in some cases, without anywhere mentioning that it’s the same person (and that include his volume 1 entry). On the other hand, if several characters used the same title (like Starman) they tried hard to include all of them.
Of course, even a double-book of characters can’t feature all heroes and villains from the DC Universe, so, there are no 1st Rag Doll or Ravager nor Titan’s East. Also, if a character has varied powers in different sources then you will get only one version.
As I said in the beginning, DC Adventures Heroes & Villains, Vol. 2 and it’s Volume 1 counterpart is a really good addition for those groups who play DC Adventures. While there are errors here and there, and sometimes it’s not easy to find what you are looking for the sheer quantity and usefulness of the book’s content is great. So as a final score I give it 4/5 points.
For those who are interested in the book, it’s already available on DriveThruRPG, so don’t wait any longer.
Zoltán “Cain” Mészáros