7/26/2015

Frugal GM Review: 200 Character Backgrounds

Frugal GM Review: 200 Character Backgrounds
Yesterday I was asked to review this new RPG product that had been released that day and while I already had my next review or two "in the hopper" I said something to the effect of  "I'll get around to it."

Well, I guess 12 hours later is technically correct, but not what I was expecting. Evidently one of my pets decided that 6 AM on a Sunday was "sleeping in", so here I am.

At first I was a bit irked with 200 Character Backgrounds because I was expecting a one-page set of tables that let you develop a PC background. In reality the meat of this product is simply a listing of 200 possible pre-adventuring professions. To be completely fair though, if you bothered to read the product description or even take a look at the previews this fact would be abundantly clear. Since I came to 200 Character Backgrounds specifically for review, I didn't read or preview anything...I just went to download it.

If you need a huge list of professions, then this is a good list. Personally I'd rather have seen a smaller list that was better organized. An actual table, or three, that helped determine background profession would have been better in my opinion. Something to give weight to the results based on social class would be nice (even if a social class table had to be added). A simple list that gives equal weight to Slave and Slave Trader just doesn't sit well with me. There are also entries that I think need to be culled. Having entries for "Priest" and "Defrocked Priest" are a bit much.

Now this is dumb, and if I hadn't run into this myself I'd never have thought of it, but how do you get to a 1d200 roll? Now I'd just use any even-number-die and a d100, but some wouldn't think of that on their own and would need that spelled out to them somewhere, even if it is in the product description.

Lastly is the issue that this download is four pages long.......four. There is one page for the cover, one for content, and two for the Open Game License. I have no idea why the OGL is being included as it isn't really being used.....unless something like Privy Cleaner is OGL and I'm not aware of it. Seriously though, aside from the name "Swords and Sorcery" on the cover, the only IP referenced seems to be in the copyright notice of the OGL. It looks like it was simply copied from another product that did need to use the OGL.

Unfortunately the PDF is locked down so you cannot simply delete the last two pages, which is what I'd be inclined to do.

Frugal GM 3 Star Review: 200 Character Backgrounds
If you need a long list of professions, 200 Character Backgrounds is PWYW and will give you what you need as promised, but not much else.