Review: SSDC – Galactic Underground 3 (Battlelords of the 23rd Century)


Battlelords of the Twenty-Third Century: Galactic Underground 3
Galactic Underground 3 is a supplement for the military sci-fi system Battlelords of the Twenty-Third Century written by Benjamin Pierce and Lawrence R. Sims and published by SSDC.
By Aaron T. Huss

Galactic Underground 3 follows the series of supplements, of the same name, providing even more options to players and Battle Masters. Unlike the first two, it does not contain new races but rather is a supplement focused on new options for all characters. In addition, there is a good amount of fluff to help better understand other aspects of the Battlelords of the Twenty-Third Century including megacorporations, media, and how to “get around town” properly. In addition, it has a lot of new tables that can be used during character creation. Galactic Underground 3 is definitely a players companion.

CONTENT

Galactic Underground 3 is a collection six defined additions for players and Battle Masters. While its labeled as a Player Companion, Battle Masters will find plenty of usable content in the first section. The supplement is a combination of fluff and crunch including: more information about living in the universe, the Galactic Armed Forces, media networks, new character creation tables, and three new matrices.

To start the supplement is a fluff piece concerning life in the Battlelords universe. There is plenty of things going on outside of the action and adventure of the battlelords. Each one has to live their life and deal with society just like everyone else. This section includes information on: income tax, customs, IDs, and a look a the top 50 megacorporations. I was excited to see this last piece, but none of them are very detailed. The descriptions are fluff-based and it would have been nice to see more mechanics for the Battle Master to use. However, it gives them a great place to start for creating adventures or campaigns.

The supplement then moves on to possibly the most valuable piece: The Galactic Armed Forces. Instead of just being mercenaries, characters could sign-up to be a part of the Galactic Armed Forces. This interesting collection of divisions describes how the bonuses given to the characters come with a hefty penalty: working for someone much more strict than your average megacorporation. It’s mostly interesting because it opens up the game to new direction and gives the Battle Master some fun new options for making an interesting campaign.

Galactic Underground 3 moves on to a fluff section about media networks and how they operate. It’s hard to tell why this section is in the supplement, but if you read between the lines, you’ll find some possible role-playing opportunities for the Battle Master to initiate and a way to build the character’s fame.

The next two sections are dedicated to new character creation tables for I Was Just Growing Up and Fortune Tables, covering all the available races.

The content finishes with a section dedicated to fully describing and detailing three new matrices: a geomancer, priest, and sye-man. They are all fully detailed like previous matrices and add another level of options for players to choose from.

OVERALL

Galactic Underground 3 is a pretty good addition to Battlelords. The Galactic Armed Forces are an interesting new option for game-play. The new matrices are good, although there are already many available, but what’s wrong with more options? This is one of those products that while one person may find the content to be excellent, another may find it  to be useless. The content is good, it’s just very focused and not as broad as previous supplements outside of the new tables for character creation (which are definitely interesting). Recommended if you want even more options, especially for a different type of campaign model incorporating the Galactic Armed Forces.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 10 out of 10
As stated several times, the entire series of Battlelords of the Twenty-Third Century follows the highest of publication quality, sticking to a superb format, layout, and presentation. There’s always great illustrations and each supplement actually utilizes the same format making them very familiar, easy to read, and even easier to use.

Mechanics: 8 out of 10
Galactic Underground 3 is a mixture of fluff and mechanics, with certain sections focus on one or the other. The new I was just growing up and fortune tables and new matrices are great mechanics that follow along with those previous established. The new mechanics for joining the Galactic Armed Forces are the key to new mechanics, adding an interesting new option for players. As before, each mechanic is properly described and detailed.

Value Add: 6 out of 10
Unfortunately, I find Galactic Underground 3 to contain a lot of content that lacks value. Much of the content seems forced as though a third supplement was to be designed, but much of the good ideas had run out. The Galactic Armed Forces and matrix expansions are really the only value adding pieces in the supplement while the others might be better kept in a free download. If you want the unique matrices or considering using the Galactic Armed Forces in any way, then this supplement is definitely worth getting.

Overall: 8 out of 10
Galactic Underground 3 is a decent players supplement for Battlelords, but not really one that has an all-around amount of value. Much of the content is so focused that unless you’re specifically looking for what it contains, you probably won’t get much use out of it. However, it is a top-notch publication and each page has been filled with worthwhile content. You may not find yourself needing the new options, but they are there for those who are not fully satisfied with what was previously available.

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