Review: SSDC – Silent Wars (Battlelords of the Twenty-Third Century)

Battlelords of the Twenty-Third Century: Silent Wars
Silent Wars is a sourcebook for the military sci-fi system Battlelords of the Twenty-Third Century written by Harry L. Heckel IV and published by Optimus Design Systems, now supported by SSDC.
By Aaron T. Huss

Silent Wars is a complete sourcebook for Battlelords of the Twenty-Third Century detailing a rebellion that is occurring within the background throughout the galaxy. It is called silent because the rebellion is not active in an “in-your-face” means but rather  is operating in the background of the galaxy, building steam, waxing and waning, and picking up the pieces from previous rebellion outbreaks. Silent Wars presents the Battle Master with a new aspect for creating a campaign. Instead of the obviously physical missions battlelords would typically follow, these missions could encompass espionage or infiltration. Essentially, Silent Wars takes Battlelords of the Twenty-Third Century in a new direction.


Silent Wars is a very direct and focused sourcebook. From cover to cover, it is filled with information about a rebellion that has attempted and failed before to overthrow the Galactic Alliance and fell the high quantity of mega-corporations controlling much of the galaxy with wealth. The details as to why this rebellion would even be necessary is a little sparse in terms of absolute definition. Instead, the content offers a lot of activities, reasons, and picture of those involved which allows the Battle Master to paint the end picture showing why the rebellion is going to succeed or fail and what the repercussions are. Inside you will find: information about who is rebelling (organizations involved and the different races), the different factions involved, current activities, information for missions, ready-to-use agents of the rebellion, and adventure hooks. Stuffed in the middle is the introduction of the new race the Zzzwhirr, who apparently have strong ties with the rebels.


Overall, I recommend Silent Wars if you plan on taking your Battlelords campaigns in directions away from just combat and other military aspects. The rebellion is about building strength and convincing the masses to join your cause, it is not necessarily a time to bombard your target and try to revolt. It is a game of espionage, infiltration, and persuasion. If this sounds enticing, you should definitely pick this up.


Publication Quality: 5 out of 10
Silent Wars was published prior to the acquisition of the setting and system by SSDC and has not been revised. The publication quality is poor and if it weren’t for the stunning illustrations it would only garner 3 or 4 out of 10. The layout is extremely lackluster and the formatting is a little clunky at times. The writing is solid and the content is detailed, but the book is not visually appealing. In addition, the book is not formatted properly for printing as the pages do not reflect a difference between odd and even such as what you would see in a printed product or a product that is designed for printing from a standard computer. There is no table of contents and no index, but the PDF is fully bookmarked for easy navigation.

Mechanics: 7 out of 10
The only new mechanics in Silent Wars is the new race Zzzwhirr. Besides the rather lame name, they are an interesting race and fully described and detailed as with all Battlelords races. As they have direct ties with the rebels, and probably the rebellion, they become a new choice when running a campaign surrounding the rebellion. Otherwise, they make good NPC material for the Battle Master.

Value Add: 8 out of 10
Even though the quality is low, Silent Wars is a great sourcebook describing the rebellion it is dedicated to. It really touches on possibly ever aspect imaginable, or at least every aspect a Battle Master needs to properly incorporate it into a campaign. This includes a number of adventure frameworks and story hooks along with a list of agents that are part of the rebellion.

Overall: 7 out of 10
Silent Wars is a great sourcebook when considering its content. While it exhibits an extremely amateur design, the writing and content is as solid as all other Battlelords books. In fact, because it’s so particular in what it describes, it can be a very valuable sourcebook for any Battle Master looking to take some of the physical violence out of their game and incorporate a little subterfuge instead.

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