Review: SSDC – LNL Armor, Equipment & Cybernetics (Battlelords of the 23rd Century)


Product Name: Armor, Equipment & Cybernetics
Publisher: SSDC
Author: Lawrence R. Sims
System: Battlelords of the Twenty-Third Century
Setting:
Series: Lock-N-Load
Theme: Military Sci-Fi, Space Opera
Type: Supplement
Link: http://www.ssdc.com/

Lock-N-Load: Armor, Equipment & Cybernetics is a sourcebook packed with exactly what the title says: armor, equipment, and cybernetics. This sourcebook expands upon the options contained within the Battlelords of the Twenty-Third Century core rulebook and includes the original lists so that BMs only need a single set of tables to reference. If you can’t find what you need to equip your battlelord (minus weapons from the second book), then you probably don’t need it.

INTRODUCTION

The introduction section of the sourcebook expands upon the fluff of the setting including a timeline, short story and several groupings of source material. Some of it delves into the purpose for some of the different pieces of armor and the way society views its purpose. There are also short descriptions of different events that are an integral part of the setting. Mostly this section is designed to expand upon the Battlelords background to better understand the setting.

ARMOR

Armor does more than just present the reader with more armor options, it also describes some of their purposes from a fluff and setting stand-point. The actual list of armor is quite vast and includes a wide variance between characteristics, cost and options. Each piece is also further described with a scattering of illustrations. The armor is also grouped into one of 8 categories: body armor, heavy armor, mechanized battle armor, reactive armor, specialized armor, bargain basement armor, regeneration armor, and armor packages. Further armor lists include helmets, resonance helmets, a large listing of armor options, and weapons that attach to the armor like arm rockets and radar packages.

EQUIPMENT

The equipment list is HUGE. SSDC has though of pretty much everything. If you need it and it’s not here, I’d be quite surprised. This very long list includes communications equipment, computers, detection equipment, medical gear, hazard gear, espionage equipment, operations equipment, personal equipment, beverages, and home improvement. Every single piece of equipment is properly described with again a scattering of illustrations. One thing that helps to understand the equipment is a full description of the different categories including their purpose and applicable in-game effects.

CYBERNETICS

The cybernetics section contains everything a player needs to outfit their character with mechanical parts to replace those that have been injured or rendered obsolete (because you need more power and more weapons!). The list is surprisingly large and includes cybernetic implants of all shapes, sizes and cost. Each one is properly described and once again there is a scattering of illustrations.

APPENDIX

There are two tables in the appendix: an availability table and a one-page list for nanoid construction. I don’t like the separate tables for availability on all the equipment. This is something that would be better placed within the previous tables where the items are initially listed. The single-page listing for nanoid construction is helpful as a quick reference for players and Battle Masters.

OVERALL

Armor, Equipment & Cybernetics is a great sourcebook for players looking to add a little more flavor to their characters or those seeking more options. This is a great listing of items with a good amount of illustrations. There are several, comical illustrations designed as “advertisements” throughout the publication. While they add a bit of humor, the space could be better used with more illustrations of the listed equipment. Also, while it’s great to include the items from the core rulebook within the tables, it is not necessary to describe those items, again, within the content. This space could once again be better used for illustrations depicting what the items look like adding a higher visual appeal.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 8 out of 10
Battlelords of the Twenty-Third Century utilizes a very simple and clean template throughout its publications. Couple this with a good layout and presentation makes for a high quality publication. The only, very minor issue is the use of illustration space. While the advertisements are fun, there are almost too many and they waste valuable space.

Mechanics: 10 out of 10
Armor, Equipment & Cybernetics is filled with mechanics considering each item is constructed with multiple mechanics. What the sourcebook does is takes those mechanics and blends them in multiple ways to bring about a huge listing of items for the players and Battle Masters to choose from. As I said before, if you need it and it’s not in here (minus weapons), I’d be surprised.

Value Add: 9 out of 10
I’m a big fan of giving players more options. It allows them to create more unique characters and have those characters truly stand-out from the any of the NPCs. Some may say it’s too much, but if there’s anything you don’t need, simply ignore it. The only thing that detracts from the value is not knowing what the item looks like. Otherwise, the more the merrier!

Overall: 9 out of 10
Any player looking for more choices would be wise to pick up Armor, Equipment & Cybernetics. I’m not ecstatic about the printed cost but the amount of content is quite vast, and purchasing the PDF completely defeats that concern. I can only imagine what the weapons list looks like in the other book.

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