Well I have the new Supernatural PDF and I have some thoughts.
- It looks nice! If the printed version is half as nice as the PDF then this will be a damn attractive book. It looks like a "hunters notebook", loved the scribbled notes and pictures "taped" in. In fact it is an order of magnitude greater than their previous best works. Yes BSG and Serenity are nice looking books. This one blows them away.
- Nice introduction. I know exactly what this book is supposed to be about and what I am going to do with it. It lays out the antagonists and the "theatre" very, very nicely.
- As deep and as profound as my love is for the Cine Unisystem modern horror games, Supernatural reminds us that there is more the US than the west coast. But to be fair, this is more to do with the respective source materials rather than the games themselves.
- "Supernatural" fills the hole in my RPG life that was once filled with "Chill". Normal (mostly) people going up against the … well supernatural. This isn't Buffy or Angel where it is difficult to tell who the bad guys are, or even Charmed where both sides had the same firepower. This is closer to Call of Cthulhu. I'll say it now. Supernatural is a better "Hunter" RPG than either "Hunter: The Reckoning" or "Hunter: The Vigil".
- Cortex. Unisystem and Savage Worlds got freaky one night and nine months later Cortex was born. Now keep in mind this is a good thing for me. I REALLY wanted to like Savage Worlds and just couldn't. I LOVE Unisystem, but (and this might sound a bit heretical) a Unisystem based Supernatural game would not have given us much in the way of new. But here the systems tweaks fight the tone of the game. These are normal humans. The Cortex system work great for that. Plus converting to Savage Worlds or Unisystem is really, really simple. There are more skills here than in Cine Unisystem, less than Classic Unisystem.
- Character sheets look really cool. Again, like something you would see in say John Winchester's journal.
- Good equipment lists. A fair number of monsters. I am not worried about there not being enough. I have 1000s of books on monsters and Cortex is simple enough to move things around.
- "Music to Hunt By" is the best addition to any RPG! ;) There should be room on the character sheet to list important thing like what the hunter's personal play list is.
The only thing it is really missing to make it a perfect modern supernatural horror hunting game is a magic system. BUT, given this is "Supernatural" and more about normal humans, it's fine that it is not there and more of a reflection of my play style than the show.
I am not sure how it compares to other Cortex books in terms of mechanics. It's looks most similar to Demon Hunters and the Cortext Core, but there are changes to reflect the world a bit better (no super science, no flashy magic, lot more gear). Though while Demon Hunters is very tongue and cheek and the Core is very dry, this book is neither.
Who Should Buy This Game?
- Anyone that is a fan of the show
- Anyone that is a fan of Cortext
- Anyone that likes supernatural/modern horror games, but is not interested in playing a vampire, fae, ghost, demon (half or otherwise) or a "chosen one" human. This is a game of normal people doing what they can to stop evil.
Now to get that full on Supernatural / Demon Hunters crossover going.