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Sons of the Gun (M&M Superlink)

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Sons of the Gun (M&M Superlink)
Publisher: Big Finger Games
by David H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/26/2008 14:36:53

Sons of the Gun by Big Finger Games. A lot of good ideas but flawed execution.

An early attempt at creating a villain supplement for the 2nd Edition of Mutants & Masterminds, it starts with the most important part of an interesting villains, the stories. Each character has a comprehensive background that is easily manipulated to fit into your favorite modern-world super hero setting. There are a number of character, adventure, and setting hooks suggested, along with advice on how to use the characters effectively either as irredeemably evil or a troubled soul hoping for redemption. BFG did a great job of catering to multiple uses and concepts with this product, and making it fairly easy to use as a background for your villain-of-the-week, foil, or campaign mastermind.

Unfortunately, the value drops off dramatically when you get to the character builds. Each character is touted as being a master of the gun, firearms that can be found and used. However, the individual builds all use super-weapons, one-off devices or mystical firearms that are merely flavor text for a standard super-hero blast. Instead of using the mechanics to make a character who is good with all guns, the vast majority are only good with one or two specific weapons, weapons that any Joe on the street could pick up and take out a SWAT team with. The emphasis is on tons of damage, rather than on building a clever opponent, and the damage all comes from standard superhero sources. (Sneak attack, favored opponent feats, and blast-powers limited to firing a gun are all great ways to increase damage for characters that have to blast through men of steel.)

Toughness saves are wonky as well. Some characters have Protection powers, which are innate to the character, yet are described as being much weaker when caught without their protection, which isn't possible. Many of the foes presented are not alive (being ghosts, robots, or mystical golems), and their Toughness saves have a number of extra points in them that can't be bought.

Skills, feats, powers, and ability scores are generally inappropriate to the character's concept and intended use. Just about all of the characters are either too competent or not nearly competent enough, depending upon what you're looking at. Many of them lack crucial abilities for their backgrounds; they are no longer able to use those abilities, but they used them in their backstories and the abilities were very important to them (such as the ex-spy's social skills). They also are way too good at things they shouldn't be good at, or at least shouldn't be that good at.

OVERALL, it's a great product and I'm glad I own it, but BFG needs to get someone else to do their Superlink mechanics. The concepts and ideas are worth the price by themselves, but the mechanics are awkward and bland at best and just plain wrong at worst.

LIKED: The concepts and stories were inspiring and made good use of the idea of the gun. The flavor text is brilliant and whoever the story people are, BFG needs to hang on to them.

DISLIKED: The lack of rules comprehension, the over-building of the villains, and the very simple, inappropriate, and clumsy builds were very frustrating as both a player and a GM. Only one character in the book uses actual guns, and he's supposed to get beaten by most heroes.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Acceptable

[3 of 5 Stars!]
Sons of the Gun (M&M Superlink)
Publisher: Big Finger Games
by Andrew B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/25/2006 00:00:00

The cleverly titled Sons of the Gun begins with an interesting introduction in which the authors describe the influence of firearms on comic-book superheroes. The gun-toting hero (or anti-hero), the book argues, is merely a modern interpretation of age-old character archetypes. I tend to agree, and I also happen to think that gunslinging superheroes make for interesting characters. This book contains 10 such characters, each suitable for use as a villainous addition to any supers campaign using the Mutants & Masterminds rules set.

In addition to each NPC's full stats and description, Sons of the Gun describes each character in a number of innovative ways. The first, called Origin in a Box, gives the GM ideas for tying a new hero's origin in with the origin or background of each villain. The Origin in a Box sections contain some neat ideas, and each is supported with fully detailed items, templates, and other rules bits.

The second new feature is called Story Point. These sections give the GM a few different hooks for working the new NPCs into his or her existing campaign. These sections often contain details such as new organizations and hero teams, but each is written in a generic enough way that a resourceful GM can use them with only slight modification.

The In Game section of each villain's description gives advice for working the villain in to an adventure. Where the Story Point focuses on how the character is connected to the world at large, this section gives more concrete ways the characters can be introduced to the heroes over the course of one or more adventures. This is where the real "adventure hooks" for each villain are listed.

Next, each villain is given an "Endgame", which describes a likely resolution to the character's plans...whether through his or her death, capture, or some other means. Coupled with the In Game information, the GM should have enough tools to introduce the new villain, put him or her in conflict with the PCs, and wrap things up at the end of the story arch.

As for the characters, it's hard to pick a best of this lot, as they are all very good. The authors did a nice job designing villains with a wide variety of backgrounds and powers. Sons of the Gun contains, among others, a villain with cursed handguns possessed with the spirit of an old west outlaw, a precognitive former CIA agent, and a soviet android. There are some similarities between these characters, and you certainly won't be able to make use of all of them. However, I could see at least three of them fitting right in to my current campaign, and I'll likely use a few more some time down the road.

Finally, the designers intended this product to serve as a kind of introduction to their campaign setting, called the Infiniverse. To this end, the book contains an appendix detailing a number of individuals and organizations that are mentioned in the villain descriptions. There are some things in this section that are certainly worth stealing for your own home campaign, and I look forward to seeing more products in this line.<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: This is a PDF with a very professional look to it. The ten villains detailed herein are well designed, and a Mutants & Masterminds GM should find at least a few that he can drop directly into his current or future campaigns. The added details, such as the End Game and Origin in a Box sections are very helpful, and they make this book stand out from similar NPC collections.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Whenever a book of characters is written around a single theme, there is bound to be some overlap. While I think that the authors did a good job making each character unique, no GM is going to be able to easily work 10 gun-toting villains into his campaign without things feeling a little overdone. Of course, Sons of the Gun wasn't written so that you would use all of its villains in one shot, so this is a very small point.

Also, the villains herein have strong connections to NPCs and organizations from the Infiverse setting. The authors did their best to make these groups generic enough that a GM can file off the serial numbers and tailor things to suit his or her campaign, but its worth pointing out that some work will have to be done in order to make these characters work for everyone.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br><BR>[THIS REVIEW WAS EDITED]<BR>

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Sons of the Gun (M&M Superlink)
Publisher: Big Finger Games
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/13/2006 00:00:00

Guns are not a new concept in comics. They did not start with 100 bullets, Spawn and certainly not the Punisher. Guns have been used by heroes and villains alike in comic books since the 1930s. Nowadays there are a number of publishers creating edgy comics with gun toting heroes and villains.

So if guns are not so unique with comic book characters, how does Sons of the Gun, by Big Finger Games, manage to create a unique take on gun usage for the comic book themed Mutants and Mastermind system better than most comics?

Sons of the Gun is suppose to be a villain sourcebook for bad guys whom use guns. But the writers have managed to create not only a good PDF of baddies, but a book that is also a good source of adventure hooks, hero archetypes and campaign ideas. Other D20 genres could learn a thing or two about NPC books by reading this one.

As with previous Big Finger Games works, the artwork is phenomenal--- Colorful and action inducing. A lot of it is the kind of stuff you want to make into handouts. What makes the NPC descriptions different is the added sections. Beyond the typical origin of the bad guy and stats, the book also contains four very unique parts.

For the Dungeon Master Two of the sections are primarily for the DM. The story point sidebar is a very detailed and useful break out box that helps DMs fit characters into their game. This is a great tool and allows one to essentially open up a book and use a villain after taking a few notes. It is so much more interesting for players when the villains history seems to mesh seamlessly with your campaign history. The In Game section is more of an immediate tool for the DM providing a series of adventure hooks to weave the villain into a current adventure. Beyond these two sections there is the Endgame. This is an event or series of events that will bring resolution to the villain.

For the Player Unlike most comic book movies, Sons of the Guns understands that the one thing that makes a great hero is having a great villain. The book goes the extra mile by providing a hero idea for each villain. Called Origin-In-A-Box, this section is more than just an origin. It contains some form of weapon or power that players can use to build their characters out of. Players can also use the villain archetypes with a bit of tweak as heroes.

The Iron Word I assumed that NPC supplements were pretty much all the same, but Big Finger Games has upped the ante quite a bit by going above and beyond the average. The villains in this book are done quite well, though there are a couple you can live without. The Gunbunny and Merchant could have used a bit more work. The cool thing is that even if you do not like a particular villain, the extra sections such as Origin-In-A-Box and In Game can still be used in other parts of your campaign. <br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: - Innovative new sections that add more depth to NPCs.

  • Artwork is great
  • Players can use this book too<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: - Some of the villians did not go over well
  • Some of the gun uses seem similiar to other villians<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>

[4 of 5 Stars!]
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