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Thursday, 31 August 2017

RPGpundit Reviews: OWB: Allied Missions I

This is a review of the OSR book "OWB: Allied Missions I", which is a sourcebook for the OSR RPG, "Operation WhiteBox", which I have previously reviewed.

This review is of the print edition, which is in the form of a softcover  of smaller size, 120 pages long. It has a full-color cover featuring some men landing at Normandy during D-Day, or the likes.

The interior has very few illustrations in spite of having a mix of B&W and color element, mostly the interior art consists of maps or floorplans.

So as I mention in the review, Operation Whitebox was a surprisingly good mod of the OSR standard rules for running WWII Special Forces adventures. Now, Allied Missions I provides 9 different scenarios for use in that type of campaign. All these missions are generally for lower-level play, and they are in a variety of different theatres of war: Norway in '41, North Africa in '42, and France in '44. So not all of them may be a fit for a pre-existing campaign, though they could also be wound together in some way for a campaign based on running these particular adventures.

In fact, the very first section of this book covers some of the possible stumbling blocks to running some of the adventures: for example, playing American characters before the USA actually entered the war, or if they're playing resistance fighter characters, or if they're playing characters whose specialties are very different from those of the unit involved in the scenario, or even difficulties from being in areas where they don't speak the language.  Frankly, it sure sounds like the easier thing to do would be to make characters for these scenarios; but I guess it is helpful to include some hints as to how to handle it if a GM is already running OWB and wants to incorporate these adventures into their campaign.

The nine adventures are divided into three different sets: "Norway Ablaze" is three adventures set in Norway 1941. "Desert Raiders" are three missions set in North Africa in 1942, and "Normandy Breakout" are three missions set in France in 1944.

The Norway adventures feature a raid on a relay station to blow up a radio tower, a mission to blow up a fish oil depot (fish oil was used to make a key ingredient in high explosives), and a mission to neutralize a German bunker in order to allow commando forces to escape.
The missions in North Africa involve a raid on a Luftwaffe airfield in Libya, a search through the desert to locate the location of a Panzer batallion, and a mission to meet with a German general.
The Normandy missions involve taking out a German pillbox, a mission to act as forward scouts and secure a farmhouse, and the kidnapping of an important Nazi officer.

Each adventure is presented with a background, a detail of the briefing the PCs receive, a clearly-stated mission objective, details of preparations for the mission (including special equipment), details on their insertion into the field of operations, pre-assessment, execution, extraction, and post-assessment. They also include details (usually with maps or plans) of the location, opposing forces, and any other special elements of the scenario.

I'm going to avoid going into any further details about the scenarios, so as not to spoil them. I will say, though, that I personally like the desert campaign ones the best (especially the last scenario), and the Normandy ones least (with the exception of the last scenario). The writing is good in all 9 scenarios, though, and the production values high, particularly with some nice mapping.

So, is "Allied Missions I" worthwhile?  Well, if you are into the premise of OWB, it certainly could be. If you are a huge WWII buff and full of your own ideas for special missions for your player characters, then maybe this won't be all that worthwhile. But if you're just someone who loved the idea of OWB but aren't quite sure what to do with it besides trying to rip off war movies, you'll find this mission book very useful.

And if you're in-between, neither a future History Documentary presenter nor a guy whose best idea is "Saving Private Ryan", odds are you'll find at least some of these 9 scenarios worthwhile to use in part or in full.


Currently Smoking: Winslow Crown Cutty + C&D's Crowley's Best

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