By Paula R. Stiles
Banks, Cam; Donoghue, Rob; Durall, Jason; et al. Supernatural (Role-Playing Game): Guide to the Hunted. Cam Banks and Lizz Weiss, eds. Jeff Preston, (cover) illus. Kevin T. Stein, design and layout. A.J. Buckley and Travis Wester, introduction. Margaret Weis Productions, Ltd., March 4, 2010. 128 pp. PDF. $22.99 (full price $34.99).
You want this book.
Okay, let me, um, rephrase, refine and expand that statement a bit: if you’re reading this review and you are already playing the Supernatural Role-Playing Game (or intend to), Guide to the Hunted has a wide variety of potential monsters that promises some mind-blowing gameplay in some cracktastic scenarios. In other words, you’ll want this book.
If you are the kind of fan of the show Supernatural that needs a scorecard to keep track of the players, or you just need a handy reference to the show’s MOTWs, you’ll want this book.
If you are a fan of the Ghostfacers (not a ‘Facer-hater, here), you will enjoy the intro by A.J. Buckley and Travis Wester, in-character as Zeddmore and Spengler, and you’ll giggle at the deconstructionist chapter on the Ghostfacers as MOTWs. Therefore, you’ll want to this book.
If you are a ‘Facer-hater, you’ll roll your eyes at the intro and laugh out loud at the deconstructionist chapter on the Ghostfacers as MOTWs. Therefore, you, too, will want this book.
Look, if you’re into Supernatural tie-ins at all, you’re gonna want this thing. It’s like the show-specific companion to The Supernatural Book of Monsters, Spirits, Demons, and Ghouls. The Supernatural Book of Monsters gives you a pretty decent layperson’s reference to the original folklore that the writers use. Guide to the Hunted gives you a reference to how the show has used that folklore to create its MOTWs. You get a complete (as far as I could tell) rundown of the MOTWs (this includes stats for specific, recurring antagonists, like Castiel, Ruby and Bela) up through 5.10, including show backstory, game stats and illustrations or photos. You also get some extra monsters not yet shown (though they may have been mentioned). I hope I don’t need to point out that, if you are trying to avoid spoilers for any episodes up to that point, you don’t want this book, at least not yet.
For example, I know Guide to the Hunted is comprehensive up through 5.10 because: the book’s editor, Cam Banks, told me so; there are no MOTWs for episodes beyond 5.10; and there’s a huge, episode-specific spoiler involving the MOTW for 5.10. So, you know, until you’re caught up to that point, avoid.
Guide to the Hunted appears to be written by an anonymous hunter who knows a lot about the hunting world. He (or she) might be Bobby, but doesn’t sound much like him. It could be Rufus. The narrator is unjudgemental (there’s even a section on generating monsters as hunter characters/protagonists). The book focuses quite heavily on the Apocalypse storyline. Ironically (trying to avoid too many spoilers, here), this results in a much-greater focus on Dean than on Sam. You’ll see what I mean when you read the section on Lucifer and notice some odd omissions. Also, if you want to play the game, you still really need the Corebook in order to get the basic rules of engagement. Though, if you’re mostly interested in playing as Sam and/or Dean, The Hunt Begins might be enough, especially since Guide to the Hunted includes mini-scenarios related to specific MOTWs and characters throughout, and a campaign in Appendix II. It’s up to you and really depends on why you want the book.
These are minor considerations that probably won’t sway you much. If you fall into the above categories, you’re going to want this bad boy (whether you actually want to lay down the money for it is, naturally, your call). And if you could care less about the show, Supernatural…why are you reading this review, again?