- Series: Mutants & Masterminds
- Hardcover: 160 pages
- Publisher: Green Ronin Publishing (September 20, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1932442022
- ISBN-13: 978-1932442021
- Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 8.5 x 10.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #571,451 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Mutants & Masterminds: Nocturnals - A Midnight Companion
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Top Customer Reviews
I'd like to give it the benefit of the doubt and say that Nocturnals fans (I've not ever read them) might enjoy it, but from a straight gaming perspective it was less than useful.
Most of NOCTURNALS is a review of the graphic novels by Dan Bereton on the Nocturnals, a gang of misfits from a wide array of origins including other dimensions, genetic engineering labs, and ancient races under the sea. The plot so far is revealed and all major characters have bios. The artwork is taken from the graphic novels, and stunning is perhaps the only word to describe it. It's truly impressive and I wish I had a better understanding of art history to describe the style. There is also an original comic titled "Spectres" to give you an idea of one of Dan Bereton's graphic novels.
The gaming aspect of NOCTURNALS describes the location of Pacific City, who the major players are, and what goes on after the sun goes down. the system is d20 for compatibility with MUTANTS AND MASTERMINDS. There are sample characters to use, and feats and weapons more appropriate for the setting. There is also a chapter on setting mood, choosing a theme, and how to play within the setting.
The part that focuses on Dan Bereton's work is very nice. After reading about his Nocturnals, I was tempted to go out and buy his books myself! Unfortunately, the author of NOCTURNALS: A MIDNIGHT COMPANION hasn't done a great job of condensing and summarizing the series; you have to know what to pick, and what to leave out. Well, what you get is entirely too much "they're not afraid of anything", "they don't concern themselves with what other people think", "they don't take crap from anyone".
That translates into the problem with using NOCTURNALS as a game supplement - the characters, as presented, are nigh-invulnerable, endowed with a wide array of supernatural powers, have above-average strength, intelligence, stamina, and attractiveness, have access to a lot of money and a super headquarters, are above the law, and most of their adventures are driven and ended by unexplained magic/supernatural intervention. Either the Nocturnals are not portrayed accurately, or else who would want to roleplay as them? They're better than humans in every way possible except for their extremely tragic backgrounds. Real people have flaws beyond "I'm so superior to other people that they bore me" - what's the point of playing someone more strong, attractive, intelligent, powerful, and rich than everyone else, with magic, artifacts, and control over spirits? It might sound neat on paper, but within a game where can the character go except to "even more awesomer!" ?
The part of NOCTURNALS that describes the creation of Dan Bereton is fantastic and reflects on his skill as an artist. It should inspire people to buy more of his work. Trying to extend his characters to a game supplement seems ill-fated - some great books just can't be made into good movies, and I'm afraid that the world of the Nocturnals is not well-suited for roleplaying.
Now even if you don't play Mutants and Masterminds if you love the Nocturnals you will absolutely love this book because it is like the Bible of the Nocturnals world. It details most of the characters and the setting which is pretty unique as it's sort of a mix of pulp/gangster and supernatural genres which is pretty cool.
It really details the main characters and in particular my two favs Doc Horror and the Gunwitch which are awesome. The moral of the story is if you want the guide book to one of the most fascinating and cool comic book series there ever was you need to get this book. It's just 2 cool to pass up.
The book is definitely much more.
It is more than a role-playing supplement. The book is a guide to the world Dan Brereton uses for his comic books, the Nocturnals and Gunwitch. I delved into the book, and I was absorbed by the artwork, the details about the setting as well as the comic included in the book. I found myself wanting to know more about the Brereton's work. I bought Nocturnals: The Dark Forever from a local comic shop.
I know it sounds like the book does not have as much application to Mutants & Masterminds as one might think. Yeah, you have a number of pages on examples of "replacement Nocturnals" and some new feats. The stats of the comic characters and mooks are also supplied. However, there is more to the book than "how to play a Nocturnals game."
Several pages discuss the facets of the Nocturnals' setting and breaks it down to its key elements. It is rather interesting and helps enrich any gamemaster's sense of setting development. Additionally, variant settings are proposed, providing seeds that one may follow to their own ends.
The book does an excellent job in providing a view of the supernatural/occult genre of comic books. You have an in depth view of Brereton's work, but the view does not end there. I would recommend this book as a worthwhile supplement for Mutants & Masterminds as well as good material for an occult-style campaign. Finally, if you are a Nocturnals fan, it is a must have!