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I've encountered and played a dozen RPGs, and though some I've only played for a few sessions, it was enough for me to get a general gist of what it was like. Of all of these Battlelords stands out for several reasons. Foremost amongst these are fun. Battlelords is presented in a fun way. The people who've worked on making it what it is aren't even afraid to make fun of themselves or each other. How often do you see that? The game is fun to play too, of course. You can go from your sword & sorcery fantasy one day (with no elves, as promised) to hardcore cyberpunk the next, or maybe a quick bug-hunt a la 'Starship Troopers' (the movie) is more up your alley? If you've got the idea, Battlelords probably has someplace to do it. Personally I take after the many people who are quite fond of the Orion Rogues. Where else could you (and who else would let you) play a six foot tall, blue-haired kender who totes around heavy weaponry? Sure you have to give credit to the classics like D&D (the game I broke my RP teeth on and still enjoy playing, when I get the chance), but I've yet to encounter a game that's better suited to having a fun, impromptu session with than Battlelords. Keep them beasties rollin', guys.
- Sacha Hartmann
Take Star Wars... then add in some star trek... then make it FUN! A game system that REFUSES to go soft. This game reaches out and grabs you about your throat and won't let go! Every see a movie.. Aliens, Total Recall, The Running man, Blade Runner, Starship Troopers... And you want to be there? Now You can! Covering every imaginable tech level from swords, to gunpowder to Omegatech Force-field Weapons, from bullet proof clothing to Mechanized Body Armor, this macabre game allows you to visit beautiful planets, meet alien inhabitants, and kill them. The life of a mercenary is fast, brutal, and often short...However a select few live long enough to make a difference. A wonderfully unfair universe of moral greys and blacks that provides everything from Rebellion Agents and Hostile Terrorists to Corporate yes-men and Deadly Fourth-Dimensional Creatures, your enemies will be countless. To tame the wild Fornax galaxy? Sign up with the Marines? Draw a Corporate Paycheck? Fight the Oppressors? Wage War? It's all up to you, but to do it you'll need to take a group of aliens from races who despise each other and forge them into a fearsome war machine. In short: Cyberpunk has met the future... and it's P!$$ed off. If you enjoy dark roleplaying games, and want to take to the stars, you can not do better. It may be hard to find, but it is worth the search.
- Dan Ross aka Chaq The Cizerack
Try out Battlelords of the 23rd Century. 21 races are there to play with the extensive background and the largest amount of sci-fi equipment to go along with it. The book is a lot of fun to read through. The races are pretty engaging, and for a game that looks like some sort of powergame-fest, the races are full of nice role playing hooks and quick-and-fun characterizations. A couple years back, as part of my then-job at WotC, I surveyed all the new RPGs, with an eye towards which ones presented themselves in a fashion that would engage the first-time reader/player. Battlelords was one of the only new RPGs at that time that I thought did a decent job of making the reader think "Hot damn, I wanna play this!" The rest--and there were a bunch--came off pretty wrong-headed in this area, to my way of thinking. Earthdawn for example, did less than zero for me in this way. The supplements made up for it, but I thought the core book was lacking, and somewhat off-putting.
- John Tynes
I started playing Battlelords shortly after it came out and it never gets old. Its a Sci-Fi game that can take you wherever you want to go. From some seedy dive on some backwater world to the most advanced civilizations there are. Be anything from a Galactic Marine to a Pirate to a Bounty Hunter to a Rebel to a Rent-a-Cop at the corner store and everything in between. With more races than you can shake a stick at (some of which you don't wat to shake it at) you can be just about anything you can imagine. Armor up, pick up your gun and go have fun in the Universe, thats where I'll be.
- Chris Miller, Cincinnati, OH
Why I love Battlelords of the 23rd Century? Well first it has a very realistic combat system and does a damn good job of explaining some of the advancements and gives a very futuristic feel as well as the detail that allows a player to customize their characters lifestyle. I stuck by it because I found the game fun and more enjoyable than D&D which, though can have some good adventuring fun, doesn't really give much into the way of anything except in the way of what's the next adventure and what to do if your character goes above twenty. Battlelords on the other hand fleshes out the characters making them more real and yes gives loads of information to make an adventure(what good roleplaying game doesn't) but concentrates just as much on races and character creation as it does on equipment and killing. The 'magic' of Battlelords is also more definitive; instead of the old, 'well it is magic', Battlelords of the 23rd Century limits it to something certain races can do because of their mental evolution. They even go so far as to say with technology anyone can do it, but is expensive and many frown upon the 'artificial' enhancement lending a very credible ideology of the matrix welding races that those matrices are there own. That is my rant o why i play battlelords of the 23rd century.
- Clay Butler
I first saw BL23rdC when I was about 10, my brother and some of his friends had picked it up and were playing and shortly after so was I. Battlelords offers a depth in character creation that no other game at the time had ever had, character backgrounds, in depth racial development besides the obvious different facial features or height like Matt said. There was also an in-depth racial conflict that was mitigated by the ever present Alliance and the Mutzachens. There was also a great story of what has gone on before, two uprisings, two arachnid invasions, and the background for the other races as well; the war between Eridine and Phena, the Cizerion War, the wars between Ram and Python. But even with the in-depth story and character creation there was still a lot of detail in the equipment and combat sections as well, and with the newer releases in cybernetics and computers. But the biggest thing I first saw and loved was the difference in 'magic.' D&D, anyone can be a mage or cleric, some are better than others but that is it. In Battlelords, only certain races could do 'magic' and Battlelords actually explains somewhat how it works, it is an evolved state of the mind, whereas every other system simply says, 'It's magic. You don't understand how it works.'
- Clay Butler, Daytona Beach, FL
I started playing Battleords at 12 or 13 years old. I was drawn to the "gadget-heavy" action that was life in the 23rd century. Vehicles, weapons, armor, and gadgets galore.
It wasn't your standard roleplaying game because the races were so drastically different. Dungeons & Dragons, and Star Trek just seemed to have people with different ears, foreheads, or heights. But Battlelords offered a greater challenge: characters with vastly different anatomies (tentacles, methane breathers, moist skin, etc.) and vastly different world views (tribes, honor codes, even cannibalism). This tested the limits of my imagination as I matured as a gamer I began to truly appreciate the depth I could play these characters.
Lastly, the Battlelords universe offers so many mysteries. Sure there's the Rebels vs. Alliance, the Corp's vs. Other Corp's, the Alliance vs. Arachnids all of which lead to some great adventures. But the Motoran Rift, the 4th dimension, the mystery of Atlantis, the Danes... so much mystery for a player or a Game Master to explore. It was a world I could sink my teeth into - and leave my mark.
- Matthew T. Whelehan
I like BL because it's a clean, simple, straightforward RPG without all the doom and gloom or any sense of pretension. Plus it doesn't sink into foul language or needless sexual content like some other games do in an effort to look all grown up. It's good, honest, old fashioned feel good RPGing in the spirit of the golden age of gaming.
- Russ Bullman
Battlelords is a good, old fashioned RPG from the golden age of gaming. It's unpretentious and pure fun.
- Russ Bullman, Earth
Battlelords is a well balanced, richly detailed, skill based gaming universe with a character race for just about everyone's taste...whether you want to play a combat monster, a finesse warrior, a galactic sage, a mystical healer, or control the energies of the universe with a thought (and this isn't all of the character races). The d100 system allows a level of detail that is wonderful for any experienced gamer. The chance of maiming, death or major bonus or benefit during character creation is always fun...and provides a more detailed "lived in" personality for your character. The skills section is comprehensive, the equipment section is decent, and the "magic" of the matrix users is well balanced. The physical layout of the book is straightforward and easy to follow. There are many examples of game play interspersed within the explanations. The sample adventure is well written and a great sampling of life in the Battlelords universe. A wholly enjoyable game and SSDC is very interactive on their Forums if there are any questions.";"4.5
- Steve Garrett (Collingswood, NJ, USA)
The game art shines. It's easily in the top 10% of game products being produced today.
- Games Unplugged
It shows its colors in the broad strokes of its galaxy-spanning, twelve-races, high-camp 'dangerous future.' The art is mostly quite good, and the layout is excellent.
The game is professionally and cleanly laid out... This (edition) looks pretty darn good. ...the typical Shadow run or Rifts player should eat this stuff up.
Lock-N-Load: Weapons and Tactics is the weapons supplement for Battlelords of the Twenty-Third Century. But even if you're not playing Battlelords, if you want a huge variety of sci-fi weapons, this is the best I've personally seen.