Reviewed by Brent Knorr, Copyright © 2002
Edited by Suzanne Campbell for The Guild Companion
Blaster Law is to Spacemaster as Arms Law is to Rolemaster; it contains the rules and tables needed for Futuristic weapons, expanding on the information in the Spacemaster:Privateers core rules. The combination of the two books should provide everything that is needed for using Energy weapons in a Science Fiction campaign. The Introduction to the book gives some basic information on the energy weapons covered in the book, these are Lasers, Blasters, Plasma Weapons and Sonic Stunners. It includes definitions of what the different weapons are and an example history of how they could have been developed.
This is followed by the Rules Section, which is 15 pages long and covers Sequencing Actions in a round, resolving attacks, various modifiers, effects of Armor, skills used in combat, rules specific to certain types of weapons and armor, including a section on how to handle Firearms such as Slug Throwers and Shotguns and rules on different types of attacks, such as Single Shot, Tracking Shots, Spread Burst, Continuous Fire, Aimed Burst, Rapid Fire, Aimed Rapid Fire, and Suppression Fire. These can get rather complex to figure out, but, as with most rules in Spacemaster, you can pick and choose which ones you want to use. The rules are designed to try and cover just about any situation and campaign, whereas most games will only need a portion of the rules. And, once you've used them a few times, they are fairly easy to work with.
The bulk of the book is made up of the Attack Tables, 13 Laser Attack Tables, 13 Blaster Attack Tables, 10 Plasma Attack Tables, and 5 Sonic Stunner Attack Tables. This is followed by 19 Critical Tables and 2 Fumble Tables. I must comment that for a result of 66 on the critical tables, there are an awful lot of "posterior" and "groin" hits. My favourite is "Surprise shot to foe's groin. Foe no longer needs his "little black book". You are stunned for 3 rounds in sympathy. He collapses and won't get up until tomorrow." Actually, it turns out that the tables were specifically designed so that the same row on the critical charts all affect the same area, thus a neck wound on one column is a neck wound on all other columns of that chart as well. This makes sense, especially for the Plasma weapons where you take a critical with the same result but one severity less in following rounds. It would be pretty odd if the location of the critical kept moving around...
The last section of the book gives some fairly detailed rules on creating weapons and gives sample weapons for both the Spacemaster:Privateers Universe and the Silent Death Universe. The Silent Death game shares a background with the previous incarnation of Spacemaster, so it's good to see that it hasn't been totally abandoned in this new version of Spacemaster.
While technically this isn't a required book, I'd have to say that anyone who is going to play Spacemaster should pick it up. The production quality is very good and it's probably got fewer typographical errors than any book published to date.
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