Preview!: Capers Noir (NerdBurger Games): 5 Stars!
“In Greek tragedy, they fall from great heights. In noir, they fall from the curb.” -Denis Lehane
Capers Noir is an expansion for the amazing Capers system (5 stars) produced by NerdBurger Games. While the original system is set in the 1920’s, Capers Noir brings the fun of the system to the 1940’s. With all the pizzazz and romanticism of the original setting, it introduces alternate character options, expanded mechanics, and elements of the supernatural. It is a guide to running games in this setting, rather than a specific module or plot. All things considered, it is an expansion I am very excited about.
This article was written based on a preview of the materials to be presented in the Kickstarter, and is not based on a completed project. As with all reviews, I have not been paid. I do not receive any portion of the profits or affiliate sales of the kickstarter. I am writing this review because of my passion for and love of the Capers system.
Alternate Character Options. Capers Noir introduces an “alternate virtue system” called beacons, as well as additional vices for the players to take. This adds even more ways for the characters to generate “moxie” while staying true to their character’s motivations. I love how this encourages roleplay! It also introduces a “point buy” system for character creation, allowing one of the more traditional methods of TTRPG character creation. What I love most about the Alternate Character Options, however, is that it introduces “drawbacks”. I am excited that you can take disadvantages to better focus and advance your character. Should the DM choose to use this optional rule, it will make for more robust and well-rounded characters. These are easily used in the original Capers as well!
Expanded Mechanics. The expanded rules include a system for investigations and “connections and contacts”. These look relatively easy to use and definitely makes for a more expanded game. The part I’m most excited about is the “shade track.” This is the ability for your character to become corrupted by the evil and darkness that pervades the world after World War II. If you are corrupted and fail your “shade check”, you gain ranks in shade, allowing you to call powerful beings to your aid while also causing some problems for your character. This mechanic brings the eeriness and spiritual darkness of the system and decade to life and can definitely provide some amazing roleplay opportunities. The final new rule deals with “sleeving” cards (saving them for later use), which adds a further element of gambling and risk/reward on which the system is based.
DM Tips. Capers Noir comes with DM tips for running adventures for this specific setting. The most helpful was how to run the “mystery” aspect of the game (something DMs could carry over into other settings and systems), but also has more information on the advanced rules.
The Gloam. The gloam is a realm of darkness and corruption that seeps into the world and allows “gloamings” to appear. It is somewhat like the “shadowfell” from the classic D&D setting. It adds rich mechanic and roleplaying opportunities, as well as adding a strong element of narrative darkness, mystery, and horror. It is perfect for the “noir” setting and, to me, is probably the best part of this whole book.
Monsters. To further the supernatural horror aspect of the setting, Capers Noir adds a host of new monster and monster types. Poltergiests, bogeys, ghosts, revenants, and more can populate this new setting and slowly corrupt your characters as they interact with them. While the creatures aren’t unique or “special” in any way, they are classics re-created for the Capers system which are sure to give your players chills and present a significant narrative and tactical challenge.
Others. The book contains other expansions, such as powers, goods and services, history, and setting information that are helpful, but are less exciting for me. I’m noting them because they aid in the overall quality of the product, but they weren’t what I’d consider the “highlights”.
Support the Kickstarter
The Capers Noir kickstarter is a must support for any fan of the system and receives a “conditional” 5 Stars, since it’s a preview. The expanded mechanics can be used in other settings, and it expands into another iconic setting while adding an element of mysterious supernatural horror. While I don’t know what perks will be offered, I will personally be throwing my financial and personal support behind it.
You can support the kickstarter by clicking the picture below!