Many role-playing game sourcebooks provide either a single adventure with lots of details, or general guidelines for a campaign without a lot of specifics.  Villainy Amok, a 2005 sourcebook for the Champions superhero RPG, manages to bridge the gap between these two areas.  It manages to provide lots of possibilities, along with adventure specifics.

Villainy Amok has several chapters, each dealing with a different aspect of superhero adventures: bank robberies ("Hands in the Air!"), preliminary alien invasion (The Threat Beyond), granting superpowers ("Ask Your Doctor if Metatron Is Right for You!"), fires ("Burn Baby Burn!"), experiments ("It Came from a Mad Scientist's Lab!"), miniaturizing the characters ("Honey, I Shrunk the Superheroes!") and superhero marriage (My Big Fat Caped Wedding), plus more general situations in the Plot Gallery.

While it would have been simple to just give an adventure for each of these areas, Villainy Amok provides something extra: numerous possibilities for them.  A bank robbery might be simple, but what if a magician makes the money come to life, or a metal-manipulating villain wants the vault door?  Does shrinking characters mean they become an inch high, microscopic -- or get turned into little children?  What about the numerous reasons -- from financial to religious to scientific -- for giving numerous people superpowers?  Each chapter goes beyond the obvious setups to offer plenty of imaginative possibilities.

The chapters also have plenty of information.  There are NPCs and technological descriptions (easily modified for other RPGs), a full-length adventure, and "Ten Unusual [area] Scenarios," each about a paragraph long and offering different directions for that area of superhero adventure.  And the Plot Gallery provides general ideas to tie into characters' interests and qualities: Personal Dilemmas, Secret Identity Scenario Hooks, and even Ten Bits of Gossip to Spread around at a Superhero Party!

Villainy Amok is well written, with a love and knowledge of the superhero genre mixed with a fun sense of humor.  My one criticism is that there are a lot of typos scattered throughout the book.  That noted, Villainy Amok is a must-have for anyone who wants to run a superhero RPG, even if it's not Champions.

Overall grade: A
Reviewed by James Lynch

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