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I bought "Vice" from my FLGS a few weeks ago, finishing it pretty fast.

The Underworld Sourcebook was one of my favorites of the old-school Shadowrun (which is why I'm reeeeally hoping to find a used copy online or in a used book section), so I was looking forward to this one.

For the book as a whole, though, I have to say that I really miss the old SR sourcebooks' writing styles. Something about the writing in "Vice" just didn't quite measure up to the standards of previous sourcebooks.

Section by section, here's what I thought:

-The "Crime 101" section (talking about various illegal operations engaged in by the syndicates) was a disappointment, and this is where the biggest disparity in quality between old and new sourcebooks was, in my opinion. The Underworld Sourcebook's section on that was well-written, while the one in Vice just felt sorta wooden. Plus, it was really annoying having sidebars on every goddamn page!

-The various sections on the big players (Mafia, Yakuza, etc) were alright. I was disappointed that they didn't put in sections discussing things like some of the big nationwide players in the Mafia like they did in Underworld Sourcebook, but they made up for it by producing a rundown of the big players in one mafia family/yakuza gumi/etc., and some of those profiles were pretty interesting. Given how much attention they've been given in recent SR 3 and 4 source material, I was glad the Vory v Zakone got an expanded section in this book, compared to the footnote section in Underworld Sourcebook.

-I found the section on the ethnic syndicates in some ways more fascinating than the one about the major players. There's some cool stuff in this area, especially the update about the Fanti pirates (Cyberpirates was another favorite old-school SR book of mine).

-The gangs section - simply awesome. Great profiles on the big players, as well as the small fry and some new groups. The Chaos Engine matrix gang and The Yardies were my two favorites of the groups covered.

-The specialist organization section was alright - nothing spectacular, but sort of interesting. The biggest disappointment for me was that Chimera didn't get much page space (they were one of my favorites from Underworld Sourcebook), and that they've been changed into a cell-format assassination group, which they weren't before (I just don't think it works well for these guys).

-The Dangerous Minds section (20 of the most wanted criminals) was pretty good, seeming to follow up the information in "State of the Art: 2064" (a Top 10 Most Wanted List) pretty well. The section had an interesting, "Criminal Minds" feel to it (to the point that the term "unsub" was used once in the writing).

-The Law section: Decent, and I really liked the details about how England has basically turned into the movie version of "V for Vendetta" (well, moreso than usual in SR, anyway). I hope they provide more details on England in future supplements; could be a fun opportunity for adventures.

Overall, it was an alright book, and I don't regret the purchase, but it's not quite up there with Underworld Sourcebook (which is admittedly a tough act to follow).
Ancient History
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