One of the things that I really, really enjoyed in Deadlands: Noir was the amount of work that the team put into building New Orleans as a playable setting. The setting was extremely thorough, breaking down the various locations, NPCs and plot hooks that the players can run into and can easily fuel several campaigns.
The Deadlands: Noir Companion takes that aspect of the game, and spins it off into FOUR new settings, each one taking place in a different point in time. With Chicago (1927), Shan Fan (1939), Lost Angels (1946) and The city of Gloom (1950).
Each of these settings is complete, with discussions on life in each setting, notable locations, a random location generator, Savage Tales, a Plot Point Campaign and the Men and Monsters of each city. Needless to say, this is the book that will give Deadlands: Noir the kind of legs it needs to fuel years of gaming.
But aside from the settings, the book also introduces a few new elements to the Deadlands: Noir game. Fans of the Arcane Backgrounds will be pleased to see that The Blessed and Sykers coming back into play. Meanwhile, martial arts fans get something to enjoy with the Kung Fu Edge tucked into the Shan Fan chapter.
Needless to say the same infectious enthusiasm from the Deadlands: Noir corebook is present in the Companion. While most of the material is more useful for the GM as opposed to players, the few mechanics invovled do present new avenues for players to try different characters from more unique backgrounds.
The idea of each setting taking place in a slightly different time period is also an inspired decision, as it shifts the tone of the games from the Prohibition to World War 1 and even post World War 2.
The Deadlands: Noir Companion is an excellent expansion to the already amazing core book. It expands the setting through both time and space, giving pleny of opportunities to run the entire gamut of sordid stories that Noir is known for. I’m constantly impressed by the quality of the books for the Deadlands line, and I have to admit that now I’m secretly hoping for a Hell On Earth Reloaded Companion sometime in the future.