RPG Review

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Savage Company Recruit Orientation Guide

From: SHM Publishing
Reviewed by: James Kabbash

Savage Company Recruit Orientation Guide is a new RPG Setting Preview Book from SHM Publishing.  The setting is being Kickstarted into a full length setting book – Savage Company campaign setting for Pathfinder and 5e

In reading through The Savage Company Recruit Orientation Guide, I found that it offers an original game play opportunity that is seamlessly compatible with the Pathfinder Role Playing System. The integration of the two offers for a very unique experience that many other RPGs will not. Full of excellent support detail and development the background in this world is extremely unique. The obvious work put into this it is evident that the creators really came up with something potentially special.

From  page # 4:  “You are all worthless sacks of meat!”

From the very start, the developers weave the setting into being with a mix between a series of barked orders and an internal dialogue of Sarge, a platoon leader and drill sergeant of the new recruits for Savage Company. The obviously powerful and distinguished Orc controls the situation without questions which makes the reader that much more excited to go deeper and see what the Guide has to offer.

Once you delve into the Guide there is the introduction to the ‘city’ of Tombstone. I use quotes there as it is really a series of structures built in and around the main hub of the Savage Company. Within Tombstone we find everything a militaristic corporation could possibly need to carry out and on their mission. We are introduced to everything from barracks to saloons to a general store to a packed armory and garage. To go along with these locales is a colorful bevy of characters that really flesh out the community. The setting is well thought out and original.

Game system wise the introduction of new races is expertly done. Eight new races are introduced. The developers go deep into the physical and skill attributes of three of these new races. Specifically, the Baade and the ‘Savage’ Hobgoblin and Orc. They are expertly developed in both historical context and game mechanics. I would have liked equal attention presented to the other options besides just those three. The five remaining races are just glossed over which was rather unfortunate. What little is presented about the other five races is very intriguing.

There is also a very interesting offering new archetypes for every Pathfinder class. Some of these new paths are both exciting and would be excellent to roleplay. The trails to be followed to achieve these ‘specialty professions’ offer up the opportunity for some profound immersion into the world. Again, like the races referenced above, they only focus on four of the nineteen choices. When a more expanded version of this system is produced, I hope they will give each the attention to detail that the ones presented received.

The three new Feats introduced are very interesting in so far as they propose some nice steps outside the now well-known Pathfinder ones. Like the two paragraphs above, I would hope they have more like these to offer in a more expansive edition. I particularly liked these three options as they hint towards the possibilities of other original abilities that could hopefully be introduced.

The last thing I would like to visit is the equipment presented. Unlike more established futuristic systems like Shadowrun or Savage Worlds the weapons in this system are not named after current real-world manufacturers. Even though they use just the most basic of nomenclature for most of the weapons the statistics for what they represent is well offered.  There is a hinting of there soon to come vehicle types, customization and playability that is extremely exciting.

From  page # 4:  “Welcome to Savage Company.”

The art in this truncated guide is absolutely outstanding and really lends some boosts to the imagination. I am really looking forward to a larger in version of this work that will even further improve the excellent renderings. Also, throughout the Guide, there are sporadic ‘short -story’ type write ups that really give life to the setting, characters and classes offered. They are truly a good read and should not be glossed over.

The Savage Company Recruit Orientation Guide has a lot to offer in the aspects of both originality and content.  A rich setting, including well thought our names and locales, detail a complex society. Intermittent short stories add to the overall development of the author’s vision. The artwork is excellent. It offers several new races as well as both interesting and well thought out archetypes for every Pathfinder class. These new class options offer some intriguing options for rousing character advancement as well as detailed role play. The weapon and vehicle descriptions definitely make the reader excited and can not wait to step into the armory or garage. The only criticism I can offer up is that the writing can be rough at times, but that can be overcome with some more thorough editing. An overall map of Tombstone would help the completeness of the guide. The unique world of the Savage Company will offer up both challenges and opportunities for some memorable table time.

For more details on Savage Company Recruit Orientation Guide, it is available for free from DriveThruRPG.  As mentioned, they are also running a Kickstarter for a full setting book for both Pathfinder and D&D 5e.

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