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Savage Worlds Science Fiction Companion

From: Pinnacle Entertainment Group

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Savage Worlds Science Fiction Companion is a Genre Sourcebook from Pinnacle Entertainment Group.

Science Fiction gaming, whether it is science fantasy, hard science or space opera, is one of my favorite types of games to run and play.  I don’t know what it is about this genre but I prefer it over fantasy by a mile. When PEG announced the release of the sci-fi companion, I was very excited.  Finally I can run Savage Worlds the way I want to with a resource that will help me create the worlds and settings I love most.

From the back cover: “The Stars are right…”

The book itself is an unimposing volume that seems a little light.  But don’t let that fool you.  It is a small 6’5″ X 1o” book with just under 100 pages. But contained within is everything you need to get a science fiction game going in Savage Worlds, from space opera to hard science.  It contains information about aliens, gear, cyberware, power armor, robots and walkers.

Chapter One deal with Characters and all related subjects there in.  The best part of it is the simple Custom Races system.  Races have Positive Racial Abilities some of which might be Super Abilities, and then they are counter balanced with Negative Racial Abilities.  This is followed by a series of Sample Races, some of which are generic enough that can be applied to some very common aliens races in other settings (Aslan or Kzon are types of Rakashans, for example).  OF course, it would not be a Savage Worlds companion without New Hindrances and Edges.  These are sci-fi centric in general, and include FTL Sickness, Low-G Worlder, Low Tech/High Tech, and Zero-G Sickness.

Chapter Two is what all sci-fi geeks love – the Gear!  Technology is a big part of sci-fi.  In this chapter, there is everything from Personal Equipment to Armor, personal weapons to Vehicular Weapons.  No stone unturned, the tech is thorough, although simple.  While it has a good number of examples of tech, it is not entirely comprehensive. But it gives you enough to work with and ways to customize your own.  Surprisingly, the only casually deal with the notion of Tech Level, which I find refreshing. What I like most about Savage Worlds is its simple approach to things and this is definitely an example of that.

It also approaches weapons in the same simple and no-nonsense way.  It presents a variety of different weapons including various slug thrower weapons including gyrojet, and flechette, as well as a series of energy weapons.  Interestingly, it differentiates blasters (particle weapons) from plasma weapons.  I have always thought that blasters were plasma, but maybe I am wrong

 

From the back cover: “The Journey begins in the cold depths of space, and continues on strange exotic worlds.”

Chapter Three brings us to Setting Rules which deals with the various special rules that seem to commonly come up in sci-fi.  Atmosphere, Extreme Range, Gravity, and Hacking are just examples.  It covers those specific areas that you don’t normally see in other genres.  One area that is a corner stone of the sci-fi genre is cybernetics.  Chapter Four deals directly with Cyberware.  I was surprised with this as most games separate this out in its own sourcebook but I am glad it is in this book.  In typical Savage World fashion, it contains simple rules for cybernetic installation and removal, as well as the strain adding cyberware does to one’s body.  The Cyberware list is by far not comprehensive but it is enough to have a little cybernetics in your games.

The next five chapters deals with various common technological tropes of sci-fi that may or may not appear in a sci-fi campaign. Power Armor, Robots, Starships, Vehicles, and Walkers.  Of course some are more likely to appear in a campaign than others.  I certainly hope vehicles and starships would be a part of your campaign but they may only be a means to an end and no rules would be needed.  For starship combat, the rules recommend you use the existing chase rules.  Each section provides rules to build the given item and options for modification and customization.  They also provide a list of stock items that you can use on the fly.

Chapter Ten: World Maker contains simple approach and tools to create random worlds in your campaign.  The book ends with a solid list of NPCs, Characters and creatures.

In conclusion, sci-fi RPGs in my view are sometimes treated like the red-headed step-child of the gaming industry.  I think this is partially true because the “magic” or sci-fi is centered around science and it takes a little more thought to have a good sci-fi game or campaign.  I mean that respectfully to the fans of fantasy, but ti does take a little more work to get the story that you want out of sci-fi than fantasy.

I say that primarily because I think those involved in the development of this companion put a lot of thought into this simple volume.  There is very little fluff and a lot of value in the book.  I highly recommend it for people that want to take their Savage Worlds into the stars.

For more details on Pinnacle Entertainment Group and their new Genre SourcebookSavage Worlds Science Fiction Companion” check them out at their website http://www.peginc.com, and at all of your local game stores.

Codex Rating: 19

Product Summary

Savage Worlds Science Fiction Companion

From: Pinnacle Entertainment Group

Type of Game: Genre Sourcebook

Written by: Paul “Wiggy” Wade-Williams, Shane Lacy Hensley

Contributing Authors: Clint & Jodi Black, John Goff, Matthew Cutter, Mike McNeal, Steve Todd, Piotr Korys, Preston Dubose, Ed Witherman, David Jarvis, Adam Loyd.

Game Design by: Shane Lacy Hensley

Cover Art by: Tomek Tworek

Additional Art by: Aaron Acevedo, Rick Hershey, MKUltra Studios, Ricky Otey, Mack Sztaba, Vincent Hie, Slawomir Maniak

Number of Pages: 96

Game Components Included: One single paperback book or PDF

Game Components Not Included: Savage World Core book

Retail Price: $19.99 (US)

Website: www.peginc.com

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

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