Tuesday, May 27, 2014

RPG review of Savage Worlds

Everyone who's ever gotten into tabletop RPGs has started playing Dungeons and Dragons (if that's not the case for you, stop nitpicking my blog hypothetical reader!).  Some people never make it past that rightfully classic game, but some people occasionally take those tentative steps out of heavily Tolkien inspired fantasy and into games involving undead struggling with their immortality, extremely popular space opera films or heavily Tolkien inspired cyberpunk

Vampire the Requiem, Star Wars and Shadowrun; if you were wondering.

Today I'd like to tell you about my first trip outside of D&D with a game called Savage Worlds, made by Pinnacle Entertainment Group.  First published in 2003, Savage Worlds is a system designed to be easy to play and quick to start.  At that, it is extremely successful.  You can probably get an entire party of characters rolled up in under a half hour.  As for gameplay, all you need to know is that your character needs to roll a 4 or higher (with bonuses or penalties applied to make the roll harder or easier).  If you know that much, you've pretty much got half of the game under your belt.

Savage Worlds is unique in that your skills and attributes are not measured by numbers, but what dice you roll.  When you first buy a skill, for example, it is considered a d4 skill, meaning that when you use it you roll a d4.  As you advance your skills, the die you roll will go up a step (a d4 becomes a d6 becomes a d8 and so on and so forth).  I'm sure someone more educated in statistics could tell you that this can be easily exploited, but I never saw any trouble with this way of doing things.  Another way Savage Worlds change things up from the usual RPG rules is how they do the order of combat.  At the start of every round, every character is dealt a card from a standard deck of playing cards.  The GM then counts backwards from Ace, and the player take their turn when their card is called.  Again, this is an interesting way to change things up, and I found it extremely fun when I played Savage Worlds with my friends.

However, my favorite part about this game is the story (or rather stories).  You may have noticed that I haven't mentioned the genre, plot or any story point of Savage Worlds thus far.  That's because the system is actually versatile enough to offer numerous different settings.  Pinnacle Entertainment actually sells books devoted solely to offering new worlds for Savage Worlds players to explore and create in.  These books usually have a few extra rules that go with the setting, extra skills and advantages and a built-in campaign for you to run if you so desired.

Some of the settings Savage Worlds offers include:

Rippers: The players are part of a world-spanning monster hunter organization in Victorian Age.  Led by Van Helsing, you can explore the world, fight off famous monsters (Mr. Hyde, Frankenstien, his Monster and Dracula to name a few) and even ally yourself with famous characters from Victorian literature.

50 Fathoms:  The fantasy world of Caribdus has been drowned in a huge flood caused by three vicious and powerful witches.  The world is still threatened by these witches, so a mysterious force has brought new heroes to the land:  humans who were lost at sea during the Golden Age of Piracy.

Evernight:  A fantasy world has been invaded by a spider-like alien race.  Quickly taking over, the aliens blot out the sun with their smog spewing buildings.  You play as heroes who must stop these aliens, destroy their smog spires and bring the sun back to the land!

Necessary Evil:  Aliens have conquered the planet, wiping out all of Earth's superheroes in one fell swoop.  With all the heroes gone, the only defenders left are Earth's supervillains, who have formed a team dedicated to wiping out the alien menace.

These are just a few of the amazing settings that Savage Worlds bring to the table, and I'll most likely be reviewing these settings and more in the near future.

If you do not like simple games that focus more on cinematic styles than actual technical rules, then Savage Worlds is not the game for you.  However, if you want an RPG that you can easily pick up and play with unique and interesting settings for your players to play in, then I highly recommend you pick up Savage Worlds today.

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