So this is a book I have been looking forward to since I first backed the kickstarter that was canceled just before it funded. I am glad that in spite of all the drama, it made it to release in December, and so I got a copy of it last week, when I finished the last book that I was reading and now that I have just finished reading it, I thought I would give my thoughts on it.
The first impression I have is that while it does spend a fair bit of word count describing the world, I am still not entirely sure what you are supposed to do in the game. It is set up as an Urban Fantasy setting with Cyberpunk overtones. For the most part I did not get the Cyberpunk aspect of it in any way other than you are expected to play a team that probably doesn’t work for any of the handful of main companies and do jobs as deniable assets. It very much lacks the dystopian aspect and the network hacking, while providing a strong sense of the Urban Fantasy elements. In fact this would be the perfect book to set up a Percy and the Olympians game.
Now in spite of those issues, there are a couple of really good reasons to pick this setting up. The first is for the implementation of the character options. In play you start as one of three types of characters, a Paragon (a pure blood scion of a Greek god), a Protean (a mixed blood scion of several Greek gods), or a Demihuman (a scion of one of the lesser gods or mythic beings Pan or Minotaur). These “racial” types are built as Arcane Backgrounds from the Super Powers Companion. Each Paragon and Demihuman get their own set of powers that you can spend your starting power points to know, while the Protean can use any power in the previous lists, but they like the Demihumans get fewer power points to spend than the Paragons. The beauty of this setup is that you can build new gods and demihumans based on the mythology with a little bit of reverse engineering. This ties back to the concept of Frameworks that I have been seeing in various games and systems1. My biggest complaint on the section on character creation is the lack of an example because at this point I can’t tell if you get the bonus edge or not2. Another oddity that I noticed was that there is an Edge and a Power (Ageless) that both do the same thing, so if you take both do they stack? Anyway there is a section on prohibited edges and hindrances as well as new edges and hindrances that look pretty good. After that we get the powers lists. The powers are thematic to the source and there are very few very visible powers. Only one ranged damage attack power (for Zeus). There are a lot of variations on emotion control powers, but that is appropriate for the different Gods detailed in this book3. All in all a good selection of powers for a lowish power game4.
The next section is gear which is pretty much what you would expect. A number of guns, some armor, and some miscellaneous gear. We also get a section on alchemy which is something that the characters can know how to do and a list of powers that you can store in potions. We also get some information on Solsi which are spiritually empowered places or objects and Orichalcum (a supernatural metal used by the gods and titans).
After this, we get some sample NPC templates, nothing fancy or even that we haven’t seen before, then we get some fleshed out NPCs that are intended to give you a jump-start in your campaign. After that we get a small section of intelligent mythological beings that you can use as antagonists for the party. So are pretty cool like the Neo-Sphinx and the Wicked Spirit.
The last section is for an adventure generator that works based on drawing four cards from an action deck and comparing the suite, value, and position. This gives you three axis which is pretty nice. I don’t think that I have seen that done before in Savage Worlds, but it still falls back to the main problem I had with this book, what to do in the setting?
Anyway overall I really liked the book even though it did feel like the page count wasn’t used as effectively as it could have been. I am curious to see where they go with any future books in the series, but at this time I would probably not play in the default setting, but would use it as a template for the creation of my own urban fantasy setting.
- Examples of this are in Dresden Files Accelerated Edition with Mantles and Rifts for Savage Worlds with Iconic Frameworks. I wrote a few thoughts about them in an earlier post here. ↩
- I know it doesn’t matter from a party balance perspective, but it might make a difference from a character vs. bad guy perspective. ↩
- Apollo, Zeus, Dionysus, Ares, Hermes, Aphrodite, Minospawn (Minotaur) and Satyr. ↩
- In case you are wondering, the power level is somewhere between Pulp Heroes and Street Fighters with the Rising Stars option selected from the Super Powers Companion. ↩