So I decided recently to go ahead and re-read this book for the first time in years. I didn’t remember much about it when I started reading it this time, and I quickly realized that this was basically a bunch of rules tweaks that in theory would make Savage Worlds even more over the top than the base implementation without going as far as the Savage Rifts implementation did.
So what do you get with this book? Well you get a minimal amount of setting information for one of the settings these rules are used in, about a third of the book is rules changes for the character creation and advancement. About a sixth are guidelines and suggestions for running high-powered games based on these rules and about half of the book has a partial plot point campaign and a bunch of savage tales for higher rank characters.
Overall these rules are intended to be used with one of several settings put out by this company of which there are many. Overall this book feels like a combination of one of the Savage Worlds Companion books and a bunch of house rules. The basic premise behind all of the worlds is that there are multiple worlds and as the characters advance in power they learn to travel between the different worlds and eventually at the high-end of the spectrum the realms of the gods. Because the setting is so light in this book, it is hard to judge what any of the settings in this world would be like. In many ways the best analog to this book is the old Epic Level Handbook for D&D 3rd edition, and unfortunately I am not sure that the rules changes in here were really needed to achieve the effects that they were going for. For example I don’t see the need to rename “power points” to “pulse” or “bennies” to “karma”. I don’t know that we really need an extra level of fatigue damage just to make it balance out with wound levels (but given what little I could see of the monsters, most have some method of also doing fatigue damage in addition to regular damage). I don’t mind the increasing of the wild die at higher ranks or the bonus to soak and shaken rolls, or the faster recovery of wounds and power points at higher ranks. I just don’t think that they are necessary.
The next thing that kind of irritates me is that the monsters that are included are scattered (mostly through the second half of the book) instead of grouped together so that you can thumb through them to get an idea of how tough they are or what kind of beings you will be dealing with. It certainly would make using a physical book as a reference a pain in the rear, but this is less of an issue for a PDF.
Ultimately I don’t know that I would want to use these rules for anything that I run with Savage Worlds. Maybe that would change if I got one of the setting books and it really wowed me, but I doubt it. In all probability I would just take the setting and run it with standard rules. As a final note, at some point I do intend to pick up the Noir Knights setting mostly because I like the idea that was hinted at of hobos whose trail markings can also be spells would be cool to incorporate into the Deadlands Noir game that I am currently running.