Impressions of the Fear Agents RPG

This game was different from what I was expecting. In some ways I was expecting more of a Starwars style game and what I found was more of a cross between the Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Aliens, and Office Space. Not that this is bad, just not exactly what I was expecting. This was another setting that I backed without having read the source material1. One thing that should be stated up front is this setting expects the players to all be humans even though there are a plethora of intelligent alien races to interact with. All in all, I did like this2. Anyway on to my thoughts of the book.

Introduction

This chapter gives you the highlights of the story so far. Basically it boils down to there was a three-way war on Earth with a fourth race kidnapping people for use as food. Ultimately one of the two outside forces built a super weapon to wipe out the other and did so while suckering the human resistance into a trap. The humans escaped the trap and returned to defend their base. Just when it looked like all was lost, the other race pulled back and left the Earth. Then a new batch of aliens showed up and offered the survivors a place in the galactic community.

After this we get some background on The United Systems the main governing body and the various major races that are involved in this corner of the galaxy.

Makin Heroes

This chapter is all about making heroes which as I mentioned before are all human. We get a few new Hindrances and Edges but none of them seem to be things that we haven’t seen in other books with the possible exception of Zero-G Sickness and some of the Professional Edges. There are some skills and edges that are restricted to the Seasoned rank characters because the game takes place during our first steps off world. Also something that isn’t mentioned if you are planning to do the plot point campaign included in this book you will start off at Seasoned rank.

Equipment

This chapter is your basic equipment chapter covering weapons, armor, and ship weapons. In it we have your basic laser pistols, disintegrator pistols and blasters.

Spaceships

Here is where we find the rules for space ship upkeep, navigation, warp drive, and starship combat. There is also a small section on Teleportation technologies which have been worked out by some aliens. We end the chapter with space ship modifications that you can purchase and add to your ship and a selection of basic ships.

Setting Rules

We get two standard setting rules in this game Critical Failures and Joker’s Wild. In addition we get some new ones like Catching a Break that goes hand in hand with Critical Failures and gives you a benny if you roll snake eyes. There are some setting specific rules on Healing to speed recovery up and some simple rules for adventuring in Different Environments.

Gamemaster’s Background

This chapter covers some of the secrets for the setting. I will not go into them here in case anyone is reading the comics or a player reads this. We also get more information on the various locations that show up and life forms from these locations

More Setting Rules

These are the gamemaster specific setting rules like the table for the card pull if someone takes Clone (basically the Veteran of the Concrete Jungle or any of the other edges that give you four free advances to start). We also get rules on what happens when you fail your Knowledge (Navigation) roll. Then we move on to rules for time travel which is illegal and policed by a group of advanced races. Then we end the chapter with a section on Alternate Dimensions which is another fun thing that can happen when you blow your _Knowledge (Navigation) roll.

Adventure Generator

This is another of the Savage Worlds adventure generators, you pull three cards and based on the suit and value, you compare each of them to a table to determine the pieces of the adventure, then you figure out how to tie them all together. We are given two examples of this process at the end of the chapter which is nice to refer to as you go through the steps yourself.

The Searchers

This is the plot point campaign that is included in the book. It is important to note that you start out at Seasoned rank for it and basically you are scouring the galaxy looking for humans that were kidnapped by the Zerin to be used as food. It is pretty short with only six adventures, but it has call out spots to the adventures in the next chapter.

Blasts from the Past

This chapter contains four flash back adventures that are intended to be incorporated into the plot point campaign. With these, you could in theory run them first and then start the plot point campaign instead of starting the players at Seasoned, but you would need to pad these adventures out. I like that there is a discussion of what to do if a character dies in one of these flashbacks and doing so does have a cost. I like these adventures a lot and in them you get to play your characters as resistance fighters during the alien invasion before the end of the war.

Savage Tales

These are the savage tales that can be included during the plot point campaign (not the Blasts from the Past adventures). There are some good ones such as being brought before the keepers of the time travel laws as defendants and then there is the clone slave trade one where you spot a clone of yourself who is owned by some random alien and what do you do about that. Or perhaps my personal favorite A Face By Any Other Name which is a bounty hunter job with complications.

Bestiary

This chapter is all about the robots, creatures, aliens, and other assorted pests that you will either need to interact with, fight, or in the case of pests, exterminate. There are lots of good things in here. I also particularly like the different generic monsters that you are encouraged to tweak the appearance for to fit specific niches.

The other part of this chapter that I really liked was the inclusion of Professional templates that can be added to the different intelligent races that you can throw at a group of players. These templates might alter attributes, skills, edges and/or hindrances.

We then end this chapter with a selection of the important characters from the comic book all stated out for you to encounter or fight with depending on who they are.

Overall there was a lot to like about this book. In fact I came away liking it a lot more than I expected. I particularly liked the Blast from the Past section and could see running a mini campaign trying to survive the invasion of Earth during this time period. I also liked the inclusion of the Professional Templates, and I hope we get to see the inclusion of this concept in more games where it is appropriate (i.e. those with lots of races).


  1. I did the same with The Goon game that I wrote about earlier. 
  2. In many ways I might have liked this game more than The Goon even though I was expecting it to be the opposite. 
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Author: Hours without Sleep

I am a professional software tester, who has an interest in programming, computers, role-playing games, history, and reading in general. This is my third attempt at keeping a blog, and I am going to try putting all of my thoughts in one place, and see how it goes.

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