Posted on March 2, 2011 by Nick the Lemming
Region Guide 1: Sacred Places is the first proper title in a series of small pdfs for the Savage Worlds Hellfrost setting by Triple Ace Games. The guide is only 12 pages long, but is cheap, and adds more setting information to the game. The region guide series are not material that was cut from the Hellfrost Gazetteer, but additional material for the GM. In conversation with Wiggy, the author of Hellfrost and these region guides, he stressed that this was not an attempt to gouge fans, but to create additional material for certain areas of the game in addition to that found in the core books. When you look at the region guide series as a whole, you’ll find there are well over 400 pages of extra material in total, dwarfing the size of the gazetteer. Nor is any of the information in the gazetteer repeated here; this is all new material. As a personal note, I’d also like to add that Wiggy has made many pdfs freely available on the TAG website which also add to the Hellfrost milieu – hardly the action of someone wanting to gouge customers. So, why not just create a Gazetter 2 (and 3, and 4…) book instead of all these pdfs? The advantages of the region guide series are twofold; firstly, these pdfs can be released quite quickly; if Wiggy had wanted to wait until he had finished all of them before releasing them as a book, then there would be a much longer downtime before they saw print. Secondly, the GM can buy whichever pdfs he wants, depending on which areas he finds interesting or where his players want their characters to go.. No-one is making you buy all of the series.
Region Guide 1 is a little different to most of the rest of the series in that it doesn’t examine a geographical region, but instead considers sites found throughout Rassilon where spirits have made their homes. After a brief and general introduction, the article starts with a chapter on Creating Sacred Places. In this chapter, the GM is led through the various stages of creating spirit sites for his or campaign. Advice on choosing names, personalities, locations, ties to deities, powers and sacrifices required are given, including a fairly lengthy discussion concerning how the particular spirit detects and converses or interacts with any interlopers or devotees. Sidebars concerning the mortality (or lack of it) of spirits, and how the PCs can detect the sites, are given in this section.
The second chapter is longer, consisting of about 7 pages of example spirit sites found throughout the world, covering a total of 13 sites in all. These range from fairly minor sites with lesser spirits inhabiting them, to locations harboring very powerful entities. While most would prove helpful to the PCs if they treat the spirits with respect, some are quite dangerous, or need to be approached with a great deal of caution. The third and final chapter concerns Gods and Monsters, and includes a write-up of a minor god, Gullveig, god of brewing, as well as information and stats on a new monster, the Dread Wraith. Like all minor gods presented in the region guide series, information of Gullveig matches that found in the Hellfrost Player’s Guide for the major gods presented there. Clergy of minor gods have lesser powers than the major gods, and fewer of them, but worship of the minor gods can be held simultaneously with a major god, as each minor god is tied to one or more of the major gods. Gullveig, for example, is tied to both Eostre (because of the honey used in brewing mead and the bees that provide it), and Vali (because of the dangers of alcoholism and drunkenness, and because of the ease with which to persuade or seduce someone in their cups).
There are quite a few adventure ideas strewn throughout the guide; the sites themselves often act as the basis for a small adventure, or as an impetus to go adventuring, as some spirits demand certain quests be fulfilled before they will aid the characters. There is little system info to be found here, other than the monster stats and the details on what powers etc the spirit of a place has, so this guide can easily be used for games set in Hellfrost using systems other than Savage Worlds. Likewise, a SW GM could easily use the rules and information as given here in their own setting if they wished. This pdf is pretty much complete, and I have a hard time thinking of anything that appears to be missing from the guide or that should have been included. The sections are cohesive and holistic (Gullveig is written up because one of the locations is sacred to him, and the Dread Wraiths are an example of creatures found on old battlefields that have attained some amount of power.
Style: There is no artwork in any of the region guides, though the format is uniform – a single column with header and the usual info on the front page, double columns with occasional sidebars for the rest of the pdf. There are a few typos in the series as a whole, but not enough to distract the reader. The style is functional.
Substance: I found this pdf to be quite useful, introducing a new facet of Hellfrost that combines adventuring locations, ideas for quests, and often some form of aid for the PCs. Other region guides in the series frequently mention sacred places, so this pdf is a good buy for the GM, and essential if you wish to fully utilize the locations presented in the other guides.
Tags | savage-worlds