Posted on November 18, 2010 by spikexan
Available at RPGNow.com
Benjamin Baugh’s Savaged edition of The Kerberos Club is one of the more imaginative settings I’ve seen for the engine in awhile. The setting couples super heroes with Victorian England. It’s really a game for fans of Alan Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (the comic of course, not the movie). Beginning in 1860, superhumans begin cropping up (or flying about in this case). The public is understandably weary of such, so factions quickly form. The superhumans come in all flavors. There are mystically created heroes, Mystery Men of Science, and more. The 300-page corebook, while meaty, still requires both the Savage Worlds corebook and Savage Worlds Superpowers Companion to play.
Fred Hicks and Shane Ivey’s page design fits for this book. While the time period may have been known for its extravagance, the simplicity of their design makes much more sense. The artists–Todd Shearer and Lanny Liu–capture a fantastic, gritty mood with their character pieces (some notable Wildcards from the book, others are just stock characters). The artwork is a bit sparse, but I found myself forgiving since Baugh’s writing is so captivating.
What appeals to me about the writing is Baugh’s attention to details (and a disclaimer not to sweat any “mistakes” too much. After all, we’re talking super heroes here. Why accept that a man can fly while not accepting a new outcome to a historical event?). What you get from this book is roughly twenty pages of Savage Worlds’ material and 280 pages of Setting material, both history lesson and pure imagination. Fans of Victorian settings may be tempted to gloss over the history in this book, but Baugh’s heavily-seeded amendments to history are dense.
The characters in the game are some of the most off-kilter “heroes” I’ve read about in a while. They are perfect matches for the time period. Some are conniving scoundrels who are mainly good because it’s convenient while others prove to be the more trustworthy types. Baugh offers “evil” versions of all the characters, which I think is something you don’t see often in games, especially with so many licensed products currently entering the market. Players can go ahead and read the whole dang book without all those “disclaimers” (Disclaimer: players may not want to read the adventure at the end of the book) because they won’t know which way the GM is going to use the characters.
This book is just an exciting read, especially for fans of either the Victorian era or Super hero fantasy (I actually hit both). While the upstart cost may be a bit deterring, most Savage Worlds’ fans already have the corebook anyway. If not, start with this book, wade through it, and you’ll probably find yourself wanting to swim out a little further when you’re done (just watch out for the Atlantians . . . they don’t like our kind much).
Review by Anthony Todd Cash