Tag Archive | "savage-worlds"

A Review of Two Savage RPGs

Posted on January 9, 2012 by

Review: A Tale of Two Savages
Agents of Oblivion and Peculiar Pentad

It’s no secret I’m a fan of horror RPGs and Savage Worlds, which makes these two entries especially appealing. Agents of Oblivion suggests a world where Jason Bourne gets put into a blender with HP Lovecraft and turns out rather interesting results. With the Savaged version of Peculiar Pentad, readers are given five entrepreneurs who have uncovered a troublesome niche market–those seeking items attached to the Cthulhu Mythos. I’m thinking a 401K isn’t a worthwhile investment.

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Matt-M-McElroy

Streets of Bedlam Interview with Jason L Blair

Posted on December 6, 2011 by

Streets of Bedlam is a pen-and-paper roleplaying game in which you play characters with histories, who’ve done bad things, who may do a few more, but who have a code they stick to, fuzzy though it may be, that guides them through life and allows them to make a difference. Everybody in this town wants something but your characters are aiming higher than most and maybe, just maybe, they’ll do some good. At the very least, maybe they’ll stop some bad from happening.

Written and designed by critically-acclaimed game writer Jason L Blair, the man behind Little Fears, Streets of Bedlam will be built around the award-winning Savage Worlds ruleset published by Pinnacle Entertainment Group.

In this interview I ask Jason for details about the inspirations he drew from and the characters that you play in Streets of Bedlam.

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Flames

Streets of Bedlam: A Savage World of Crime + Corruption Kickstarter

Posted on November 30, 2011 by

Bedford and Lamrose. Two sides of the same river. Two sides of the same coin. One, an affluent metropolis teeming with industry and aspiration. The other, a cesspool of crime and vice. Both dirty, both begging for the match that will set this whole city on fire.

Bedford and Lamrose. Locals call this place Bedlam. It’s a fitting name.

Streets of Bedlam: A Savage World of Crime + Corruption is equal parts neo-noir, pulp detective fiction, and a bit of the ol’ ultraviolence thrown into a cement mixer and poured on top a heap of nameless bodies no one will ever miss.

It’s a modern urban setting full of despicable people doing awful things in the name of God, money, politics, or to pay off old debts. The stories shine light on the dark places of the human heart but it’s about finding diamonds in the rough, about good people in bad situations. The heroes may have questionable means but they have good intentions.

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Totems of the Dead RPG Review

Posted on November 11, 2011 by

This ambitious Savage Worlds setting mixes Norse and Pre-Columbian Native American lore into a sword and sorcery setting I find damn interesting. First, the artwork and layout of the book is an outstanding mix of watermarked images, detailed artwork, and fresh creativity. I’d love to see this book in color, which is really my only complaint about the book. Consider me spoiled.

There are few times that a supplement supersedes the production value of its core work. This is one of those times. The artwork of this book easily bests the majority of Savage Worlds releases, including the core book. The writing is excellent, providing a rich background for players to explore.

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Flames

Agents of Oblivion, a new Savage Worlds setting!

Posted on October 10, 2011 by

Agents of Oblivion is the highly anticipated Savage Worlds setting book we like to call The Perfect Cocktail of Horror and Espionage. Within these pages grace everything you need to play the style of spy game you want to play from “The Company Line” where every nightmare and conspiracy you can imagine is real and you can wield the powers you need to drive back the darkness to “Spy versus Spy” where you can take things on in a gritty brutal fashion.

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Savage Worlds Deluxe RPG Review

Posted on September 22, 2011 by

Let me first confess how much I love Savage Worlds. I’ve been a huge fan of the mechanics from my first game (the Tour of Darkness setting) where I learned how deadly tossing grenades back at my opponents could be. What I love about the system is how malleable it is. With a few tweaks, you can lay out a 1940s pulp setting or a star-flung sci-fi one. There have been numerous releases for the engine over the years, giving players and game masters a wealth of material to mine. This release isn’t “new” as much as it is dressed in its Sunday Best. I’m going to focus on the changes for the purposes of this review rather than detail the entire work.

The lavish artwork is generous throughout the book. Since the engine is designed for players to play damn near anything, the artwork is varied. There are multiple excellent action pieces and the character pieces have more hits than misses (I liked 34, 57, and 70 the best). Much of the artwork is borrowed from other Savage Worlds’ releases either as a direct or inspired work.

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Perdition’s Daughter: a Dime Novel Review

Posted on June 21, 2011 by

Deadlands, the very name speaks of dark tidings and sinister shenanigans. For those unfamiliar to the setting, Deadlands is an Old West role-playing game that was initially released in the mid-90’s. It met with quite a bit of success and has recently been re-released employing the Savage Worlds system. Both games were written excellently by Shane Lacy Hensley and I was quite happy to see my beloved game in print once more. With Deadlands, Shane transports us to the spaghetti westerns of Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood where he mixes it liberally with horror. He then throws in dashes of Steampunk and science-fiction to make it one of the best genre spanning settings. It can be dark, irreverent, gritty, and surreal all in the same session without a pause.

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Darwin’s World (Campaign Guide) RPG Review

Posted on June 3, 2011 by

A little known fact of my life: when I was 5 my parent decided to vacation in Florida for the first time, and they picked the later half of October for this family outing. Of course, when I was 5 the year was 1962, and if you do a quick search on The Google you’ll discover in the last half of October, 1962, Florida was probably the last place in the world you wanted to be, since the odds of experiencing a live reenactment of Alas, Babylon, were pretty high.

Now, I remember none of this, but my parent often told me the story of how, right in the middle of the stuff about to go down, they decided the place to hang was a motel in Clearwater, Florida, which is about a 10 mile jaunt across Old Tampa Bay from MacDill AFB, a huge Strategic Air Command base and, at that moment in time, a target that was going to get whacked out in short order should the Cuban Missile Crisis have decided to go hot.

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Hellfrost Region Guide 3: The Magocracy Review

Posted on March 21, 2011 by

The region guides for the Savage Worlds Hellfrost setting, with the exception of a couple which focus on non-geographical elements, comprise three discernible groups; “Evil” lands which have been overrun by the forces of the various villainous factions (the Liche Lands previously reviewed are a good example of this) and which are inimical to player groups; Border lands, such as the Freelands, where safe havens of civilization exist beside lurking dangers that threaten travelers; and “Civilized” nation states in the Hearthlands, where shadowy evil does lurk, but not in the same numbers as in the other places. The Magocracy is an example of the third category, and as such is a good location for WFRP-style Enemy Within type campaigns.

After a short introductory paragraph to set the scene, this pdf opens with a discussion on Social Hierarchy.

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Hellfrost Region Guide 1: Sacred Places

Posted on March 2, 2011 by

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.

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Hellfrost Region Guide 0: Of Men and Gods Review

Posted on February 21, 2011 by

The Hellfrost Region Guides are short, inexpensive pdfs (earlier guides tended to cover larger areas, and are 12 pages, later ones cover smaller areas and tend to be 6 pages) covering a particular aspect (usually geographic) of the world of Rassilon. In this series of reviews, I shall examine each region guide in order. The format of each is the same; there is no artwork, simply a title page with a one-column introduction to the area, then several pages of double-column information, some pages with sidebars. The text is clear and editing, for the most part, is average for the RPG industry; most region guides have a few typos here and there, but nothing too bad. As such, the Style points for each review will be the same unless there is something especially pronounced in a particular region guide.

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Hellfrost Gazetteer RPG Review

Posted on February 14, 2011 by

This is the third in a series of three reviews looking at the core books for Hellfrost, a setting by Triple Ace Games for the Savage Worlds system. In this review, I will examine the Gazetteer, the third of these three books.

This is my favorite of the three core Hellfrost books, as it can easily be used for any system, not just Savage Worlds. In many ways, it’s not so much an introduction to the regions of Hellfrost, as more of a GM’s Guide to Hellfrost, since it contains some information which might spoil the setting for players. The book is split into three sections, a short Introduction, the lengthy Lands of Rassilon, and the concluding Evil Organisations. The artwork is of the same style as the other two core HF books, and like the other books, contains occasional sidebars throughout that add cultural or historical detail. There is no system information in this book; it is entirely background information for the Hellfrost setting.

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Zombacalypse (Savage Worlds) RPG Review

Posted on February 4, 2011 by

You can go many ways with a zombie. Desperate horror is just as likely as Romantic comedy anymore. They are seriously everywhere, which is probably why they are such a threat.

I’m not going to overanalyze them. People much smarter than me have already done that. What I will do is say I ran a super hero zombie one-shot for some friends once and enjoyed the Hell out of it. I also played a convention game where zombies were the main attraction (liked that too). For the most part (and this isn’t fair really), zombie games have a one-shot feel to them. Some games like Zombie Run (an excellent Savage Worlds adventure) and the zillion plus supplements for All Flesh Must Be Eaten suggest ways to make longer campaigns, but I always felt like zombie games were filler (like a blockbuster summer flick) than a campaign (like Walking Dead). I’m hardheaded and wrong, which this book quickly points out.

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Hellfrost Bestiary RPG Review

Posted on February 1, 2011 by

This is the second in a series of three reviews looking at the core books for Hellfrost, a setting by Triple Ace Games for the Savage Worlds system. In this review, I will examine the Bestiary, the second of these three books.

The book, not surprisingly, contains a plethora of monsters, archetypes and animals that not only help you populate your Hellfrost campaign with relevant beasties, but also offer some good fodder for any other campaign run using the Savage Worlds rules. For anyone using Hellfrost with a different set of rules, this book won’t be as useful as the other two core HF books, but it will give you some idea of the types of critters out there in Rassilon for you to convert to whatever game system you’re using. In general, the book is great for Hellfrost using SW rules, and ok for anyone using either a different system for HF, or a different setting with SW.

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Hellfrost Player’s Guide RPG Review

Posted on January 25, 2011 by

This is the first in a series of three reviews looking at the core books for Hellfrost, a setting by Triple Ace Games for the Savage Worlds system. In this review, I will examine the Player’s Guide, the first of these three books.

The book introduces the setting of Hellfrost and covers various interpretations of the Core Savage Worlds rules, offers new rules, and governs character creation in the world of Rassilon, as well as providing a very brief introduction to the world. The book is laid out in 11 chapters, with a good choice of art – just about every picture depicts something that is being mentioned on that page, from a woman buying a sword in the gear section, to a mage casting a Zephyr spell on the appropriate page of the magic section. The art is also of a decent standard, and in my opinion, better that that of the SW Explorer’s Edition book.

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The Kerberos Club RPG Review

Posted on November 18, 2010 by

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.

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Preston DuBose

Halloween and Fall Fest in Pinebox, Texas

Posted on October 29, 2010 by

FlamesRising.com is pleased to present you with a look at how the fictional small town of Pinebox, Texas celebrates Halloween. Dubbed “Fall Fest,” find out how these residents get into the spirit of the season. For more about Pinebox and the games and stories that take place there, visit 12 to Midnight.

Fall Fest in Pinebox, Texas

While East Texas lakes lure hordes of sport fishermen every Summer, most travelers find Autumn the best time to visit the region. By October, one or more cold fronts have swept through the lower states and pushed out the high humidity and higher temperatures. Temperate weather makes it easier to enjoy the beautiful piney woods, the lakes, and “local flavor.”

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Shanghai Vampocalypse Player’s Guide (Savage Worlds) RPG Review

Posted on October 26, 2010 by

What do you give the Savage Worlds’ character who has everything? In an earlier review, I suggested Suzerain, which permits players to take their characters to the demigod level and opens up, well, all the other game books on the bookshelf at home. This is becoming quite the trend as massive gaming collections fail to the get love they deserve. Eden’s under-appreciated Odyssey Prime tried this (with D20 and Unisystem no less). John Wick has an interesting take on it with his Flux game while Suzerain tries to work from one system (Savage Worlds) to make all the setting fit into place. The designers at Savage Mojo could have stopped with the core book, leaving readers to fend for themselves; however, they instead have created a series of settings intended for demigod powerhouses. To paraphrase the game, fighting a few vampires is good work for a hero. Fighting an army of vampires is what you get when you attain Suzerain status.

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Flames

Cthulhu Week: Deconstructing Realms of Cthulhu

Posted on August 22, 2010 by

Throughout Cthulhu Week we’ve discussed Mythos tomes in comic books, fiction, movies and more. We’ve even offered up a Campaign Frame for the Trail of Cthulhu RPG and vivisected elements of the Call of Cthulhu RPG as well.

Yet there is another Mythos RPG and game designer Sean Preston is here to tell us about his dark work on the game called Realms of Cthulhu

Deconstructing Realms of Cthulhu

Hello there. I’m Sean Preston, and I’m a game designer, writer, editor, publisher, and an avid gamer as well. I like to talk and write about games (when not playing them) as much as most of us in this industry, but before we get going let’s have a compact. Since we’ll be talking about Lovecraft, it’s only natural that blood enters the scene, so let’s make it a blood compact. Shall we? My digital blood is being spilled before you, pixel by pixel. I trust you’ll smear some about at some point or other, so the compact is made. What I’ll be talking about is the philosophy of writing Lovecraftian horror for games. I shall not deviate. If I do, I pray the Hounds of Tindalos find a lovely angle from which to spring upon me in the dead of night. As for you, if you enjoy the article, share it about. Fair enough? Good. Now, let’s get started in earnest. The clock is ticking.

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Hellfrost: Bestiary RPG Review

Posted on June 4, 2010 by

Before I dive into this review, let me point out that it reads differently. I think a good review should not only weigh a product’s pros and cons. No, they should also speak to previous tastes and biases. Comparisons. Rather than dwell here, let’s dive right into the Hellfrost: Bestiary review.

Hellfrost: Bestiary (Triple Ace Games; 132 Pages) is a massive collection of fantasy monsters for the Hellfrost setting and Savage Worlds’ game engine. The book covers all manner of vile creature from the evil deer (page 20) to truly loathsome Dread Liche (page 84). These antagonists also offer many variations of trouble for PCs. There are “tanks” with toughness of 23, psionics, pesky swarms, and mystical adversaries. Trouble. Loads of trouble.

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