Saturday, July 21, 2007

Nowadays what usually happens when it comes to role-playing, is a buddy and I get together, create some characters in whatever RPG we’re gonna’ play, and then maybe run one adventure. That’s it. We never get together again and the momentum for any kind of campaign is lost. I can’t tell you how many times this has happened and how many games that I’ve GM’d that went nowhere. It’s frustrating when you’ve put a lot time and effort prepping.

Last weekend I finally got the chance to do some gamming again and this time it was quite satisfying. I wasn’t the GM though, thank goodness, Dean Wormer fulfilled that role quite nicely. Flashback to several months ago, when overdroid was briefly in town, we played the opening chapter of the Savage Worlds setting Necessary Evil. I really wanted to continue this campaign, but I’ve been busy. Well, last week things worked out and Dean and I had a great time playing the next chapter. Dean jr. also joined us which made everything that much more fun.

I’ve always wanted to play in a superhero RPG campaign, but sadly most folks don’t seem to enjoy this kind of gamming, and until recently there wasn’t any system I was really happy with. Mutant and Masterminds is a great game because it really emulates the 4-color world very well (that Freedom City book is terrific), but I haven’t the time or the energy to wade through the rules, and I own it. I think I need to play M&M a few times rather than be the GM to get the hang of it. That’s just the way my brain works. Well, Dean has gotten into Savage Worlds. It’s a generic rules set that sprung out of Deadlands and The Great Rail War miniatures game. This RPG can incorporate settings that have additional rules that plug into the main rules set. It’s like D20 in that respect but it’s much more simple. Basically, the nice thing about Savage Worlds is that it’s easy to just jump into it and just play.

Well, the Necessary Evil setting book is about super-heroics and superpowers but with a twist. Aliens have conquered the earth through deceit and most, if not all, of the world’s Superheroes and leaders are dead. The entire planet has been subjugated, and humans aren’t much more than slaves. But there is a small glimmer of hope. There are still a few powerful enough to resist and maybe even force the aliens out… the supervillains! That’s right the players are supervillains. This time only the bad guys can drive the invaders away. It’s really a fantastic concept for a supers game. The characters have to be careful though; the adventures can be deadly, as the supervillains are essentially partisans.

This type of superpowered campaign has several advantages. One of the big ones is the deadly encounters. The adventures are truly exciting because the threats are very dangerous as a hit and run war should be. Another is due to the fact that the players really get to be both villainous and heroic. Something that really isn’t available in most superhero RPGs. The overarching storyline is engaging as well. Can the supervillains make it to the end of the campaign without being killed, let alone save the planet? And what are they going to do if they win anyway? They’re villains after all.

Necessary Evil via Savage Worlds is a lotta’ fun and a nice change from the usual superhero adventure since that stakes are so high. Check it out if you want a system and a campaign that’s easy to jump into.

You know this would make a great read for a comic story too. It should be adapted someday.



Pandabonium said...

When I was in college (back when dinosaurs ruled the earth) a number of us were into Avalon Hill's WWII games - Afrika Korps, Battle of Britain, Battle of the Bulge, etc. We'd set up the game boards on the fraternity house pool table. The games they produced then were more detailed than those I see now on the AH website and seem to me to have been more "realistic". Haven't actually played the newer ones, so that's just based on my first glance.

Haven't done that sort of thing in a long while. Have fun!

Don Snabulus said...

I'd love to say, "Count me in!" since it looks like a great scenario and a really fresh perspective.

However, I know that my mundane life is moving too quickly at the moment. Maybe when the (other) rains come this fall...

Swinebread said...

panda – If it wasn’t for Avalon Hill there might not be any role-playing games today. It is the very complexity and sophistication of their games, that spurred folks in the 70s to create the first role-playing games. I remember walking into a game store and being overwhelmed by how many games they produced had. I still own “Outdoor Survival" and “Feudal” Board Games. I think the bookshelf format was one of their great innovations.

Its owner closed down Avalon Hill and sold the rights to its games to Hasbro. Then Hasbro merged it with Wizards of the Coast, which it also owns. The name is merely a branding element to sell strategy board games under one title. Other companies bought up by Hasbro like Axis and Allies and Risk, make up most of the games that now carry the Avalon Hill name.

The Fall of Avalon Hill –

snab – We don’t play that much, so I’m sure we could set something up. It’s a very long campaign. I’m trying to get to the point where we have some folks in reserve i.e. staying at the base, so all the character’s don’t get screwed at once.

The Moody Minstrel said...

The last two times in a row I tried to organize an RPG group I put a helluva lot of time and effort into preparation (mainly since I was so eager to get back into it), but both times I could never get the players together more than twice over the course of a year because of conflicting schedules (and general apathy), and then most of them wound up moving away.

Oh, well.

That game really sounds wild.

Swinebread said...

moody - that sure sounds familiar ☹ I read an idea for campaign in a magazine once that was ship based. That way who ever showed up that night would leave the ship for the adventure and the yahoos that didn’t, would stay onboard. I thought that was a good idea, but you still have to get at least one person to show up.

Dean Wormer said...

I'd love it if we all got together to play-

Check out the test drive rules for savage worlds at their website.

I had a great time playing with you Swine and the day FLEW by.

Swinebread said...

It sure did...