A Universe of Heroic Adventure awaits in the PEG’s Savage Worlds: Science Fiction Companion!

There are plenty of Science Fiction role-playing games on the market these days, and just as many (if not more) settings to go along with them. While some of these SciFi role-playing games are built proprietarily for the genre, and even a specific setting, there are some noted generic role-playing games which can be molded to suit almost any setting imaginable.

Just last month, Pinnacle Entertainment Group released two new supplements for their Savage Worlds Deluxe RPG, and one of these takes on the challenge of creating a complete resource for several sub-genres of science fiction – from Space Opera to Mecha. This new edition of the Science Fiction Companion offers rules, resources, and ideas on how to go about creating a science fiction campaign using the adaptable Savage Worlds RPG.


Savage Worlds: Science Fiction Companion

  • Designers: Paul “Wiggy” Wade-Williams (original design); Shane Lacy Hensley with Clint & Jodi Black, John Goff, Matthew Cutter, Piotr Korys, Preston Dubose, David Jarvis, and Adam Loyd (new edition)
  • Illustrations: Tomek Tworek (cover & graphics); Aaron Acevedo, Rick Hershey, MKUltra Studios, Ricky Otey, Mack Sztaba, Vincent Hie, Slawomir Maniak (interior)
  • Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment Group
  • Year: 2014
  • Media: PDF (98 pages)
  • Price: $14.99 (Available for purchase from RPGNow.com)

Savage Worlds: Science Fiction Companion is a supplement designed for use with the Savage Worlds Deluxe RPG system by Pinnacle Entertainment Group. The supplement contains new material for creating a character in a scifi / space opera setting, including new player character races, new hindrances and edges, and rules for designing custom races. SW:SciFi Companion also includes a wide range of new futuristic gear, including cyberware, energy weapons and armor, powered armor, robots, and high tech gadgets. New types of futuristic vehicles are also available, such as high tech versions of cars, motorcycles, and para-military craft, as well as starships, and even massive “walkers” or mechs. SW:SciFi Companion provides rules for creating and running alien worlds and empires, sample scifi NPCs, new “xeno” monsters and more.


Production Quality

The production quality of Savage Worlds: Science Fiction Companion is very good, offering some exceptional writing by the designers, presented in a pleasing and user-friendly layout. Like the Savage Worlds Deluxe RPG rules, the style of writing in SW:SciFi Companion is quite engaging, and the material is explained well throughout the book. The choice of font style makes the supplement easy to read, and special notes are readily visible as shaded cool blue boxes which stand out on the pages.

SW: SciFi Companion
was designed for ease of navigation, possessing a set of PDF bookmarks, a table of contents, and an index - all with clickable page links which take the reader directly to the entry or section being sought. And again, like the Savage Worlds Deluxe RPG rules, the PDF uses a feature of Acrobat to toggle between a printer-friendly and fully graphical version, hiding background images to conserve ink use.

The illustrations in SW: SciFi Companion are excellent, although a bit sparse at times. The cover is graphically striking in its depiction of a starship captain on her bridge, surveying a space battle over an alien world - certainly an evocative image for a book of this genre. The interior illustrations are equally colorful and apropos to illustrate a topic or concept being discussed on the page. But the lack of illustrations in the Xeno section was a bit noticeable, with many alien creatures lacking even a sketch to depict them.


The "Savage" Final Frontier

The Savage World: Science Fiction Companion conveys a considerable amount of new material for the Savage Worlds Deluxe RPG in its eleven chapters. It touches on a wide range of science fiction sub-genres including, but not limited to, space opera, horror, cyberpunk, and mecha. While not a setting book itself, the SW: SciFi Companion offers solid rules for using the Savage Worlds RPG system with these genres.

Chapter 1
leaps straight into new character races and rules for creating custom alien races for a campaign setting. There are some 32 Positive and 10 Negative Racial Abilities which can be used to create a new custom race, although some of these can be found in Savage Worlds Deluxe. The designers also suggest that super powers from the Savage Worlds: Super Powers Companion (to be reviewed next month) can also be used as more powerful Racial Abilities. The designers also provide 13 sample races in addition to human, including robotic characters discussed later in the supplement. This chapter also provides more than a dozen new edges and hindrances, such as allowing a character to deal with (or adversely effected by) high and low-G environments, zero-G, or cyber implants.

Gear is the main topic of Chapter 2, offering a large variety of gizmos, weapons, and armor from any number of SciFi tropes. The designers make it a point to designate some of the equipment as “Ultra Tech”, equipment that is deemed far in the advance of “standard” science fiction. “Ultra Tech” items include such items as disintegrator weapons and teleporters, which can have extreme consequences to a campaign if they are commonly available.

Chapter 3
delves into rules that will be useful in various science-fiction settings. The designers created content for handling unusual or hazardous atmospheric effects, varying levels of gravity, hacking into computer systems, and making a buck as an intergalactic trader. The rules are fairly concise here, although for hacking it’s pretty basic. The designers do recommend Gun Metal Games’ Interface Zero 2.0 supplement for a more in-depth cyberspace-hacking system. (Reviewer’s Note: Interface Zero 2.0 will also be covered by this column in the coming weeks.)

The designers gave Cyberwear its own chapter, and devised some new rules to handle this sort of technology in a campaign. There is a nifty selection of cyberwear gear available for characters to access in Chapter 4, covering most of the expected cyberpunk tropes – cybereyes, cyberjack, implanted communicator, limb replacement, and the like. The amount of cyberwear a character can be equipped with is limited by their Vigor or Spirit attributes, with annoying consequences for overdoing the implanted gadgetry.

Chapter 5
explores types of powered armor, like the kind in the novel Starship Troopers or Battledress in Traveller RPGMecha appears later in the book. The designers provide six “stock” types of powered armor usable in various roles (Assault, Command, Scout, etc.), but there are also rules on building custom powered armor, selecting from a list of over a dozen modifications to add to a base chassis.

Without little doubt, Robots are a major trope in much of science-fiction, and Chapter 6 takes a look at including them in a setting. Like the previous chapter on Powered Armor, the designers offer four types of “stock” robots, as well as rules for creating custom ones. There are nearly two dozen robot modifications which can be used, as well as a base model to serve as a template for building new robots – including robotic characters.

As might be expected, the chapter dealing with Starships is quite extensive, and the designers touch on topics ranging from building and modifying starships to fuel, crew wages, and other logistics. There are some combat rules provided here as well, with the recommendation that GMs use a modified form of the Chase Rules for Savage Worlds when handling most space combats, although there are also rules for a more tactical combat system is discussed here as well – including a nasty Critical Hits table pertaining specifically to starship combat. There are 13 “stock” starships ready for use in a scenario, ranging from shuttles and fighters on up massive battleships and carriers. There are also rules for building starships of various sizes, along with a list of modifications that can be added to create a custom starship or upgrade an existing one.

Chapter 8
discusses Vehicles which might be used by characters once planetside. As with the chapter on Starships, there are nearly 20 different sample vehicles, both for civilian and military use. And there are rules here for creating custom vehicles as well as upgrading existing ones.

Using Walkers (aka Mechs) in a Savage Worlds science fiction campaign is the focus of Chapter 9, starting off with some rules modifications for handling combat with the immense size and power of these twenty to fifty foot tall mechanical warriors. A table of modifications is provided to make custom walkers for a campaign, or to upgrade existing ones – and there are six examples of “stock” walkers as well.

In Chapter 10, there are tables provided to randomly generate habitable worlds – the designers believe that habitable worlds “are typically of most interest to the characters.” There are ten tables for creating not only the physical characteristics (i.e. gravity, terrain, atmosphere) but also details such as population, laws, customs, government, and technology level. Surprisingly, the section is a bit sparse for making a star system or to create an uninhabitable world, which some GMs might find is a bit lacking in detail.

Finally, Chapter 11 offers some Extras to populate a galaxy, but characters and xenos (creatures). There are 30 different NPCs here that the player-characters might meet in their travels, with a few Wild Card types added for a more challenging encounter – these range from assassins to explorers, and scientists to soldiers. There are also three examples of “organizations” which might be encountered in a science fiction campaign - the Rigellian Slave Fleet, The Tanzanian Empire, and The United Confederation – providing GMs with a template to build their own. And there are over 50 xenos (monsters) detailed in Chapter 11, with a great variety of creatures applicable to almost any planetary environment – and a few that can exist in space as well! As previously mentioned, while many of the creatures are very imaginative in their design, only a tiny fraction of them have any illustration depicting them – this makes for a little “wall of text” feeling in section of the supplement.


Overall Score: 4.3 out of 5.0


Conclusions

Savage Worlds: Science Fiction Companion
is a wealth of content for running a full range of scifi campaigns. The new rules and rules modifications excellently demonstrate how adaptable the Savage Worlds Deluxe RPG system is, and the designers provide material for the most popular of science fiction sub-genres. While the artwork was disappointingly sparse in the Xeno section, the rest of the book had some great illustrations gracing the pages, and they definitely assist in firing the imagination of the reader.

For Savage Worlds RPG fans who enjoy a good space opera, this Science Fiction Companion might well be considered a “must have” PDF for reference and campaign building. With the considerable amount of resource material in the SW: SciFi Companion, the pricetag is more than generous, providing enough fun new content for hours of adventuring into the farthest reaches of space!

Editorial Note
: This Reviewer received a complimentary copy of the product in PDF format from which this review was written.

Grade Card (Ratings 1 to 5)

  • Presentation: 4.0
  • - Design: 4.0 (Awesome writing; solid layout; cool navigation options in the PDF)
  • - Illustrations: 4.0 (Excellent cover; great interior art and illustrations – but needed more xeno art!)
  • Content: 4.25
  • - Crunch: 4.5 (Excellent adaption of Savage Worlds rules for the science fiction genre)
  • - Fluff: 4.0 (Imaginative content in all chapters; very cool creature designing)
  • Value: 4.5 (Tons of content for a very good price!)
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Visit Our Sponsor

Latest threads

Dungeon Delver's Guide

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top