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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Savage Worlds: High Space

Late posting.. I ran the game on September 26th, and it has taken me this long to post.  Sorry.

This game is in the setting of High Space, by Storyweaver Games.  I ran the "Blind Threat" scenario that can likely be free if you work it right. (Look at the site.) I paid the $3 and ran a enjoyable game for everyone.

The Setting
The PDF purchase from is $15 and the Core Rules is quite the set.  You get the Character Analects, the Fleet Manual and The Lantern.

Character Analects is the setting book we all expect for a Savage Worlds setting with Races, Edges, Hindrances, Skills, and unique setting qualities.

Some unique things about this setting are Culture, Career, Equilibrium, and Gear purchasing.

First, Culture.  Items like Aristocrat, Militant, Beyonder and more.  These give your character a background of how he grew up in the universe; they also give you some skills.  I hadn't mentioned it yet, but in character creation you only get 13 skill points, where typically 15 are used, and Culture gives you the missing skill points.

Careers are current or very recent job paths the character has had. This gives you access to benefits that are usually equipment beyond a Novice's grasp.

Gear purchasing is done based by rank, not credits or money.  Acquisition rank is used for getting and keeping equipment.  If characters are found with equipment beyond their rank, they have a hard time keeping it.

Equilibrium is a new attribute that is specific to life in space: cryo travel, space maneuvering, bionic implants, and encountering alien species.  It seems to be a lot like Sanity in a horror game, because you roll checks whenever you encounter something to keep from flipping out.  Unlike a Sanity check, Equilibrium doesn't reduce, it is only effective for the current scene.

Fleet Manual
This is the ship building manual to make ships.  They are built like typical Savage Worlds characters: the ships have Manuever, Computing, FTL (Faster Than Light), Displacement, and Quality.  There are also derived stats of Pace and Toughness.  Ships can have hindrances and edges, too.  Building out a ship was really fun.  There is a lot to play with.

There is an option to play a ship as a character which I tried setting up.  I built an AI which was the ship's computer.  I am not sure if I did it correctly...  No one played that character anyway, so we didn't get to play test it.

The Lantern
The Universe.  This guide describes races, planets, corporations, organizations, and political entities.  This is your sandbox.  And a plot point campaign outline.  All the plot points are sold separately, it seems, something I just figured out.  The Lantern also has a plot hook generator and a lot of tools to create your own adventures in High Space.

The Game
First off, characters were chosen.  I built a typical crew of a space ship and used some alien races and even androids.  I also built an AI character to be the ship. One good thing about Storyweaver, they built Hero Lab files, and since I am a heavy user of Hero Lab, this was very welcome.  Turns out there needs to be some fixing of the files, but I got the unofficial updates from my buddy who works at Lone Wolf for the Savage Worlds piece.  I was then able to make characters for the game.

The adventure was planned to split the party: they go off into space to make a deal and when the deal is done, the crew left behind on the planet have a short window of time to get the goods the deal was made for.  Both of the deals used an extended diplomatic mechanic using the dramatic tasks method.  Alternately, the adventure wrote in some pre-negotiation bits that impact the rolls for the dramatic task.

After each of these, there was an incident to introduce some combat, including ship battles.  The players opted out of the ship battle in an interesting way.  They had done such a good job negotiating that they managed an extra bit.  They used this bit to pay off the 'Pirate' in space to avoid combat.  The incident on planet side wasn't so friendly; they were attacked outright.  The party defended themselves quite adequately. With a big ass gun.

The next scene was implementing the plan, to put a security scrambler on a network of a corporate plant.  The scrambler replicates a signal and destroys the communication network of the corporation.  With the job finished, the party launches to space for their getaway.  One of the corporate ships is nearby and intercepts the ship.  The battle is engaged.  After a few rounds, the players manage to destroy the other ship and make good on their escape.

Overall Impression
I like the rules, with the exception of Equilibrium.  I might house rule it out as I don't think it really adds much.  Cyberware, AIs and aliens are well done, although I haven't really dove in as deep as I could.  I love the ship building and the rules for the ships; I think that was really well done.  The Sandbox setting is very detailed and should be very useful.  I don't like that each plot point is a new PDF to buy, and they aren't all available yet.  Hopefully when they are all done, you can get them bundled.