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Aaron T. Huss is a prolific fellow. In the past year he has launched Savage Insider, released Mercenary Breed, Judgement Day, and the Faith and Demons Quick Start, and has another setting called Ancient World in the pipeline. Somehow, during the flurry of releases, he has managed to go back and do a revised and expanded edition of Mercenary Breed – and this new version is awesome!
I reviewed the original release of Mercenary Breed awhile back and the core elements and intent of the setting are the same. You play a merc in the employ of a corporation who is sent out to settle the interests of your employer in a galaxy of your game groups design. While the setup is the same, what’s different is the presentation.
This book has been redone from front to back. In addition to the fantastic looking new cover (blows the old one out of the sky), the entire layout has been revamped. The new layout is much cleaner and word count per page has been reduced to facilitate a simpler more readable look. Comparing the two versions on my tablet I was very happy to see such a significant improvement. The new expanded version has foregone including all of the Savage Insider tie ins which results in the book feeling more like its own product as well as freeing up some real estate on the page.
As far as differences content wise, the additions seem like they were added from my mental wish list from the first edition. Equipment, maps, and ready to go npc’s? Check! The tables for generating planets, aliens, and adventures have also been retooled to embrace the use of playing cards. I liked this idea in Savage Space and I like it here!
So what’s missing? That depends on your perspective. Mercenary Breed is a mini setting that is purposefully designed to facilitate cooperative world building between GM’s and players. What that means is that this book isn’t designed to be a fully fleshed out game world. The book takes a toolkit approach which means that work is required. Aaron has included a couple of home worlds, corporations, and alien races to make it easy to get a game going quickly, but the real pay off comes when your group starts building a universe together and then playing in that cooperative playground.
Mystical Throne Entertainment will be releasing further material for Mercenary Breed in upcoming issues of Savage Insider so there’s a lot of room for growth with the setting. One area in particular that I hope will be expanded upon is space ships. Right now there are essentially no stats or rules for ships in the game. This makes perfect sense for a merc setting where all of the action is usually planet side. Rules for ships and space combat, however, would be an excellent area to focus on in an upcoming expansion.
This book is fantastic. The first premium issue of Savage Insider already has expansion material for the setting and I’m excited to see what comes out in the coming months. If you have any interest in a Savage Worlds space setting at all, you can’t go wrong adding Mercenary Breed to your collection.