Today I was very happy to find a product on Drive Thru Rpg / RPG Now that took several of my gripes about starships in RPGs and fixed them to work with Savage Worlds. I am so happy because I have been looking for something like this for many, many years. I have a love of spaceships, spaceship combat, and space soldiers. I love military sci fi novels, and FINALLY I can play them with the right tone and system (in this case, I find that Savage Worlds does it best).
I am usually not so much of a fan of a product that I tell everyone about it, but I am freaking happy! As I said, I have wanted to have this at my gaming table for many, many years. I just had to get it. I am VERY glad that I did as the character book is just what I was going to wite myself (or try to, as this is really good). The space combat and starship system are also really good. Instead of feeling like someone slapped them onto the game with duct tape, Story Weaver fit it to the Savage Worlds system rather well. I was just thinking about coming up with something earlier today and the product came out just in time. It was what I was going to do, and much much more and better.
High Space Character Manual
Initial skill points are 12, but you pick a background edge and what is called a Cultural Edge. The Background edge is a profession, like Bounty Hunter, Criminal, or Explorer. The Cultural Edge basically spends the three “lost” skill points for you. This helps give a baseline cultural background, which helps people to account for that when making a character. In some cases it is three different d4 skills. In others it is a d4 skill and a 1 trait bonus. It is a good idea and could be used for any campaign setting. Personally I would make what it is calling a Background Edge a Profession Edge instead, and just require a Profession Edge, as I can see a character use those out of the Savage Worlds book, especially in other setting. I can see why they are called background edges, as they for a character’s background, but that is somewhat confusing as Savage Worlds already uses Background edges, but they are not used in quite the same way. No, again it looks like they should be Professional edges.
There is discussion of the various skills to be used in the setting. Examples are given for specific versions of Boating and Piloting, for example. We also get new skills as Philosophy, Programming, and Psychiatry.
There are new Hindrances such as Retrovirus. There are new edges, with a couple for Hacking being noteworthy. There are rules on robots and cybernetics, and gland drugs. There are rules on what is called Equilibrium. Apparently cryo-sleep can make you go crazy. Who would have thought?
There are a bunch of cool high tech weapons, armor, equipment, and vehicles. Just looking at the book this far is making me want to play the Colonial Marines from ALIENS or maybe a Spartan from HALO.
High Space Fleet Manual
Starship construction is based on the Wild Card characters that will crew it. A Novice is worth 1 point and a Legendary character is worth 5. This total is called Acquisition points. The number of Acquisition Points will then determine how many free Edges and Trait Points that are available to design the vessel.
Then you spend the Trait points on 5 attributes. Maneuver, Computer, FTL, Displacement, and Quality. The Displacement is the mass of the vessel. D4 is a starfighter, d12 is a supercarrier.
Then you pick Design Edge, which is basically a “race” for a starship. I am not sure why it has that name, I would call it Starship Class, myself. A Design Edge gives a basic modification, such as a Warship giving a bonus to Quality but a reduction in Pace (Pace is derived from FTL). It also gives Payloads and Hard Points based on the Displacement rating. A warship has more hard points than payloads, a cargo vessel has only payloads. The payloads are used for equaipment and cargo space while hard points are used for weapons. Ships can have hindrances and edges. Many of the edges also have a cost in payloads or hard points.
Starship combat has maneuvers such as Slingshot which lets you use a nearby planet or asteroid to fling your vessel by at a quicker rate and Align for Impact that gets you an AP bonus for versus damage for a collision. Gunner maneuvers include Improved Firing Solution and Defensive Firing.
The ship can have an AI. This can be a Wild Card in itself. I would have it be a NPC or a PC’s side kick, If it is a primary PC, I would have it have some sort of edge to have an android body (where as the Android is the actual PC) or have an a side kick for the ship, either an engineer that really loves the AI or something, maybe just some other character for the player to use when off the ship. It can get really boring when you are stuck in port while the party goes on without you.
What about a character that wants to have a personal starfighter that is stationed on the ship that the party flies around? I could see a character using the Ace edge for this. That in itself is not a problem, but how does one determine Acquisition points? Do you split it between your personal vessel and the carrier? Going with the Fast, Furious, Fun, I would just make an edge called “Personal Vessel” that allows a character to use his or her own points for both a personal vessel as well as to the main vessel. A character could in that way add double if that character has no desire to have a personal vessel, such as the character that remained on the carrier would do while the rest of the party suited up and took off into their own starfighters.
The books could also do with some examples. Several example ships would be really nice. Those could be used as pre-made ships and also showcase the results of the design system. There could also be a few examples of crews and their vessels.
An excel spreadsheet to track the starship would be great. Knowing me, I will make a goof usrr friendly one easily enough. A Hero Lab user source file would also be great. If not already made, I guess that I will do it as well because I want it as it is. I would post both to my website for sharing
It is good that it is still a Beta at this point and perhaps some of my musings and comments could help to make the final product better overall.