Thursday, April 22, 2010

Ragnarok Cometh: I'm Finally Taking the Plunge on Savage Worlds

After watching Kurt Wiegel's glowing review of The Day After Ragnarok, I've decided to pick up the setting along with the Savage Worlds Explorer's Edition. I've heard plenty of positive things about SW, but also enough from detractors I respect to give me pause. But what the hell. If I don't like the rules, I can still run "Ragnarok" with BRP (or--dare I say it--Labyrinth Lord/Mutant Future?).

Regardless, this campaign setting needs to be at least read, if not run. Because, seriously. As Kurt puts it, "If you enjoy gaming and have a pulse, you should check out this setting." After looking over the promotional blurb, I'm inclined to agree:

Submachine Guns and Sorcery!

Mighty-thewed barbarians and grim mercenaries roam the desolate plains of Ohio. Giant snakes, and those who worship them, prowl the ruins of St. Louis. Pirates battle the Japanese invaders in the South China Sea. Bold British agents, equipped with experimental bio-technology, thwart the insidious infiltration of Stalin's humanzees. Sky-raiders strike from hidden bases in the Sahara, deros skulk in South American caverns, and the Texas Rangers fight electrical death worms to save Los Alamos.

Kenneth Hite (Adventures into Darkness, Trail of Cthulhu) presents a world of savage swords and rocket men, of were-serpents and war-apes, from Australia's battered Empire to the proud city-state of Chicago.

The Day After Ragnarok includes:
  • Complete rules and guidelines for creating a hero suited for these dark times, including new Hindrances and Edges.
  • Dangerous ophi-tech devices built with knowledge torn from the Thing that nearly killed the world: fiber bombs, Marconi pistols, jet-packs, and more!
  • A grand tour through the post-apocalyptic world of 1948, from the drowned East Coast to the Soviet empire behind the Serpent Curtain -- including the Top Five Places to Be Attacked By Pirates, the Top Five Places to Find A Remote Castle Ruled By A Madman, and much more!
  • Stats for more than thirty foes to shoot, stab, or sneak past: Serpent cultists, Spetsnaz troopers, swamp devils, and ... snakes! Giant, 80-foot long snakes, that is!
  • Over 20 pages of pure adventure: Four campaign types, each with a sample campaign laid out in nine scenario seeds. A massive Adventure Generator, helping you build every tale from the Hook to the Henchmen to the Twist ending! Four worked examples, taking the Adventure Generator's raw numbers and running.
  • Plus old-school random encounters for the desolate wastelands of America -- will you face slave-raiding Klansmen, the terrifying fly-by-night, or a desperate band of escaped Wehrmacht P.O.W.s?

And across it all lies the trillion-ton corpse of the Midgard Serpent, killed by Truman's atomic fire but still poisoning the Earth with every night that passes. Welcome to the world at the end of the world.

This campaign touches on so many of interests (post-apocalyptic, Howardian pulp fantasy, WWII, mythology), I'm really trying not to jump out of my skin with excitement over this, folks. Of course, I probably would've picked it up, blurb/review or no, since it's by my favorite game designer, Ken Hite. The setting actually first appeared (if memory serves) as a campaign seed in the back of Hite's GURPS Weird War supplement, and it was intriguing then too.

I hope Savage Worlds pans out too. BRP remains my go-to generic system, but it does trend towards gritty-realistic. I'd love to have a cinematic counterpoint to trot out for those truly over-the-top campaigns. Plus I picked up the Mars and Thrilling Tales campaign books during the Gamers Helping Haiti charity drive, and I'd love to trot those out at some point too.

Pardon me, I have to go watch my mail box for the next few days...
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