Monday, April 9, 2012

Tommy's Take on Low Life

As mentioned yesterday, Low Life has a Kickstarter going on...and I've never reviewed the Savage Setting I figured I would rectify that now!

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: First off, I normally review the PDF of products. In this case, I don't own the PDF, just the original printing. This version used the earlier Savage Worlds rules and would require minor conversion to Explorer's/Deluxe. The current PDF was uploaded on April 29, 2011, so I ASSUME it's in line with the current rules, but I can't verify that. PDF price is $19.99, print version is $29.99. A true one-man show, the entire thing was done by Andy Hopp, and the pages are full of material (though there are a lot of illustrations as well).

In a nutshell, Earth (or Mutha Oith) has fallen apart, the humans (or Hoomanrace) is dead, and from there, we launch into epic sword and sworcery adventure. One huge adjustment, right off the bat, is that there are no humans (obviously). Races include Boduls (Beings Of Dubious Lineage - the most populous race), Cremefillians (sentient snack cakes), Croachs (cockroaches, that is), Horcs (aka Snotgoblins), Oofos (the descendants of alien visitors), Piles (of poop), Smelfs (big nosed elf/gnome things), Tizn'ts (who are just weird) and Werms (who are worms).

New skills are added for the new Arcane Backgrounds, and the book adds a ton of new Edges and Hindrances. Hindrances include Armless (like Werms), Inumerate (no concept of numbers) and One Eye. Edges include six new Arcane Backgrounds (Contaminator, Dementialist, Hocus Poker, Holy Roller, Smellcaster and Weirdo) and that's just the beginning. There's also Bouncy Behind (a rubber rump), Say, Aren't You That One Guy? (where you are mistaken for someone cool), Evil Twin (if you die, you get replaced with an identical version of you, with a goatee), Spit (which can get you The Drop on the next round), Boogie Knight (a Horc Knight), Stanimist (follower of the lord of evil), Fish Breath (allows you to breath water...but also makes your breath smell like fish), and truly Legendary Edges like Face Munchin' (allowing you to absorb the memories of the dead) and Gawdliness (in which your cult becomes a religion).

There are a number of major and minor religions, most of which are thinly veiled (some thinner than others) versions of real world religions.

New powers are provided, but more importantly a HUGE list of trappings for EVERY power, seperated by Arcane Background is provided. For instance, Contaminator Armor covers them in trash while Holy Rollers are covered in a glowing religious icon.

The Equipment Chapter's bright points are the vehicles (which include roller skates, as well as weird vehicles that defy description) and weapons (which include a customizable weapons chart so you can build your own and price it properly).

Places around the world include Glowhio (which is radioactive), Keister Island (home of The Keister of Gawd), That One Place With All The Sand and Torsovania. There are random encounter charts provided for each region as well.

The bestiary is huge, but crammed into a few pages, and includes such gems as Brocodiles (yes, part broccholi, part crocodile), Bad Asses (walking carriers of disease), Headstones (big, wandering statues found on Keister Island), Milfs (shape changing seductresses), Spirits of the Danged and The Thing That Might Not Be.

A big chunk of the book (from page 87 to page 134) covers Savage Tales, from Novice through Heroic, with suggested lead-ins, ranks and locations. The whole thing is a pretty epic quest, building up to the search for, and discover of, The Primordial Soup Kitchen. If you run the whole campaign, it should take your group all across Mutha Oith.

The book concludes with standard statblocks for each race, as well as important NPCs in the PPC, and section on just what the PCs can do with the Soup Kitchen if they find it.

WHAT WORKS: It is, by far, the most unique setting I have ever read...for better or for worse. A common complaint about the plot point campaigns is that they tend to wreck the setting...this one really doesn't. Atmosphere is jam packed into the book, with the extensive listings of trappings for the powers as well as one of the most eclectic sets of Edges and Hindrances I've ever seen.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: The setting DEFINITELY isn't going to be for everyone. Snot Goblin Pimps are a bit harder to get into, usually, than something more "basic".

CONCLUSION: Andy Hopp's artwork has a bizarre, yet charming feel to it. The book has a lot of things that you just can't re-skin from Savage Worlds, and does a nice job filling in the gaps.  It's definitely the book I would most like to use but am the least likely to ever be able to do so, because I cannot get anyone to take it seriously when I describe it. A shame, really, because I think a lot of fun could be had with it.