Sunday, June 24, 2018

Tommy's Take on A Hero Will Rise: Epic Fantasy

Need something to break your players out of their comfort zone?

Got something right here.

DISCLAIMER STUFF: The link to this product is an affiliate link. Spending money through that link may lead to a portion paid to me in store credit. I did not receive compensation for this review, and I did not receive a comp copy of this product. I bought it myself.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW: It requires the Savage Worlds rulebook to use (though you could fudge the table results if you're comfortable with your system in question). The PDF is $6.95 for 24 pages of random tables. Not much art, all pretty much random tables to roll on.

BUT WHAT IS IT?: It's...a book of random tables. Part of Evil Beagle Games' Savagely Useful line, it is the first in a series of lifepath generators for your Savage Worlds characters, specifically geared at Epic Fantasy (it specifically namechecks Shaintar, which was written by the author, Hellfrost, Accursed, Thunderscape and Beasts & Barbarians). It also implements some of the rules changes from Flash Gordon that are assumed to become part of Savage Worlds core (a key new Hindrance, as well as some skill changes).

This system does not replace the standard character generation, but supplements it. You have four sections that that you can either pick from, or use dice or cards (as appropriate) to randomly determine.

The first section is "Where You Began", which starts with the region you came from. This is generalized geography, like City, Desert, Forest/Jungle or Mountains.  Once you determine that, you roll a 20 sided die on the sub table to generate a Background and Benefit. Growing up in a City, you may be Street Savvy, which gives you a free d6 in Streetwise. You may be a Plains Strider, beginning with +2 Pace and a Running die that's one die type higher. You may have Cloak of the Underbrush, getting +2 on Stealth Checks when in a forested or jungle space, plus giving a +1 to everyone within Smarts range of you.

You move on to Family & Foundations. This is the same as the last section in that you roll on a group table and then a subtable. Maybe your family were Aristocrats, or maybe they were Beggars. Maybe they were Merchants, maybe they were Scholars. Maybe growing up with Artisans, you have a Nose for Business and get a free die in Persuasion and +1 Charisma. Maybe your Criminal family taught you to be an Escape Artist, giving you a free die in Athletics and Stealth, as well as +2 Pace and a bumped up Running die. Does that sound like a lot? You also have to take either an Enemies or Wanted Hindrance...a life of crime isn't easy. Maybe your family of Servants granted you Friends in High Places, netting you a free Connections Edge.

From there you move to Trade & Training. What did you learn to DO? Were you a Hunter? A Performer? A Student? A Rogue? Maybe your life as a Farmer taught you to be a Shepherd, and now you have a free die in both Notice and Tracking. Maybe you were a Soldier on the Line, getting a die in Fighting and +1 Toughness. Maybe your Merchant training taught you to be an Accountant, giving you a +2 on all rolls managing money and double starting funds.

Once all that's in place, a card draw chart is provided to determine your Minor (but not Major) Hindrances. Maybe you made "One little mistake..." and are now Wanted. Maybe you made A Promise and now you have a Bow. Did you get Scarred? Maybe you're now Ugly. Don't lose your glasses if you have Bad Eyes. The book specifically excludes Major Hindrances, as the author considers those to be too big to leave to chance.

There's even guidance for modifying the tables to suit your needs.

Once that's done, you follow standard Savage Worlds character generation as normal.

IS IT WORTH IT?: I actually used these tables for the PCs in my recent Savage Pendragon campaign, and it worked to great effect, and has already pushed one of my players into one of his more memorable characters already. You have to decide if you have any use for a bunch of random tables. I love them, and I love lifepaths, so I was eager to try this out. Hopefully the rest of the genres will be along sooner than later.