Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Review: Olympian Breed a Savage Setting



Olympian Breed
Starter Game Reference
by Palewolf Publishing

Price: FREE
Pages: 8

Uses/Requires:
1. Savage Worlds Deluxe Edition
2. Savage Worlds Super powers Companion
3. Savage Worlds Fantasy Compaion

Why Ancient Greece?: The kick butt ancients have been creeping back into our movie consciousness for a while. Good move on the part of Palewolf to recognize this. Zack Snyder's 300, lead by Gerald Butler's King Leonidas in 2007 was brutally amazing. The kid's movie Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief and Clash of the Titan's remake in 2010 as well as the recent epic Immortals have all been great visual treats for the rpg minded. Then, this weekend, Time Bandits was on and Sean Connery's King Agamemnon got dinged and battered by the hokiest Minotaur seen on screen...ever (but you gotta love Terry Gilliam). So, last week when Pinnacle featured Olympian Breed by their latest licensee: Palewolf Publishing, I was interested. It might be fun to stir up the old Greek ancients genre.

Palewolf Publishing's Pitch: SAVE THE WORLD. IT'S YOUR BIRTHRIGHT.  Olympian Breed adventures take place in the age of heroes before Homer’s Iliad and the Odyssey. You are transported to a fantastic era when demigods roamed the world slaying horrifying titans and fulfilling ominous prophecies. Within these tales, you explore all the classic themes that are so prevalent in Greek mythology such as heroism, faith, love, tragedy, generosity, and sacrifice. This is an age of myth, before the beginning of recorded Greek history, where great heroes clashed against the darkest of terrors. Throughout the game, the players fight to overcome their own human trappings and prove to be more than just mere mortals. They also discover that their divine parents are far more human than they were lead to believe.

In this game, you play one of these great demigod heroes, born half human and half god. Do you know the truth about your blood? Was it your mother or father that imparted their divine heritage to you? Is your divine parent aware of you or are you just one of their many abandoned progeny? Maybe the gods do know about you and perhaps, worse yet, they “have a plan for you”. Will your demigod seek immortality through brave deeds or through guile? Will you choose to embrace your destiny or let the gods push you to your fate? And when your time is done, will you have left your mark on the world and risen above your mortal station? Will your name be remembered and as everlasting as the Olympians themselves?

What I liked:
The idea of 8 pages as an intro was enticing. You get a nice cover, an excellent map, a brief outline of the OB world and heroes, a new edge (Blessing of the Gods) and hindrance (Destiny), a page of equipment, a set of 11 questions to drive your character background and a 2 page Character Sheet.

Apart from the 8 pages, I also discovered that this is the culmination of a husband and wife's dream.  Their web site is up, they have a bare bones intro and a 1st adventure in the Drive Thru RPG store. Congrats!


Some Essentials Were Missing:
With the mental visuals of King Leonidas, Theseus, and even (Sam Worthington's) Perseus whirling in my head, I was looking for something to actually get me started. I didn't see enough to get that start without a lot of work on my part. I would expect something that gives you Act Zero: Archelaos first battle. Something that demonstrates a fully developed first character that has navigated using the SWD, SWFC, and SWSC in the unique way that Palewolf has discovered in their creation of this setting. Also, some example of how OB's game play would proceed, pre-generated characters & foes, and a simple but fun first adventure. My assumption is you need the Olympian Breed Act One: A Gathering of Heroes to actually do anything. It appears to be 6 pages and while $2.99 isn't much to quibble about, it doesn't seem that 6 pages would give me much for my money given what's missing from the freebie. I really appreciate keeping things brief but a good example of brief but complete would be Apathy Game's: Temporal Probability Agency. They have a free first adventure download that extensively covers the basics.

Last Words:
I encourage Palewolf to keep living the dream and continue to embrace the concise approach for "time crunched gamers" that we here at the Troll need.  Learn from others who have gone before and provide more of what will get people jumping into a Savaged Ancient Greece. I'm surprised that the Pinnacle staff didn't reccommend pre-gens, NPCs, and a simple adventure. My guess is all these things are coming and I look forward to them.