Monday, April 30, 2012

Review - Deadlands Reloaded: The Flood

Deadlands Reloaded - The Flood
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment Group
Author: Shane Lacy Hensley, Matt Cutter
Price: $19.99 on DriveThruRPG

The Savage Troll continues its trek through Deadlands and I must admit, it's a scary journey. Those of you who read the reviews of the Player's Guide and Marshal's Handbook will be glad to know this review will ere on the side of brevity. While I believe in exhaustive reviews of rule books, adventures - such as this one - need to remain far more secretive. We don't want to give away any surprises to your posse.

Deadlands is easily the largest property in the Pinnacle Entertainment Group's product line. The 15+ year old setting has seen four RPG systems with a mountain of supplements including rule books, adventures, trail guides, and plot point campaigns. The Flood is a plot point campaign centering around the starved region of the West coast.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Review - Deadlands Reloaded Marshal’s Handbook Explorer's Edition

Deadlands Reloaded Marshal’s Handbook Explorer's Edition
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment Group
Author: Shane Lacy Hensley
Price: $19.99

The only thing to fear is fear itself, unless you’re a character in Deadlands. In that case it isn’t Fear but the thing generating it you have to worry about.

In Deadlands, Fear feeds evil in a very real way. It generates energy to feed the Reckoners. The Manitous bring that energy to the Reckoners who use it to spawn even greater terrors.The Manitou’s job is to Terrorform the Earth for their masters.  It’s a vicious cycle that ends when Earth has turned into a mirror image of the Reckoner's home, called The Deadlands so the they may walk the Earth and feast on humanity's fear first hand.

It’s the job of the heroes - called a posse - to fight the plots, persons, and panics that infest the Weird West. Sadly, humanity generates a great deal of fear on its own. The two American nations may have a truce but their spies and provocateurs cause all sorts of mayhem, especially in the disputed territories of Kansas, Colorado, and what’s left of Oklahoma.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Review - Deadlands Player's Guide

Product: Deadlands Player's Guide - Explorer Edition
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment Group
Authors: Shane Lacy Hensley, B.D. Flory, and Matt Cutter
Price: $14.99

Pinnacle Entertainment Group launched another in the line of their flagship setting, Deadlands. This release contains all the information you need to generate a character, from concept to creation.

Deadlands is a genre mashup of the Wild West, Horror, and Steampunk settings called the Weird West. It features card shark spell casters, mad scientist inventing infernal devices, quick draw gun men, fire and brimstone preachers that can call down actual fire and brimstone, and native American shamans on first name basis with their nature spirits. Oh, and lots of Kung-fu action as well.

The eight-time, award-winning setting began as it's own rule set back in 1996. It's been ported to d20 and GURPs, and finally settled into the Savage Worlds system with Deadlands:Reloaded. The most recent rule books, Player's Guide and Marshal's Handbook, come in the oh-so-convenient explorer's edition format.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Tabletop's First Episode: Smallworld - 5 Reasons Why I liked it.

by Derek B, the Savage Duck.

Tabletop's Episode #1 is out. Wil Wheaton's new show on Geek and Sundry's new YouTube Channel launched it's first show. It's the one I was  looking forward to most as it's the the one that's focused on actual games played at the table-top. The featured game for their 1st episode was Smallworld by Days of Wonder.  I must admit that I've seen that game at my FLGSs and always wondered what it was all about. Now I know. It looks like a fun.

Host: Wil Wheaton.      
Tabletop Episodes will be found here.
Game: Smallworld - by Days of Wonder

The other players were:
  • Sean Plott - PC Gamer of the year: 2010, Creator of Day[9] Daily ( ) site - a daily show about how to rule StarCraft. 
  • Grant Imahara - host on Mythbusters. If that's not enough, he worked for ILM on many of my fav movies. Yes, one of those is Galaxy Quest and my wife loves it and insists we watch it at least once a year.
  • Jenna Busch - Geek blogger on HuffPost, Host Moviefone Minute
5 Reasons Why I liked it:
  • It's a show about GAMES! Finally! I've seen many good game review shows on YouTube and some AP YouTube vids but this was different. 
  • One observation that surprised me the most: Wheaton is a lot more like my longtime gaming buds than I would have imagined.  He's not just a geek, he really is a gamer.  I've seen him on several writers and geek panels which lead me to buy one of his books, I get his G+ feed, and yet I still doubted his gaming chops. No longer. I identified with Wheaton's hosting challenge to bring in both gamers and non-gamers and helping them play effectively without taking over their participation. Gold star for a job well done.
  • The game rules and hint graphic overlays were very useful.
  • It WASN'T a 2 hour slog thru indecision, noobs mistakes, or long rules rants by rules lawyers. The pacing was effective. 30 mins worked for this particular game.
  • The participants were genuine and not scripted. Sean Plott was really feeling the pain and ultimate joy.   The confusion of playing something for the first time was offset by a little helping advise from the host.
I could have gone on but I really enjoyed it!  I want to see a Savage Worlds One Sheet played out. Maybe a one hour special at the holidays.

Keep it Savage and let us know what you thought.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Professional Art for Your Savage Worlds Character - Three Artists I Met at Wondercon 2012

by Derek B., The Savage Duck

A Little Background - 

or Why I love going to Comic Conventions

I've always been a very visual, creative type.  In my gaming group, I was the one spending hours creating terrain, buildings, and paining figures. It had to look realistic.  Growing up in Texas and being an hour away from Dallas meant that conventions were within easy driving distance. It was there in Dallas, during the early 1980s, that I encountered the artists behind my favorite Sci-Fi and Fantasy worlds. Ralph McQuarrie creating the first images of Star Wars, the Brothers Hildebrandt and their wonderful visions of Middle Earth, Chris Foss and his remarkable spaceships, H.R. Giger's nightmares, and just as importantly, a diverse group of awesome comic book artists, like John Byrne and Jack Kirby and, slightly later, new-comer Frank Miller.

Confession: My parents were both fine artists who were lovingly dedicated to keeping me out of the artist's lot in life. I was drawn to technology but always had an eye for art. I decided RPGs were a cool way to be creative as a hobby. 

A Fun Discovery

I discovered that most artists at the conventions are very approachable and some will create works of art for you at very reasonable prices. These experiences became some of my favorite moments at Comic-Con, Wonder-con, and a slew of other Cons starting way back at Bulldog Production's DallasCon / Dallas Fantasy Faire 1982. Here's a link to a sketch by John Byrne from that Con.