Saturday, February 28, 2009
PDF and Layout
First of all, at over 280 pages, the PDF has a lot of work put into it with borders on every page and style of art. The art ranges from comical, like Archie Comics, to heroic, like superhero comics of today and yesterday. Many of the pictures were inspirational for the setting contained in the book. The layout was standard game design with the first half of the PDF comprising player information for the setting, then character creation and setting specific rules. The last half was the Gamemaster’s Section with more rules, detail on setting and NPC statistics.
That being said, the PDF had so much going on in layout, it lagged badly on both the computers I tried it on. I found myself using the “Print Friendly” version more often than not because it would load pages faster. Both PDFs had problems loading pages with charts on them however. I also did not like that the PDF had no index. The Table of Contents did a fair job of making up for the lack. I especially liked having each power with page number being noted in the table. With most of the game rules in the Savage Worlds Explorers Edition, finding what powers do will be the number one reason to open the PDF at the game table.
System and Setting
Now on to the real reason you are reading this review, information on the system and setting. I will go through the book section by section (mostly).
After a forward by one of the creators, the PDF discusses the basics of Neos (DoL’s term for characters with powers). Sections on Neo origins, Neos in the media and Neos and laws are some of the parts of this section. I found the information extensive and really gave a player an idea of what they are getting into with the Dawn of Legends setting. I particularly liked the part about laws and Neos, useful for the game’s setting and templates for homebrew settings.
The PDF then goes into an extensive character generation aid titled “Creating the Backstory”. It starts with 20 questions and then goes into a way to randomly generate answers to those questions with the aid of a deck of cards instead of dice. The creators state Dawn of Legends is about the person and not the powers. The questions and generator really pushes this idea forward. Using them in total or taking character inspiration from them, the player should really know how his character thinks. And it was fun to see what was created by going totally random.
Next is the statistics creation of the character. This section refers a lot to the Savage Worlds Explorers Edition as many of the creation rules can be found there. There are many new Edges and Hindrances for a hero setting; my favorite one was Battle Cape. The game also introduces new Benny rules, a Wealth Rating and die system used to acquire items in game and a Popularity system. I really like the Popularity system as what people think about their heroes is, well, popular in comics (example Watchmen) and is rarely mentioned in hero games I have run except as one or two merits. The system also gives bonuses or penalties based off of the rating.
The game offers creation of Super Teams. Players gain points at creation and can use experience to buy advantages for their team like buildings, equipment and so much more. The Super Team creation is like another shared character being created by the players. A really fun mechanic that aids the comic feel.
The Power system is definitely influenced by Mutants and Masterminds (as Daring Entertainment has products in this line) and players of M & M will find familiar ground here. There is a system to link powers called Networking, and also to create gadgets and aliens. With the number of powers, edges and hindrances, extras and power boosters, the number of abilities one can create is staggering. There are even details for creating new powers. It seems Daring Entertainment has really put work into the system and still keeps to the Savage Worlds motto of Fast, Fun, and Furious. The powers system is more complicated than other SW’s rule systems for other settings, but looking over how they work together, the creators found great ways to meld them.
The only thing I did not like about the powers section was a lack of discussion on how to use power creation for different genres other than the one Dawn of Legends supports. There is also a lack of discussion of what power level starting characters should really be. I just don’t see many Novice heroes for Dawn of Legends.
As I had said, the last (more than) half of the book is Gamemaster material, mostly the Dawn of Legends setting. I must say this is a book in and of itself. Where other publishers make their first supplement a setting book, Daring Entertainment seems to add it to their core book. The section goes into much more depth on information seen in the player’s section. There is also information on other countries’ view of Neos, many setting NPCs and the setting city of Autumn Arbor. The level of detail on the setting is great. There are interesting setting takes on popular comic heroes like Fantastic Four and Superman among others. I must say I loved this section. The material is great for someone looking for the feel of Dawn of Legends to run the setting and also for inspiration on homebrew settings. This is also mostly a system generic area of the PDF as the stats for characters are at the end of the PDF. I like this placement as it makes it far easier to find NPC statistics in play.
For veterans of Savage Worlds, the setting does not come with a Plot-Point Campaign. It does however have an adventure generator. The generator is great for “one issue” adventures but can also give a GM a linked series of adventures with just a little work on their part.
At first glance, the PDF is both beautiful and aggravating, the art style really fits the feel but the PDF has trouble running it. The content however more than makes up for the PDFs deficiencies though. The Backstory generator, Popularity system and Super Team creation rules really aid the players and GM with getting into the Dawn of Legends feel and comic books in general. The options DoLs gives to creating powers lives up to fans of M & Ms and fans of the rare hero. The power system goes way beyond the creation of Superman and Batman and gives the player a good tool kit for creating any powered hero they can imagine. Plus with the way Savage Worlds works, you can easily use or not use any of these rules you want.
The setting material also shines with the great detail the creators put into it. Even without a Plot-Point Campaign, the setting has so many story hooks; thinking up heroic adventures has a lot of help.
Daring Entertainment has a great product in Dawn of Legends. They really seem to understand the hero genre and have put it into the product. I strongly recommend DoLs for fans of not only Savage Worlds but superhero games in general.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
This is from a post on the Pinnacle Forums...
Dawn of Legends is now live at RPGnow.com!
The 283 page, full-color PDF is chocked full of savage goodness.
Explore the world of Neo Earth beginning with the world famous City of Legends. Discover the new point-build, effects-based powers system allowing for heroes from street-vigilantes to galactic power-houses. Modify your powers with over 30 Power Enhancements, 30 Power Drawbacks, and 20 Power Boosters. Create your own powers with the same easy-to-use formula used by the actual designers. Dozens of new Edges and Hindrances. New uses for bennies, new comic book maneuvers, and new rules for Super-Teams and Popularity.
A completely open setting, tell the type of story you want to tell. Explore the world, be a hero! Dawn of Legends also has free online support! A first set of 16 new Adventure Cards and GM Screen Insert are available now; with several one-sheets and a Character Folio coming this weekend.
Then in March, look for: Power Play: a free plot-point campaign with plenty more to follow. NCB Files: a free web-enhancement containing a total of 12 new Champions and 18 new Rogues, fully illustrated in full-color! Beginning this summer, watch for the first Dawn of Legends sourcebook: Inside Solitaire!
This darkness could not last forever, the dawn is here . . . the Dawn of Legends!
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
1) Ex-Other 467856 Age 30 3 terms Cr 50,000
Blade Combat (Blade, Cutlass) - 1, Jack of All Trades - 1, Streetwise - 1 Gun
2) Ex-Army 31010399 Age 34 4 terms Cr 20,000
Vechicle (Winged Craft) - 1, Gambling - 1, Blade Combat (Cutlass) - 1 High Psg
3) Scout 679835 Age 22 1 term
Vac Suit - 1, Vechicle (Winged Craft) - 1
Sadly, number 3 died in service. It must be said that her contribution to the galaxy was great and noble. She will be missed. Don't forget her. She will live on in us.
Monday, February 23, 2009
Harsh Tales: Welcome to the Mean Streets
...is your first taste of the forbidden world of Hardboiled. Inside, you'll find dark secrets, hidden truths, double dealings?--and that's only the beginning. Featuring four full adventures, Harsh Tales provides a glimpse into the seedy world of supernatural film noir. But that ain't all. Between each adventure, you'll find a Dirty Secret- our One-sheet adventures for Hardboiled, plus a Harsh Tale generator in the back as well. These are some mean streets.
And this isn't even the mainbook, only a preview! Check it out at Daring Entertainment to the left!
Sunday, February 22, 2009
This Darkness cannot last forever. The dawn is coming . . . the Dawn of Legends!
Dawn of Legends is a new setting for the popular Savage Worlds license, bringing four-color super-heroic action to Pinnacle Entertainment's award winning role-playing game.
With a new, fully-customizable effects-based powers system designed to remain true to the fast, furious, fun of Savage Worlds, Dawn of Legends lets you don the cape and tights and battle crime wherever it is needed.
Inside the more than 256 pages are:
Over 40 new Edges, 20 new Hindrances, 6 Super-Team Edges, 5 Super-Team Hindrances.
More than 100 Powers, 30 Power Enhancements, 30 Power Drawbacks, 20 Power Boosters, and the complete rules for creating brand new powers using the exact formula used by the Designers.
Check it out at Daring Entertainment or Daring Visions to the left. The last cupcake tomorrow.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
The first one is...
An endless winter is coming...
500 years ago: From the frozen far north, beyond the civilized lands with their rolling hills and forests, arose a mighty army of frost giants, ice devils, Hellfrost dragons, and fearsome orcs, servants all of the ice god Thrym. So began the terrible Blizzard War and the downfall of the mighty empires of man
Today: The races of the southern lands may have won the war, but they suffer its legacy still. For five centuries the winters have grown steadily longer and colder. Huge swathes of the land of Rassilon are permanently covered in ice and snow, and even the temperate lands are not spared the misery of failed harvests, deadly winters, and the dreaded Hellfrost wind.
But winter is not the only danger. A mere 30 years ago, magic, once the civilized races’ most potent weapon, suddenly began to fail. The Siphoning, an effect of unknown origin, has made magic an unpredictable ally.
Welcome to the world of Rassilon. Welcome to the Hellfrost!
Interested? Learn more at Triple Ace Games. Link to the left.
Yeah, I shamelessly plugged someone.
Friday, February 20, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
After years and years of roleplaying combat however, I noticed something horrible. When fighting broke out in my stories, I was starting to think less about the scene and what was happening. The abstraction of combat started to get very dull for me. There is only so many times a character swings a sword or fires a gun before I start to think of them all as the same moment. It was no longer a tense situation for the characters or myself. Combat was a scene filler until I got back to the drama and not drama itself. I think my combats reflected this also. I saw myself saying dreaded phrases like, "ok, you hit, roll your damage" without considering what was happening in the story.
At some point I started running Deadlands: Reloaded, a game by Pinnacle Entertainment. The company produced paper miniatures for the game and I got the pdf.* I used them a little at the start of the campaign and more as the story progressed. I did not realize what was happening to me because of the miniatures however. My concept of the story and scene was getting a boost. This effect hit me at last game. The characters were fighting a large monster (Mojave Rattler for those in the know) and I could see what was happening through the little pieces of paper. At one point, the monster had two characters at the jaws of death (almost literally) and the characters fought for their lives with six-shooters and knives. Man was it cool. The interesting thing was that I could see it again. Looking at the minis (characters laying on top of the monster mini) I just kept thinking if this was in a movie it would look awesome. The minis kick started my brain into the scene and allowed it take the image to the next level. I could now see the character running for his life with the sweat on his face. His companion firing his rifle and the Huckster blasting the monster with magic became vivid in my mind. It was a great experience.
Using miniatures in a roleplaying game is not for everyone. It wasn't for me. I say try it however if you haven't. Paper minis are pretty cheap to try this out if you are short on cash. If you think your combats are becoming stale, I say try using minis and see if it doesn't kick start your imagination. And let me know what you think.
*I think it helps I didn't have to buy hundreds of dollars worth of plastic minis.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
But in the tradition of one of my favorite movies, High Fidelity, here comes the Top 5 list. I will try to make the list a regular feature. Maybe on Wednesday I will try and come out with a new one. So here goes...
TOP 5 GAMES TO RUN AFTER HITTING AN ANIMAL IN THE STREET.
5) Any Superhero Game (Mutants and Masterminds would be my pick): Just create a team of animal and plant inspired heroes. It works great for Aquaman with all the respect and power he gets. Someone must have hit a dolphin in their Pinto.
4) Werewolf: the Apocalypse: War of Rage baby! Make them all road kill and let Gaia sort them out.
3) Car Wars: WOOOOOO! Deer 5 points. Man 10! Kick me another brew dude! BUUURRRRRP!
2) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: You are an irradiated, pissed off chipmunk who's dad just got aced by a jerk off in a Pinto... and go.
1) Ironclaw: The world of vehicular animal slaughter sucks. Lets live in a more comforting world of foxes and bunnies stabbing each other for power and glory.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
This is where the narration takes a sad turn however. Now I have to go though my collect and decide what books stay and what books go. How do I choose? How would you choose? At first I decided if I was not planning on playing a game in the next year, the books had to go. With so many settings however, I just couldn't do it. Then I thought I will keep the best game for each genre (SciFi, Fantasy etc.). But who can pick? Can you honestly tell me the better game between Transhuman Space and AEON or Blood of Heroes and Mutants and Masterminds? You can? Pass me that cup filled with water from the fountain of knowledge.
You see, I have a healthy imagination for my age. Most gamers do I think. When I look at and read game books, I see the scenes, the adventures, they can create. For example, when I look at Legend of the Five Rings, the words fall from my mind and are replaced with impressions of trying to keep my Lion mantle in place as I and my honor guard race over a grassy hill to destroy the vile Crane beyond. Feeling the wind. Hearing the horses hooves. The texture of my gloved hand holding my father's weapon. What about Chill and the knowledge that just beyond the worn, stained apartment door in front of you are creatures man was not meant to know? To feel the glorious anger being released as my body cracks and elongates into that same creature in Werewolf: the Forsaken. How do you say goodbye to those feelings?
Well in the end I did say farewell to some. All in all I think I sold about 75 books. And to all those games I've loved before, thank you. Thank you for helping me feel larger than life and no smaller than my imagination could dream. I hope someone sees you on the store shelf and looks past the illusion. Sees your words for what they are, dreams of adventure. For me, I still have many favorites and worlds to explore.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Now even though I have challenged myself, I do not expect this blog to be the creme on top of Rooty-Tooty Fresh and Fruity pancakes. I may go a week with only typing "I like cake and dice." I do not know. I will try however to post topics that are interesting to me. If they are interesting to me, they may be interesting to other gamers. That reminds me. I will try to stay the course of this blog being game related. That is why I started it and that is where I want it to stay. Gaming is my number one hobby and this is my best outlet to express it outside of actually playing. So with that said, I will see you tomorrow!