[Fantasy Companion] Review + Random thoughts + Patches

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Lord Lance
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[Fantasy Companion] Review + Random thoughts + Patches

#1 Postby Lord Lance » Fri Aug 14, 2009 6:59 am

I shrinked my thoughts in a sort of mini-review. As you know, I don't write fluent English, so I'll try to be concise with that:

Fantasy Companion
Style: 3/5 OOOXX
Substance: 3/5 OOOXX
Price: PDF - about 15$, so quite cheap

Races
GOOD: Finally we have playable non-human races back. They are ready to use.
BAD: The non-human races was already present in the free Wizard&Warrior PDF, just a couple of new ones (cat-men and lizard-men like).
GOOD: Very nice “table” to fast build a new Race.

Edges
GOOD: Useful “Familiar” professional edge, quite nice Knight, Assassin and Artifact Hunter.
BAD: Just a couple more professional edges, already present in the free W&W PDF.
BAD: A nice list of Racial edges, all of them already present in the free W&W PDF.
BAD: No more edges. No new combat edges, no new social or weird edge, no legendary edges.

Gear
GOOD: Nice list of “mundane” items, good table to calculate the mileage of your party's land travel.
BAD: Very, very few new weapons (with no new mechanics): bastard sword/axe, light & heavy flail (of course similar to the standard one in the SWEX rules), and a dwarven axe-chain (a double weapon).
BAD: No new “special” weapon, like whips, nets, double bladed weapons etc. No rules for new material (no flint, cold iron, or other “fantasy” metals like mithril).
GOOD: Nice new armor “types”, the reinforced ones. Nice mini option to have spiked armors.
BAD: Just a new bow (really similar to older).
GOOD: Two nice crossbows.

Siege Warfare
GOOD: Very interesting, cover siege engines machines, characters and monsters in sieges, fortifications, some new action mecanics (roll for combat actions, clandestine actions, instigation actions).
... Maybe too much details and descriptions in this Chapter? I wonder how useful can be for the "standard" Fantasy campaigns. I saw very few detailed army vs army or army vs city battles in all my RpG Master and player life...

Deities
SO AND SO: Not so developed chapter. Some nice advice to manage the Sins for the clerics (AB: Miracles), but very few example divinity.

Arcane Backgrounds
GOOD: Simple and nice AB Alchemy. Two additional slightly variations of the classic AB Magic.
SO AND SO: No slow ritual mechanics / really long effects magics.

Trappings
GOOD: finally some nice and concrete advices to manage trappings, and alter powers. However the Master has to work on it, using the examples as starting points: i understand it's quite impossible to give a canon system, so here you can't find something so “mathematical” like +1d6 damage is worth ½ range, that is worth 2 PPs, that are worth 3 “effect rounds” or something like that.

Grimoire
GOOD: 25 nice new powers. They seems quite balanced. In the book you'll find all the old powers too, reprinted (page consuming, however...)

Treasure
SO AND SO: Lot of tables and items, but they need more consistency, 'cause sometime the rolls required, and the % involved, are really weird, or have no sense at all. Finally, lot of the material here seems copy/pasted from the old toolkit, 'cause in the tables / unic items you find no traces of the few new weapons inserted in the Companion, or links to new powers inserted. Searchin' between the items you can find objects that have a detailed Power mechanic, but you can't find those powers in the Grimoire (so they removed some power, but left inside some magic item...)

Bestiary
GOOD: about 50 pages of ready to use, classic creatures and enemy standard characters like town guards, dwarves, elves, assassins. If I can find a “shadow” in the bestiary, a number of creatures are quite plain, without special equip o cool abilities. Finally, there are few “variant editions” of the same creature (example: just a dragon, without younger / ancient version), but I can understand the book could easily double the number of total pages, inserting too much stuff.


- O - O - O - O - O - O - O - O - O - O -

From here, my "old" comments in a rush:

Please, don't think I want to be rude, they are just a collection of comments / personal point of views / asking for clarifications: take this as a vent.
Why? Because I'm not so happy. I hope you can use all those words constructively, maybe to correct / upgrade / improve this product.
Note that I will not write long praises about the nicely done, good parts of the book. Of course, I need to eviscerate the "bad" part.


Caravan Travel: typically pay adventurers up to $5 a day. ( men, they risk the life and can't buy a good meal with that payment ^___^ )

Edges:

Almost no new hindrances / combat edges / professional edges (apart those reprinted from the free W&W)!!! I can't believe it! If you want to make my somehow happy, please insert some new material!

There is a lot more fantasy stuff out there, for example the combat edges that the community created / adapted, and all that cool material that the great Sean Patrick Fannon gave freely to the world taking them from his Shaitar books. come on! No new official/canon edges to use bigger weapons with little strenght, or to attack and run away without get the free attack back, to make some fancy / dirty attack... No shield techniques, no bodyguard/maiden protection, no charge attack, no reducing Pace attacks, no sword&cape entangling style, no edges with option to taking advantage from a 2handed weapon, or to capitalise the vantages of a weapon with reach... No multi-knife throwing, no quick crossbow reloading... No elven Wilderness Pace (something like no traces, no burden, no difficult terrain), no dwarven Runic Power, no weird edges like Mystic Eyes, to permit a human to have a hint that another person is not an human, but is really a Demon, or a Fairy, or a Weresomething... Men, you miss even the "Fanatic" edge to sacrifice the extras using them as human shields for the Villains, that come out in almost every topic of the forum!

No new Legendary edge? No Archmages, no Greater Knights, no Combat Mages, no Saint Paladins, no Greater Soakings, or Greater Evasion? There are A LOT of stuff, even in the Savagepedia or in the nice Edge/Hindrance Compendium topic; you could ask the permission to use it (and of course I think all the community of Savage Worlds in the forum would be excited and willing to give it), then spend just a few hours to balance a little, or think if some of those edges could be a gamebreaker, then rebuld it and the job is done! And do not say: but you can search in the forum... I want them in my official Companion!


Weapons & Armors:

I'm quite disapponted. In short, this is a Fantasy Companion, and I get 1 bastard sword (the axe is identical). "Standard" Flail is not a new weapon. it was in the normal SW:EX rules, with the same stats. Light and great flail (simply "scaled down and up" versions of the original flail).
Just 1 new weird double-chained weapon, reinforced and spiked mechanics for armors (PS: spiked is not in the table, you need to find 'them in the text), a uninspired Elven bow (more range...) and 2 new (nice) crossbows.
Disapponted. Where are cool new weapons, with (finally) official/canon rules for whips, nets, hand claws, big 2handed double bladed weapons, super high AP stilettos, and so on? Weapons and Armors, together with Talents (ehm, Edges!) are one of the strongholds of all Fantasy games!

Bastard Sword and Orcish Combat Axe: maybe mediocre weapons. Ok, they are slightly lighter and cheaper then their 2handed versions. If you use them 2handed, they are quite comparable to their standard 2handed version (while the 2handed Axe has AP1 too!): a +1 is roughly balanced with a step up on the die. When you use them 1handed, you have in your hand a very bad weapon, heavy, and with that -1 to the Parry that "ruins" even a 2nd parry weapon or shield in the other hand. 2 lighter weapons in the 2 hands is almost always a better choice. Also, without giving us 2 identical weapons, I suggest you to change a little bit the Axe (maybe raising the cost of the Orcish Combat Axe to 420$ and retain the AP1?)

Nice new mechanic for the new armors. Using the same "system", here for you my new Super-Heavy-Assault-Reinforced-Plate-Armor: Dragonslayers full armor, Armor +4(+3), Weight 60, Cost 1100, Covers torso, arms, legs, Damage bypassed as for other Reinforced armors (I dunno if i can write here the new "mechanic")

Siege Rules: nice. I dunno if could be useful in my actual games, however is always nice to have a good "engine" to manage those different battles.


Arcana:

ARCANA, Gods Templates... Ok, they are examples, but this Companion should give me ready to use material, so why just 8 "example" gods? Where are Craft, moon, Fortune, Death... Men, you could have taken this ones http://www.peginc.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=18474 as starting point, adding the powers, more descriptions...

No methods to have rituals and high duration spells (except the classic "plot driven"). So, no way to have the Village Sage blessing the party before they go in the forest to hunt the Demon. Mmm... maybe we could use AB Alchemy, with a trapping "ritual"...

Nice idea the old powers re-proposed with the new ones, to have a "single list" to browse... But you should put a "NEW" symbol after the title of the new powers, so any player can easily read and notice the new ones! something like:

Analize Foe *
bla bla bla bla

Armor
bla bla bla bla

Banish *
bla bla bla bla

and so on.

Drain Power Points - I would insert a note about AB Alchemy too.

Legerdemain ... ^O^ What a word! how can you pronuce this?
EDIT: I wanna thanks you all! I learned another word ;P (and found that it's derived from french, as I suspected).

Pummel: it's a near clone of Havoc. You could simply put it as a modifier of the standard medium template. Bad spell here... (I was hoping for a multi-hit melee attack, like a 0 range 3-bolt melee attack, or like the Pummel ability in N.E.)


Treasures:

Table 2A and other (see even the Table 5 at page 79): 2d20, 3d20 ... what kind of chances you want to obtain?? Those dice rolls are quite ridicolous. What a bad tables... You could use a d100 dice and build a more balanced table (imho, as ever). Please, think for a while to a warhammer user! Lol, he has almost no chances to find a magic one... Or the fabulous super rare Armor potion!!! :D 1 chance on 8000 to find one!!! I don't have a calc near here, but the really nasty and mortal Puppet should have something like a 1000 chances on 8000 to be found! Men, you created those tables and rolls whitout thinking for a second to the people that have to use them...
And please, don't tell me I can choose without the roll: then you shouldn't put those silly rolls.This companion should be a really usable companion for my Fantasy game...

Side note about treasures: little disappointment, I see you didn't insert any new spell / weapon / armor in the table ("old" version tables??)

Men, I think you did a little mess with the "Artificer" thing (yeah, I read this one already, searching for info about "Artificer": http://www.peginc.com/forum/viewtopic.p ... cer#248496 ), and of course the phrase at pag 64 "You could even allow alchemists to use Artificer bonuses for short duration potions." has little sense (or, as sometime I have to admit, I can't fully understand some english phrase).

Pag. 61 Adventurer's Torch: sometime the torchs have diameter LBT (= 6"), see Light power too, sometime 8" (see the torch in the gear section). I think we need little more consistency.

Pag. 63 - 68 - 72 - 74 - 75 -78 ... Bell of turning, Crystal Ball, grave dust, peacemaker's gloves, roving rat, sentry orb, Viper Tooth Gloves, Ring of Time Control, Wand of Earthquakes, Petrification, Tongue Tied ... Another BIG disappointment. All these seem effects of Powers, left out the book (you can find costs, duration, mantainances...)
The real question is: why you removed all those powers?
I'm paying to get more and more pre-made powers to enhance my game, I would like to had more choices... now I have no time for an analitic review of the new powers, but I think you left out the book a lot of interesting powers mechanics (and I hope you are not planning some "Spellbook Companion"). Where are Earthquakes, Viper blows, Time control, Peacemaker, Sense of the Beasts, Petrification (names just invented) etc.?

PS: again, we have just 1 power with "Heavy Weapon", and is the old one "Burst"... Ok, the HW modifier is not so useful in Fantasy Campaign, but it should be nice to have some variant (or modifier) for the Bolt, or the new Jet, or maybe a really powerful Area Effect... You inserted the siege fortifications, we need some power to destroy'em (and for killing the Sea Serpent...)!

Finally, if you want to regain some pages, then you could use your own "hint" at page 82 (Ring or Miscellaneous?), creating just a couple of tables (and related descriptions9, with items like "X of Healing". Everyone of us is able to substitute the X with "Ring" "Scroll" "Wand" etc. Their mechanic is the same.


Bestiary:

The only new ability is Demon. Ok, but this ability refers to Cold Iron weapons, and you give absolutly no informations about this material (or other common Fantasy materials, as the cited "Flint" weapons of the cavemen, see below). Then, for the Demon, you kept the "old school" half damage thing, that I see you removed from almost the SW:EX material, and the weakness does "full damage" again, while the "new" weaknesses (even in N.E.) give now +4 damage, or +duble damage etc. I don't like that a lot, but if you say this is the SW:EX canon for the Demon ability, so I'll stick with that.

Side note about bestiary: little disappointment, I see you didn't insert any new spell/weapon/armor as ability/power of your creatures... For example, the Cyclopes could have Jet, or Grave guardians & Hags the Course.

Another things: base elementals (in the SW:EX book and here in the bestiary) have "Invulnerability", the border elementals have "Immunity". What should be good? I think the good one is "Invulnerability", so this could be an errata. Maybe re-reading thier mechanics to unify them.

Cave men: refers to flint weapons, but here we have no rules about flint. I know there was a few special materials in the toolkits. You could upgrade the (short) list of armors and weapons with some special material crafted weapons, to give players more weapon's special abilities to play with. Even the mummy Lord has Bronze armor, while, as just wrote previously, you need cold iron weapon to beat demons...
If you won't give pages and pages to build custom equipment, could be interesting to have some cool new wapon forged with unusual material.

Dissolver - Evenlope ability, a STR roll -6 to escape. Well, good luck! ;) Why not the classic STR vs STR (even with a bonus for the blob)?

- Dragon Tail Lash: The dragon can sweep all opponents in its rear facing in a 3” long by 6” wide area. - Drake Tail Lash: A drake can sweep all opponents in its rear facing in a 3” long by 6” wide rectangle. One of those probably is an "old" version.

Earth elemental: copy/pasted from SW:EX, with the errors too. His Toughness is 11 (4)

Fire Salamander: he has 2 big weapons, but no skills (read: no edges) to use them efficiently. Of course, it's not mandatory, just a note about it.

Hydra - sorry but "your" hydra version is not so "funny" to fight. Why I should aim to the heads, hoping to do a lot of damage (I need 2 wounds to remove one, and the heads have the same toughness of the body, and I think I have to aim for them, at -4+2), and there are good chances that that head will be substitute with 2 new heads! Even with "just" 4 heads, you need the equivalent of 8 wounds to kill it, and you need some extra work to cauterize the necks... It's obvious that it's most easier to fight the body and destroying the hydra after 4 wounds... Sorry but aim to heads of the Hydra in the "Beasts" bestiary is a more inspired work (even without the regeneration of that version). PS: Octopus has rules to severe the tentacles in the initial description. I would put them in a following ability. notice that here, you simply need to match the Toughness of the creature, to severe one.

Methusaleh trees - it has Guts! LOL! Eh eh eh!

Mummy Lord / Wight - as the Matusa tree, they are fearless and Gutsy!

Guardian Naga • Constrict: ... The round it entangles and each round thereafter it causes Str+d8 damage. The prey may attempt to escape by getting a raise on an opposed Strength roll. Are you sure you wanna all this kind of grapple abilities? All different each other? Every beast has his rules. Someone use standard grapple, some other needs a plain STR (with penalties) roll for the victim to free, some other again different rules... Almost all negate the standard rule that allows the character to use his Agility to free himself. Are all those different cases really intended?

Ogre - the right Toughness is 12 (1)

Orcs - with short swords? Ok, it's your choice, but it's not so fantasy ;) Come on,at least a medium one, or an axe! The chieftain orc has more honor, with his battle axe! Good.

Scorpion man - I imagine this one as the final enemy in the "Mummy II - The Scorpion King" movie, so I'll modify this one with a Size +1 or +2 (almost like a centaur). My p.o.v. of course.

Town/City Watch - please, put the AP value of the croosbows near the gear)


- o - o - o -

Finally I want to remember that in the Companion there is some good material, especially for people like me that don't possess every toolkit, but I really think that you can now polish it a while, to obtain a really shining product.

Wow, this post take away 2 days of my life... I should ask some payment for this work! :mrgreen:
Last edited by Lord Lance on Sun Oct 31, 2010 11:03 am, edited 15 times in total.

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#2 Postby 77IM » Fri Aug 14, 2009 1:32 pm

Legerdemain:
1st Syllable: Like the English word "ledge," rhymes with "edge." The stress is on this syllable.
2nd Syllable: "er," like the ending of English words "butter," "runner," "haberdasher," etc.
3rd Syllable: "də" or "duh" or "deh;" it is really just a "D" sound that is too quick to have a proper vowel.
4th Syllable: Just like the English word "main."
LEDGE-er-duh-main.

At least, that is how I have always said it.

-- 77IM

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#3 Postby Kristian Serrano » Fri Aug 14, 2009 3:11 pm

http://www.answers.com/legerdemain

Click the little speaker icon on that page.

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#4 Postby Clint » Fri Aug 14, 2009 3:36 pm

Well, Lord Lance, thanks for your opinions. It appears in some cases you had a very different expectation of what the Fantasy Companion was intended to be and provide. In others, you make good points.

However, if I might request, would it be possible to cull any of the actual questions on how the rules work out from within the larger post? It's a bit hard to find them all in there.
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#5 Postby Lord Lance » Fri Aug 14, 2009 6:56 pm

Now I split the post, creating a "[Fantasy Companion] Some question" topic.
Of course, when you have time to spare, I love to have your nice detailed answer / your point of view, about my post.
Eventually I will be very happy to freely / loosely collaborate (if needed / requested) to make the Fantasy Companion a better product.
Last edited by Lord Lance on Mon Aug 17, 2009 8:28 am, edited 3 times in total.

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#6 Postby Lord Lance » Fri Aug 14, 2009 7:25 pm

EDIT: Here I post all my "p.o.v" about layout problems / images, so the first post contains just the Errata & my General Thoughts.

Pag 4 Not so cool W&W reused image

Assassin, Master Assassin, Centipede, : Poison doesn't have the canon
(-2) near the ability

Bad, too simple "Time new roman like", Page Numbers font (and too dark
the stone background...)

Not too much proofreading/consistency, maybe copy/past from different
sources: a simple esample: in Edge's requirements, sometime you
indicate "TRAIT d8", other times "TRAIT d8+".
Another example: Sometime you write "Burrow (10”): bla bla" sometime "Burrow: Pace 4."

Pag 21: Ehi, is this Leonida with angel wings??? SPAAARRRRTTAAAAAA!!!

Pag 45, not so cool picture... personal taste, as ever.

Goblin, last skills row is wrongly bolded.

Griffin - Swoop: nasty ability, like a super-wild-attack ;) as other beasts possess. However, there is a wrong "space" between "action" and the following dot. Griffins "... this action . Its Parry ..."

Mermaid - Every ... he gets a Spirit roll at –2 (plus the Fatigue penalty) - well, wounds and fatigue penalties are applied in every trait roll, so that phrase between brackets is useless (or stunning, 'cause someone could think the wounds penalties doesn't apply).

Pag 104: there are not blood flea in this bestiary ;)

Not visually powerful or frightening dyno picture at pag 152

The other pictures by Stern was quite nice, however.

PS: Sorry for the "bad" carriage return in my last posts... I was taking my notes on the dumb "windows notepad", and it inserted all that CRs... So it takes a whole life to hunt for them and remove (without removing the good CRs too...)
EDIT: I fixed the main post with a couple of clever search/substitute in OpenOffice...
Last edited by Lord Lance on Mon Aug 24, 2009 6:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: [Fantasy Companion] My Point of View about it

#7 Postby Magnus » Sat Aug 15, 2009 4:29 am

:eek:
Woah... That was some post... I don't agree with all of it, but this one has annoyed me as well since the Toolkit:
Lord Lance wrote:(snip)
Treasures:

Table 2A and other (see even the Table 5 at page 79): 2d20, 3d20 ... what kind of chances you want to obtain?? Those dice rolls are quite ridicolous. What a bad tables... You could use a d100 dice and build a more balanced table (imho, as ever). Please, think for a while to a warhammer user! Lol, he has almost no chances to find a magic one... Or the fabulous super rare Armor potion!!! :D 1 chance on 8000 to find one!!! I don't have a calc near here, but the really nasty and mortal Puppet should have something like a 2000 chances on 8000 to be found! Men, you created those tables and rolls whitout thinking for a second to the people that have to use them...
And please, don't tell me I can choose without the roll: then you shouldn't put those silly rolls.This companion should be a really usable companion for my Fantasy game...
(snip)

True and true.

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#8 Postby Lord Lance » Sat Aug 15, 2009 5:34 pm

x Magnus. The big point is: if you don't like something, if you have the kind and nice feedback of the writers/producers, if you have "experience and savvyness", then YOU HAVE TO communicate your point of view, your hints, your mood (expecially in a product that you brought and that you wanna use for a while - and a RpG book is that kind of product).

This is vital, 'cause this type of feedback can be really useful to the authors for a realistic evaluation of their work, and mainly for create a better product next time.
If 10 people spent some of their time, complaining about those baaad tables, maybe now we could have a FC:EX with nice tables...

Of course, I spent a good amount of time to give my detailed p.o.v., especiallly because I learned (thanks to this wonderful forum / community) the attention the Pinnacle crew deserve for his customers.

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#9 Postby Lord Lance » Sun Aug 16, 2009 5:51 am

x Clint: Sorry, but I realized just now that I really miss a thing that I know existing in other SW prducts, but that the Fantasy Companion is missing... A nice ready to play Trap Table. We have no traps at all. Even traps are a standard in (almost) every adventurous Fantasy...

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#10 Postby tylermo » Tue Aug 18, 2009 6:25 pm

Lord Lance, that's a very detailed observation that I plan to look over thoroughly. I've got the book, but haven't had a chance to read it since GenCon. Keep the Savage flame burning in Italy!

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#11 Postby joshuaslater » Wed Aug 19, 2009 2:33 pm

Lance, I appreciate all of your thoughts on this, but if I wanted all of the things you want, I'd play Pathfinder, or some version of Hasbro's D&D.

The Fantasy Companion is straight up FFF. There's exactly enough to create all the things you want. Don't like the Hydra, change it. Don't like the gods, make up your own or use a setting book. This companion provides balanced, playtested material perfect for our group.

I'm not upset the Shaintar material was left out. We've got that book too.

Ultimately, it's your game in your hands, and the hands of your group. I don't want my crew's game to be exactly like everyone else's. We've got all kinds of stuff cooking, and the Companion has just given us the ingredients.

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#12 Postby Lord Lance » Thu Aug 20, 2009 6:40 am

joshuaslater wrote:Lance, I appreciate all of your thoughts on this, but if I wanted all of the things you want, I'd play Pathfinder, or some version of Hasbro's D&D.

Of course I don't need ALL that fine detail... But I surely was expecting something more.
joshuaslater wrote:The Fantasy Companion is straight up FFF. There's exactly enough to create all the things you want.

Well, maybe this is the point. FC should be a "ready to play" Fantasy addition to the standard rules. That was the initial assumption (reading the authors posts). I don't want a generic tookit: there are older SW fantasy tookits, that give a Master a lot of options, and the Master has to "build" his style. THIS FC should be different, with just 1 "choice", 1 way for everything (so 1 familiar type, 1 knight type, 1 alchemy style)... But I think we have not enough "1"s.
joshuaslater wrote:Don't like the Hydra, change it. Don't like the gods, make up your own or use a setting book. This companion provides balanced, playtested material perfect for our group.

Obvious, I don't like the Hydra, maybe you don't like the Dragon... That was just a note about a creature, not a "full attack" on the bestiary. Indeed, The bestiary is good, (while there are so few example deities, however). About the "playtested material", I have some dubt here. I see some things "copy/pasted" from the old books, a some nonsense tables, and I'm not so sure this part of work (review / playtesting) was done with enought attention.
joshuaslater wrote:I'm not upset the Shaintar material was left out. We've got that book too.

YOU have that book. I was hoping to not be "forced" to buy it, 'cause I was hoping to get more juicy stuff in this FC. Sadly, I think I'll get even Shaintar, 'cause I saw good things inside.
Of course, I know that Shaintar is not directly related with Wiggy & Clint work. My phrases about the Shaintar edges etc. were an example for what they could have inserted into the Fantasy companion, as I see it.

You have the Shaintar book, so you can answer this one: what did you find in the Fantasy Companion, that you missed in Shaitar??
I had few time to read Shaintar (I stealed for a while from a friend), but I think the only 2 things you miss could be the "Race generator", and the "Siege" part. On the other side, Shaintar has a lot of weapons, armors, combat edges, professional edges, it has a bestiary, and playable races (of course, not generic, but related to his setting - however almost a classical fantasy), two dozens of new powers, and magic item creation edges (while missing a long list of magic objects, of course I think you can let the players create their stuff, but I didn't read in depth that part).

So, returning the first part of your post, that I quoted before: don't you think that Shaintar could be a nicer "Fantasy Companion"? your pointing me to buying some D&Dish stuff is not a good way to discover shadows & lights of the FC.


x Clint: If you think this is not a good place to debate about these topics, move / cut the topic in another place.

PS: my 1st post was a mess. I organized it a bit in a sort of "short review", leaving the big part of the text for the courageous that want to lose a part of their life reading my thoughts...
Last edited by Lord Lance on Thu Mar 03, 2011 8:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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#13 Postby shadd4d » Thu Aug 20, 2009 7:10 am

1) There were some powers which needed to be in the fantasy companion which were missing. Bless/curse, succor and disguise are examples of that.

2) The Fantasy Companion lets you set a tone for your fantasy campaign; one thing that I dislike in Shaintar is the forced shoehorning of the PCs into 1) being heroes, 2) having less tragic flaws or past sins to overcome, 3) having to be a part of a defined force rather than the traditional mercenary band. The Fantasy Companion lets you range from Warhammer/Hellfrost dark to Shaintar/Forgotten Realms high fantasy.

3) The Fantasy Companion deals with sieges, something not really dealt with in Shaintar. It adds a new level to the mass battle rules or also allows you to start looking at upgrades to your ancestral manse or other strongholds. So I'll agree with you on this one.

4) Shaintar is a developed setting, the fantasy companion is...a cardboard setting which the GM will still have to develop. Shaintar's edges and everything belong to its setting; while they do have the high fantasy feel, I'm not sure if they'd playtest well to be translated over the spectrum of the fantasy genre.

5) The Fantasy Companion does give you rules for trappings. At a mininum, it gives you ideas for how to mechanically change powers from the generic blast into rage of the inferno. That is pretty useful and something missing in Shaintar.

I'm not knocking Shaintar, but I (personally) feel that the Fantasy Companion adds to the game, especially if you are cribbing bits and pieces from other works, like Shaintar, for your own personal fantasy game. It's a supplemental toolkit if that's how you see Shaintar.

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#14 Postby joshuaslater » Thu Aug 20, 2009 8:46 am

Done and done. Exactly my thinking on this. I talked via phone with my friend and GM last night. He routinely tweaks things with our group like his combat schools and magic schools, and shares them on these forums.

When discussing some of the criticism levelled at the Fantasy Companion, we both agreed that we only wanted the basics. I don't want a large, hardback D&D book; I want my own fantasy, not someone else's. The Race Creation is well laid out, and I can create characters and NPCs as balanced or unbalanced as I want. The ability to tailor the magic is in there. The charts are a fun throwback to the golden age of roleplaying in the eighties.

I think that people are so accustomed to being spoon fed their fantasy that they forget to use their own imagination. The whole reason we play Savage Worlds system for our fantasy roleplaying is that we have the control we want: it's back in the hands of the GM and the players.

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#15 Postby 77IM » Thu Aug 20, 2009 11:16 am

I love the Fantasy Companion but it is not perfect. I think Lord Lance has already summed up the biggest of my criticisms, though:
  • The new powers are not referenced elsewhere in the book, particularly the magic item lists and the deity power lists. It seems like maybe the grimoire was written independently of those other sections?
  • Random tables where you roll 3d20 have a decidedly non-uniform distribution but that isn't really taken into account in the arrangement of the items (such as the Magic Scrolls table).
  • Too few deities; they should have gone to at least 12. I feel like they could have condensed these write-ups as well. Maybe eliminate the power list or shorten it (a small list of "forbidden powers" or "required powers" rather than a big list of "allowed powers").
  • I would have liked a few more exotic weapons as well.
  • Traps! Just a couple of pages of examples of how to do the mechanics for things like pit traps, dart-launchers, swinging blades, etc. would have been helpful for a GM new to Savage Worlds.
Other quibbles I have:
  • I wish the Weapon and Armor charts in the Gear table included all the weapons and armor from the main book! If they could reprint the text of all the powers, they could have found a way to expand that Gear table. This way I could look at just one table when purchasing gear.
  • I love the Siege rules but they take up too much space. I don't care about the history of the balista. "Balista: A giant catapult." Done.
  • For some reason I do NOT like the races at all. The W&W races (elf, dwarf, etc.) are somehow too simple, and they don't all look balanced according to the race-creation rules. The two new races (cat-man and lizard-man) are too complicated, and have massive Charisma penalties. (Charisma penalties make sense, but Charisma is a traditional dump-stat for min-maxers and I don't want to see an escalation in which there are really combat-awesome races that just have to sit out during all the social-interaction scenes.) And I'm not really sold on the idea of Racial Edges -- it seems like an unnecessary restriction on an otherwise fine Edge, and splitting the race's powers into two parts (the racial traits and the Edge list) seems inconvenient to me.
  • I would have split Adept into two Edges (one for martial arts, one for combat casting). It's more flexible that way. I also think Troubador would work better as its own AB.
  • Speaking of which, I think an "AB creation system" similar to the Race creation system would be awesome and very appropriate for something like the Fantasy Companion (a lot of fantasy settings include weird variant magical traditions, like runic magic, elementalism, etc.). A lengthy discussion, like what's in the Toolkit, is overkill, but way of mixing and matching the current AB traits (# of power points, # of starting powers, arcane skill, restrictions, drawbacks, etc.) would be really helpful.
  • I would like to see some magic-item creation rules. Even a toolkit-style sidebar of "here are some ways you could do it" would be sufficient.
  • The new powers in the Grimoire are great but there are still a few powers "missing" which I feel are crucial. The main ones are illusion, telepathy, scrying, and resistance (like the Arcane Resistance Edge, but it resists only a specific trapping, like Fire Resistance). I think maybe Illusion and Psychic could have also made really good Trappings. When I create "test characters" I often find myself wanting one or more of these powers -- most everything else can now be done using the powers in the Grimoire.

I am very, very, VERY glad that the companion did NOT include a slew of new Edges. Especially combat Edges -- the game already has enough and there are very few new ones needed for the genre. I like Edges that are closely tied to character concepts so the new Professional Edges seemed like the right idea to me.

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#16 Postby joshuaslater » Thu Aug 20, 2009 12:05 pm

Sounds like every quibble you have is managable. It's just like a music book with chords and scales. What you do with them on your proverbial guitar is what makes your campaign or world unique.

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#17 Postby joshuaslater » Thu Aug 20, 2009 12:14 pm

To answer the question I saw, Shaintar is a setting book, not a companion. If you were expecting a fully developed world, then Shaintar may be for you, as it's high fantasy.

I like the FC because you can use it for creating your own Shaintar if you like, or play a down and dirty low fantasy game akin to the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying Game.

My personal campaign will have a chance to run when the GM chair switches at some point.

I'm going to run a game Savaging the Chronopia setting for roleplay. I've got enough material in the Explorer's Edition and Fantasy Companion to do that. I don't need more deities. There's a whole pantheon for D&D. My game won't have any, as they've abandoned the world.

We love Savage Worlds because any of the "I would have" statements about the book are easily done in game. Just the basics are provided.

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#18 Postby 77IM » Thu Aug 20, 2009 12:18 pm

Yeah, that's why they're quibbles. Overall, I love the FC and so it makes these "imperfections" stand out a little bit more for me, even if they are easy to houserule.

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#19 Postby joshuaslater » Thu Aug 20, 2009 12:39 pm

I'm wondering what "exotic weapons" could have been added? Personally, I find them stupid.

It's enough for me to suspend my disbelief in a fantasy setting with Elves, Dwarves, Orcs and Goblins.

I still want the fantasy to be along the lines of Howard's Conan, or an approximation of our own world, with some magic of course.

Things like the Orcish double axe and all those silly chain weapons from D&D are too cartoony for me, and have no real world equivalent. Anyone stupid enough to swing a weapon with a full axehead on both ends is likely to cut off their own leg or genitals. Chain weapons never appeared in any form like the ones in D&D games, as they would be quite useless.

If you have to have them in your game, there's nothing stopping you from creating them, but I'm glad they didn't foist them on me in the Companion.

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#20 Postby 77IM » Thu Aug 20, 2009 1:02 pm

A lot of fantasy players come from a D&D background they might want to convert their favorite character, who used a double-sword and spiked chain and a battle boomerang. The nice thing about weapons is that they take up very little space. It's easier to say "Double-scimitars don't exist in the setting" than to figure out stats for a double weapon if there aren't already some good examples. It's about providing new game mechanics to extrapolate from. I am NOT a fan of bloating the weapon/spell/Edge/item lists for the sake of bloat, so I probably would have included only a few more exotic weapons than what is already there. Probably whip, double-sword, spiked chain, and club (I am still baffled at why club is not in SWEX). Maybe a claw and a shield-spike.

Same with Traps. I've been playing RPGs long enough to know all the classic traps, but I don't know how they should work, mechanically, in Savage Worlds. Should you get an automatic Notice check to spot a pit trap? If not, do you get an Agility check to hop off of it in time? What about darts shot from a statue's eyes -- do you get an Agility check to dodge them, or does the statue make a Shooting roll, or both, or what? None of these are super hard questions but some basic examples would have been good, and probably would have seen more game use than the siege rules (although I do like the siege rules too).

A great example of where this was done right is the deities: I love that the gods & goddesses don't have names. So you can either use their mechanics and create your own setting flavor (the deity's name, background, etc.), or just reference them as examples of appropriate duties and sins. Everybody wins, and it is packed into 4 pages (not an entire giant "Deities and Demigods" book).

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