2017 has been an... interesting year for a lot of folks, but it has been a big year for Happy Monster Press - this is our founding year, and the run up to our January 2018 Kickstarter. On the gaming front, this year saw me running ETU and Savage Rifts, improving my Roll20 GM skills, and starting the alpha testing of the superhero setting I'll be building out next year. As has become a tradition, I ran Savage Worlds at Arisia 2017, including both the perennial favorite Space 1889 and a session of Children of the Apocalypse. Both were full tables (I cap the table at 8 players) with onlookers as well, so I'm hopeful for similar turnout for Arisia this year. Thus far, I seem to be the only Savage GM at Arisia, so I'm mostly competing with D&D and Pathfinder, with the odd Call of Cthulhu game here and there.
What about 2018? Well, we'll be kicking off the new year with the Kickstarter for Children of the Apocalypse, in hopes of getting funding for some really great art for the setting book. Once that's settled, I'll be moving on to the next setting, which I'm really excited to start running. This one will have a lot more setting rules and will run superpowered heroes without the Superhero Companion, relying entirely on the core book and setting-specific rules to cover some powers that don't come naturally from core. I hope all of my readers have a great and Savage New Year, and that you all follow through with all your gaming resolutions.
After Wednesday's game, I think I've come around to the conclusion that the base No Power Points rule, with a couple of tweaks, will work for my supers setting. Part of the challenge was making sure the players knew all of their options, such as concentrating on a power for a round to reduce the penalty. What I will be doing, though, is offering some edges that reduce the penalty further, basically a "power mastery" edge that gives a bonus to using a specific power - which, of course, offsets any power point cost penalties.
The second round of playtesting the superhero setting with the core book rules and No Power Points is in, and the idea of rank-based bonuses still flopped badly. The "Flash" type speedster character completely and repeatedly failed to invoke the quickness power, which sort of defeats the purpose, and players opting to just shoot things were generally more effective than those trying to use their abilities.
For the next pass, I'm going to try cutting the power point penalties in half. That would make quickness still a -2, but better than the current -3 (-4 for power points, +1 for rank bonus). I'm also considering an edge or a setting rule that says you get a bonus on abilities applied only to yourself, so quickness would be easier to cast if you're only affecting yourself. We'll see how that goes.
OK, Santa - I've been hoping for some of my favorite properties to be Savaged, and here's my wish list.
The Vorkosigan Saga: Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan saga is probably my all-time favorite book series; I've been reading it since my days of part-time high school work in the local bookstore. It's classic space opera, complete with politics, genetic engineering, espionage, mysteries, and adventure. A GURPS version of the universe exists, but I'd love to see a Savage Worlds version supporting players as bold mercenaries making their way through the galaxy.
Temeraire: Take the Napoleonic Wars, and add dragons. This is the basic recipe for Naomi Novik's Temeraire books, following the career of the eponymous dragon and his ex-Navy captain and best friend, Lawrence. The Napoleonic era is my favorite historical period, and Novik's series follows the dragons of Britain as they and their human crews fight to preserve their home against the threat of French invasion. A military-style Savage Worlds adaptation similar to 50 Fathoms or Weird Wars would fit perfectly, although I suspect everyone would want to play the dragon.
Dragaera: Steven Brust's fantasy novels about the human assassin Vlad Taltos living among the "elves" of Dragaera give you gritty urban settings, sorcery, witchcraft, crime syndicates, and meddling gods. It's a different fantasy setting than anything I've seen for Savage Worlds, and mixing some fantasy elements with the detective stories of Deadlands Noir would be a perfect fit.
Geekomancy: You'd have to go deep into superhero territory, but I'd love to see a campaign based on Michael Underwood's Geekomancy series. The premise is that certain people have the ability to do magic based on various cultural mechanisms; a Geekomancer can tap into collective fandom and create magical effects by, for example, destroying a Magic card or briefly empowering a toy lightsaber. Aside from Geekomancers, the world includes other magicians like Celebromancers and (the one I find most amusing) Bro-mancers. I have no idea how a designer could possibly make this setting work, but I'd love to see it.
One of the key questions when you set up a Kickstarter is your funding goal. Where do you set it so that you can accomplish what you need to accomplish and bring your product to market? How do you structure the reward levels so that they make sense?
I'm deeply indebted to Jamey Stegmaier's excellent Kickstarter blog for his advice on establishing reward levels and budgets. While his blog focuses on board games, which do have some different issues than a role playing game book, the principles remain the same.