When we founded Happy Monster Press, we wanted to bring a range of different settings to the Savage Worlds community. With Children of the Apocalypse, we provided a fantasy setting, and with Legion of Liberty, a historical superhero campaign. Relics and Rayguns is our foray into science fiction, with a strong leavening of pulp action and Indiana-Jones-style tomb raiding.
We just completed a playtest of Relics and Rayguns with the Salem Savages, our local group (although meeting virtually at the moment), over the course of the past six months. Much of it went well. We had some nice alien planets and space stations, none of the players chose to play a human, and the sci-fi technology mostly worked well. One exception was weapons balance; some weapons like the Founder welding torch were too powerful, and others, like the eponymous raygun, were underpowered, so some tweaking is needed there.
When it came to the Indiana Jones part, however, we didn’t succeed at the level we wanted. The players did run through some exciting and deeply weird ancient locations, but something was missing from the story of the overall campaign. In a word – Nazis. The PCs were running through the various locations, but they only rarely interacted with other sentient beings, and there was no sense of urgency in the adventure, no sense that sinister forces were trying to reach the same goal. Including this feature will require some serious retooling of the plot point campaign to include some colorful adversaries, including a Belloq-like rival prospector or two.
We also wanted to include some extrapolation of current trends in the setting by putting social media at the core of the game. The idea was that the heroes, prospecting for alien artifacts, are also live-streaming their efforts for a galaxy of eager fans. Fandoms are a part of character creation, and at least as important as biological species, and I used a reputation economy model with followers as currency. The reputation economy was just too clunky, and instead, we’re thinking of adopting the Logistics Point system used in Titan Effect and Sprawlrunners. The fandom is now the sponsor for the ship and crew, and the Logistics Points represent the budget for each player to kit out for exploration.
All of this is requiring some rework to get Relics and Rayguns where we want it as a final product. Our plan, therefore, is to rework the campaign and run it again, this time with the Foundry Gang, hopefully once they finish up the current Legion of Liberty Campaign. The good news for all of you is that this playtest will be podcast as well, so you’ll all get a preview of the game. If all goes well with the playtesting, we’re planning to Kickstart the setting book to give us the funding for great custom art like Jacoby Barnes, the Boston Lobster Man. So stay tuned, Relics and Rayguns fans – you’ll be seeing some great content coming out later this year.