Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A Quick Look At Mercenary Breed 2.0 and Warren C Norwood's Double Spiral War

I promised a review of some of the new sci-fi stuff I've picked up for Savage Worlds a few days ago. Well, I got knocked low by a pretty hefty allergy attack, and I simply haven't had much time to write as I'd like. Instead of a full review, I'm going to give a quick and dirty synopsis of how useful I think each product is. Now, my standpoint of buying just about anything is "how much of this can/will I port to my homebrew settings?" With that in mind, here we go.

I picked up the Mercenary Breed 2 bundle that has the three core books in Mystical Throne's MB2 lineup: Mercenary's Handbook, Galaxy Guide, and the Xenopedia. I liked MB1 and this new edition expands everything. It's all set in the Argo Galaxy, but really MB2 is much more of a sci-fi sandbox that you can make your own rather than playing in someone else's imagination. Everything is expanded from races, to gear, to vehicles, to arcane backgrounds. There are lots of great bits in here that I plan on using in my own setting. The Galaxy Guide fleshes out the Argo Galaxy as a setting a bit more, but the real great meat of this book is in the random generators (using a standard deck of playing cards) to generate Corporations, Planets, and missions. The Xenopedia details 34 creatures and species to populate the galaxy with and there's a system for random creature creation as well. My only gripe with the entire series is that the intelligent species that should be pretty playable in the Xenopedia don't come with PC stats. Now, based on the mook stats and the descriptions, generating PC stats won't be difficult but it felt like a wasted opportunity. There's a lot of good hints and tips throughout all three book on how to use them in your own setting and even details out various sci-fi themes, a couple of which I hadn't thought much of before but I do now. The bottom line is go pick up the MB2 bundle from RPGNow, you won't be disappointed.

Warren C Norwood's Double Spiral War is based on the series of books that were released in the 80's. I remember reading them long ago, but I don't remember that much about them (something I'll have to rectify). It's put out by Battlefield Press. It is presented as a full setting set in the galaxy of the books (the Caveness Galaxy). There are fewer bits in this book to rob for your own settings compared to MB2, but there are 2 alien races and three humanity off-shoots. The gear is very much of what you would expect to see in 1980's sci-fi. There are some bits of equipment that I'll probably port over, but most of the weapons and such are outclassed by more contemporary sources. There are also examples of starships that will work with other settings. So is it worth a buy? If you are a fan of the books, absolutely. While it feels a little lighter than a full-blown campaign setting, you get everything you need to run a campaign in the Caveness Galaxy in a nice package. If you're looking at DSW for cool bits to rob for your own settings, I'd wait until you have a coupon or it goes on sale.


Brutorz Bill said...

Thanks for the info, how do the bookscompare with the sci fi companion?

Giles Kiser said...

I haven't done a much more than a quick eyeball compare between these books and the SFC, but it looks pretty close. MB2 was written with the SFC in mind. I would assume that DSW is the same way.

Aaron Huss said...

Thanks for your synopsis of Mercenary Breed; I'm glad you like it! The lack of PC stats from the Xenopedia is actually by design. One of the goals of that book was to provide a list of 100% original and unique adversaries (that can also be used as allies and contacts) with no species that appear in the Mercenary's Handbook. This way we were able to pack the Xenopedia with completely new species. However, we are looking into adding free downloads in the future that turn some of those xenos into playable PC races.

Thanks again!

Aaron T. Huss
Mystical Throne Entertainment

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