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Savage Worlds Horror Companion
by Keith (. T. A. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/14/2013 14:08:49

Review originally appeared at http://rptroll.blogspot.com/2011/1-

Pinnacle Entertainment Group released a new member of their Companion series for the Horror genre. This work joins the Super Powers and Fantasy Companions as supplements to the Savage Worlds rules set. Like the others in the series, the Horror Companion is in the smaller Explorer’s Edition format.

One important note: this rule book does not stand on its own. It is a supplement. You must have either the Savage Worlds Deluxe Edition or Savage Worlds Explorer’s Edition in order to fully utilize this product.

The Horror Companion contains generous amounts of artwork, reference tables, encounters, character additions, and equipment for all your Horror genre needs. It’s information-packed pages contain rules and setting advice to recreate Horror/Super Natural adventures in the Victorian worlds of Bram Stoker and Mary Shelly, the modern slap-stick humor of Ghostbusters, the serial action/horror adventures of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the star-spanning terror of H. P. Lovecraft's creations, or the futuristic nightmare creatures of the Alien franchise all packed in 144 pages.

Character Creation

In the Savage Worlds tradition of Fast, Furious, and Fun; the Horror Companion jumps right into character creation. Savage Worlds is one of the best game systems for replicating the theatrical adventure one finds in movies and novels. To that end, the work includes a number of customized Edges and Hindrances to allow for characters pulled straight from the movie house.

The new Edges and Hindrances for your players and NPCs include:

Bullet Magnet
Combat Shock
Doubting Thomas
Master Necromancer
Talisman Craftsman
Monster Hunter
Sound Mind
Tower of Will
One of the Chosen
If your campaign is a little more powerful, you can also have non-human characters and NPCs. Be warned, they will be distinctly more power than the humans. If you plan on running a mixed character group, you might want to consider starting humans as Seasoned while starting other races out at the Novice rank.

Character Races

Dhampyr - half vampire
Patchwork Man - like the Frankenstein Monster
Phantom - ethereal
Zombie - has a thing for fresh meat.
The Tools of the Trade

The Horror Companion equipment section was truly a joy to read. I was pleased to see Ghostbuster-style equipment present. Other equipment mimicked that found in movies series like Blade or Underworld. Below is a partial list of equipment found in this section.

Atomic Ghost Hunting Pack
Ultraviolet Grenade
Garlic Bullets
Silver Nitrate Bullets
Ultraviolet Bullets
Ghost Trap

Fear and Loathing in Gaming - Setting Rules

The Setting section adds horror tinted ideas to create custom styles of play. Your game setting might have a horrible price for magic, people splatter when killed, heightened magical effects based on the calendar day, or the fact that immoral behavior is a serial killer magnet.

For the Lovecraft fans, the Horror Companion includes a Sanity attribute which measures the character’s Spiritual toughness. It starts at half the character’s Spirit+2. Carnage, super natural terror, and forbidden knowledge lower Sanity while triumphing over evil, rest and relaxation, and psychotherapy heal it.

If a character’s Sanity drops too low, they are odd in some way and pick up a negative to their Charisma. If it drops to zero, they get the joy of rolling on the Psychosis Table. Luckily, the rules allow for Sanity healing, so your characters might be brought back from the brink.

Other setting rules include
Forbidden Lore - containing information “Man Was Not Meant to Know”
Rituals and the Price of Failure - magic in horror settings isn’t often as easy or available as fantasy settings. The Ritual rules contain some variations to simulate this in game terms. Rituals that fail carry special consequences. Depending on the setting, Villians may use Sacrifices to power their evil Rituals and spells.
Signs & Portents - Horror often includes foreshadowing from a fortune teller or dreams. The Horror Companion includes a Portents Table to help the GM determine the value of the visions or advice. Unlucky characters receiving a fortune of Doom may have their Bennies removed for the rest of the game.
Wards & Binds - an important aspect of Horror is the ability to ward against evil or bind an unstoppable being, so the Horror Companion has rules governing these aspects including how such a creature breaks free.


Much like the equipment section, the Horror Companion contains new powers to simulate popular Horror fiction. In addition, powers derived from Dark sources may drain sanity if the caster rolls a critical failure. Even if your character does not have an Arcane Background, they may still be able to cast spells via Rituals (see setting rules, above).

Some of the new powers include:
Banish Entity
Bind Entity
Consecrate Ground
Corpse Senses
Drain Years
Enhance Undead
Grave Shroud
Grave Speak
Spirit Shield
Strength of the Dead
Summon Demon
Summon Spirit
Suppress Lycanthropy
The Horror Companion also contains a list of Arcane Items for inclusion in your game. Some of these items are cursed, others are ancient and unique, while still others can be made with the proper ingredients. The items include:
Bandages of Anubis
Frankenstein’s Laboratory
Hockey Mask of Terror
Sacrificial Knife
Voodoo Dolls


What’s a Horror adventure without terrifying creatures to fight, overcome, or evade? The Horror Companion doesn’t disappoint with a list of mundane and super natural beings for encounters. They aren’t all monsters. Some are people like Vampire Slayers or Occultic Investigators that might help your characters when things go bump in the night.
Dark Man
Collector Demon
Evil Clown
Haunted Car
Haunted Portrait
Mad Scientist
Serial Killers
Stuffed Animal Fiend
Chinese Hopping Vampire
The last section on Game Mastering guides the GM through a setting creation by describing the various genres of Horror. Before starting, the GM needs to decide the Horror style to use including: Action, Greater Evil, and Dark.

Action settings involve lots of combat where the characters wade through monsters, kicking super natural butt and taking names. The heroes are more akin to fantasy settings than helpless teenagers running way from a serial killer. Fear rules are rarely used in this style of play.
Greater Evil settings feature super natural creatures as far above us as we are above ants. The human race is an insignificant speck in the universe and all their technology is useless against being of cosmic power. Heroes are normal men and women who are drawn into the dark to keep mankind safe from the greater cosmic horror. Fear and Sanity rules dominate this style of play with the characters struggling to stay sane.
Dark settings are somewhere between Action and Greater Evil settings. In this case, there may be monsters that are easily killed but others, like vampires, are difficult and take planning. Fear rules are used often but the Sanity rules are de-emphasised. Things are scary but not mind bending.

After the GM picks the style, they must decide on an era of play. Will the campaign be in a Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Modern, or Historical era.

Fantasy is a well worn path with which most gamers are familiar. It’s also likely the hardest to separate from a classic fantasy campaign. The Ravenloft modules can be easily transformed into Savage Worlds using a combination of the Fantasy and Horror Companions.
Sci-Fi campaigns are another setting players should be familiar with. Aliens or Warhammer 40K would both do well Savaged using these rules. Likewise I could see moving the Horror Companion rules into the existing Savage Worlds Necropolis setting.
Modern is another era setting that would be easy to implement. Thanks to the Internet, maps and locals are easily found and used for game purposes.
History era settings are probably the hardest to create. The GM will need to spend a good bit of time on research to get the story-telling touches down to make the players feel like they’re in the time period. That said, the Victorian time period has many game supplements available including Space 1889, Rippers, and Deadlands. Other historical settings include Weird War II, Pirates of the Spanish Main, and Solomon Kane.


I enjoyed reading this supplement cover to cover. It’s packed with ideas, statistics, and other content to help GMs and Players create a fun (or scary) Horror campaign. While the content isn’t as extensive as other Savage Worlds horror supplements like Realms of Cthulhu or Rippers, it contains more than enough to get you started on a lenghthy campaign.

As a side note, the fact that the Creature list includes Pazuzu and Dark Man entries made me wonder if Wiggy’s been in my computer since those are the creatures I used the Thomas Gunn Detective Stories of The New Moon Murders and Prescription for Revenge.

On the up side, the Horror Companion gave me lots of idea’s for my third novel. After all, isn’t the reason we game to tell good stories and have fun? That’s what the Savage Worlds Companion series is all about.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Worlds Horror Companion
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Deadlands Reloaded: The Flood
by Keith (. T. A. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/14/2013 13:58:34

This review originally appeared at http://rptroll.blogspot.com/2012/04/revi-

The Savage Troll continues its trek through Deadlands and I must admit, it's a scary journey. Those of you who read the reviews of the Player's Guide and Marshal's Handbook will be glad to know this review will ere on the side of brevity. While I believe in exhaustive reviews of rule books, adventures - such as this one - need to remain far more secretive. We don't want to give away any surprises to your posse.

Deadlands is easily the largest property in the Pinnacle Entertainment Group's product line. The 15+ year old setting has seen four RPG systems with a mountain of supplements including rule books, adventures, trail guides, and plot point campaigns. The Flood is a plot point campaign centering around the starved region of the West coast.

The campaign takes place in the 1880s and so would mesh well with other Victorian campaigns such as Rippers, Space 1889: Red Sands, or even The Kerberos Club. You could easily rip information and characters from The Flood to populate any of those settings. In fact, were I to ever run a Deadlands campaign, I suspect Ghost Rock powered ships would lead to a Space 1889-like setting with the characters encountering horrors on other planets as well.

Events Leading to The Flood

During the Quake of ‘68, California fractured as large ribbons of land dropped over fifty feet allowing the Pacific Ocean to rush in. The remaining landscape became a series of large mesas surrounded by brown, briny water flowing through canyons. The Maze, as it is now called, became a popular destination for those looking to strike it rich by mining the fundaments exposed on the new cliff faces.

Ghost Rock, the miracle mineral, is abundant in the Maze and the people and powers that make up the world are mad to have it. Ghost rock burns five times hotter and 100 times longer than coal. It’s also used in the production of Ghost Steel, which is lighter, stronger, and has a higher melting point than regular steel. On top of that, chemists and pharmaceutical makers use Ghost Rock to create all manner of potions, elixirs, and formulas for just about anything.

As the Rail Barons direct their employees to drive spikes and lay rail in order to reach the gold mine that is Ghost Rock, their soldiers and thugs fight it out in the Great Rail Wars. Greed and a thirst for power drives the Barons onwards as rail companies form the North, South, Deseret, and Shan Fan all compete to see who will reach the port city of Lost Angels first. Each company is only a few miles away from the de facto capital of California and it won’t be long before one of the biggest battles in history decides who will control the supply of Ghost Rock to the USA and/or CSA.

This is the setting for The Flood and your posse falls (literally) smack dab in the middle of it.

A Big Setting

The Flood contains a full plot point campaign centered around the Great Rail Wars, the Servitor of Famine, the Chinese Triads, Santa Anna’s undead army, and an intrepid reporter who seeks the assistance of your posse. It would be bad enough if that’s all the characters had to deal with. On top of that they must ply the dangers of the Maze which includes the effects of Famine. Food becomes a major concern on top of dodging merciless pirates, nations on the verge of war, and boom towns full of prospectors and those that prey on them.

The book has several new Edges and Hindrances and a greatly expanded selection of martial arts extras. With the city of Shan Fan and the Chinese Warlords being a major component to this supplement, the characters can expect a lot of Kung Fu action. The mafia thugs aren't the only martial artists, however. The Shaolin are present as well and work as a force for good in the area. Their hidden training ground sends out adepts to help fight the servants of the Reckoners. Mad Scientist, or New Scientist as they like to be called, should avoid this temple. The monks don't take kindly to Ghost Rock-powered devices.

The book includes all manner of waterborne vehicles. To get anywhere in the Maze you’ll need them. It also contains a nice section on Chinese fighting weapons. One word of warning, though. Due to the difficulties of getting goods into and out of the Maze, almost everything is 3-6 times more expensive than usual.

The Numbers

1 New Martial Arts Hindrance
17 Celestial Kung Fu Moves
1 New Hindrance for the non-Kung Fu types
11 New Edges
8 Martial Arts Weapons
10 New Ships
2 New Infernal Devices
27 Strange Locals

8 Plot Points in the Campaign
34 Savage Tales
12 New Critters
4 New Famine’s Servants
27 Famous Folks

That adds up to a lot of content.

To Live and Die in Lost Angels

Much of the action occurs in and around the city of Lost Angels. The Right Rev. Grimme is the ruler of this area and demands all city residents attend his church. Even without his edict, they would likely attend anyway. He has the only food in the area that satisfies the otherwise insatiable hunger people feel in Famine’s domain.

The book goes into great detail about the city and its surroundings. The characters even witness the creation of a Dealands ( Fear Level 6 ) during the adventure. This event will erase any doubt about the need for heroes to literally save the world. And that’s just in plot point two.

Your posse should be mindful of the Lost Angels laws. Violators are often sent to prison and never heard from again.

Shan Fan City, Here We Come

Shan Fan is Lost Angels equal in size and power and The Flood devotes a large section of the book to the city and its surroundings. It also adds a lot of flavor. Shan Fan is like the worlds largest Chinatown and the authors do a good job explaining what that means.

Like Lost Angels, Shan Fan is a city full of powerful personalities. You and your posse get to know the leaders of the Chinese mafias often coming into conflict with them. If you think this is all Kung Fu action you’re wrong. Most are gunslingers abandoning the ways of their ancestors for the favored weapons of the West.

Horrific Adventure Awaits

This book is chock full content. One of the problems I had was absorbing it all. Some things are stated in the Strange Locals that hop around in time. In some cases they are dependant on the plot point campaign so if you get confused, skip to the adventure then come back and read about each area.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deadlands Reloaded: The Flood
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Deadlands Reloaded: The Last Sons
by Keith (. T. A. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/14/2013 13:55:54

This review originally appeared at http://rptroll.blogspot.com/2012/0-

Pinnacle continues their release of Deadlands’ plot point campaigns with Last Sons, adventures in War’s domain. The story picks up with The Flood left off taking your posse into the Disputed Territories of Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, and the Sioux Nation.

For those those of you not up to speed on the Deadlands setting, below is a little alternate history.

Come the Reckoning

Monsters once roamed and Magic was commonplace on the Earth until the North American Shamans sacrificed themselves to ensure humanity was safe from the evil spirits inhabiting the spirit realm they called the Hunting Grounds. The Old Ones, as the shamans were called, sealed the Hunting Grounds keeping the spirits, both good and bad, separated from the physical world. This left the Native Americans at a disadvantage when the technologically superior Europeans arrived to colonize the western hemisphere.

We all know the history. Some settlers preferred to take the land they wanted rather than look for another plot. The fact that land was inhabited by the natives was a problem solved with enough bullets and gunpowder. Several tribes were completely wiped out as the Europeans and their African slaves moved west.

One such tribe was the Susquehanna. A young, talented shaman named Raven saw his tribe wiped out by a band of white men. His hate for the white man never cooled. Raven found other natives and preached war and retribution against the white man and his evil ways. He drew others to his cause that lost their tribes to the white man’s expansion. They called themselves the Last Sons and moved Heaven and Earth (literally) in search of revenge.

The Last Sons passed into the Hunting Grounds and undid the Old Ones spiritual barrier. The spirits, both good and bad, were free to roam the Earth once more. The most powerful evil spirits, called the Reckoners, took on the form and function of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and sought to turn Earth into a mirror image of their home, the Deadlands.

To accomplish this task, the Reckoners spread fear across the world. The power from that emotion allows them to Terrorform sections of the physical realm into Deadlands. Once enough has been Terrorformed, they can walk the Earth and collect the fear personally.

On July 3rd, 1863 the Battle of Gettysburg was in full swing. The Last Sons emerged from the Hunting Grounds victorious and the spirits were released from their bonds. General Lee lost the battle, as he did in our history, except the dead rose from the battlefield covering his retreat. The Reckoners, especially War, knew a continued Civil War was in their best interests and so they kept either side from a decisive victory. In the world of Deadlands, USA and CSA exists with an uneasy ceasefire with large swaths of the Americas remaining as ‘Disupted Territories’. This is War’s Domain.

Return to the Old Ways

Once the spirits were released, the Native Americans had access to their nature spirits again. Shamanistic magic flowed granting the Indians powerful weapons to use against those who would take their land. They congregated in two areas.

The Sioux Nation formed to the North in the Dakotas after the Battle of Washington in 1872. Since the Union had other troubles, they decided to let the Sioux have their territory and entered into the Deadwood Creek Treaty. No one tribe or chief could unite all the Sioux so the Wicasa Yatapickas, or tribal council was formed. There are four Wicasas appointed by the tribes to speak for the Sioux Nation.

The Wicasas insisted their people keep to the old ways foregoing the white man’s technology. There are many who consider this insane and believe the Nation needs guns and other technology to survive in the white man’s world but they don’t say this loud or often unless they want to be expelled.

The Coyote Confederation formed in Oklahoma under the mysterious, hooded war chief known only as Coyote. The Confederation consists of multiple tribes and is generally on good terms with the CSA. The Old Ways aren’t as popular in the Confederation since some of the tribes still war upon one another.

The Disputed Territory

Kansas, Colorado, and the part of Oklahoma that’s not part of the Coyote Confederation make up the Disputed Territory. After the Civil War ended, both USA and CSA agreed to withdraw troops from those areas until the populace decided which country to join.

Bloody Kansas had an active guerrilla war even before the Civil War started with Confederate “Border Ruffians” from Missouri fought Unionist Jayhawkers for the hearts and minds of the Kansas settlers before the war to get the state to side with either the North or South. Far too often this battle turned into an actual shooting war between the two groups. That pattern continues during the Last Sons’ plot point campaign. Dodge City is the primary local in Bloody Kansas.

Colorado is a little different. They don’t really see the need to join either side and can take care of their own business, thank you. Both nations claim Colorado as their state but neither is in much of a position to do anything about. Things would be pretty calm if not for the Great Rail Wars.

Denver is the center point to many destinations and at least four separate rail lines are attempting to make their way out to the Ghost Rock mines in California. Colorado lies right in the path.

Another Big Piece to a Big Setting

Last Sons is another gargantuan volume in the Deadlands setting. Much like The Flood, it takes one of the Reckoner’s Domains and sets the characters against the plots and plans of that Reckoner. In this case it’s War.

Since you’re in War’s Domain, you need to understand that peace and understanding aren’t the norm. As the Marshal, you’ll have to force conflicts a bit more than usual. That Persuasion roll just might be a little harder in the Disputed Territories or the Indian Nations.

Also intolerance is everywhere. Whether you’re a white man in the Indian Nations or a Johnny Reb in a Union controlled area, you’d better expect folks of different persuasions to be unfriendly. Likewise the Disputed Territories are ground zero for the Great Rail Wars. Expect the Rail Barons heavy hands everywhere.

Whereas The Flood covered new ground for the Chinese martial artists, Last Sons covers the Native Americans. Your campaign will be greatly assisted if at least one of your characters is either an Indian or sympathetic to their cause. To that end, the book gives you several options for Indian characters and lots of information about the various Indian tribes found throughout America in the 1880s. You have your choice of the following archetypes.

Berdache - you’re a male but dress in women’s clothing and are usually an artisan.
Chief - you’re the leader of a village or tribe. You’ll have the Noble hindrance.
Priest - you’re a caretaker of your people and holy relics and places
Medicine Man - like a priest but your specialty is courting favors from spirits and embarking on vision quests to solve problems.
Scout - you’re fast, stealthy, and wise in the ways of survival. Your skills are in high demand just about everywhere in the Weird West.
War Leader - Part Shaman and part Warrior you specialize in the spirit magic of battlefield victory.
The Hunting Grounds are another large part of this work. Last Sons gives full stats for the spirit critters you’ll likely encounter along with setting rules particular to the dimension. Much like the Christian concept of Heaven and Hell, the World Tree can be pleasant or downright dangerous depending on where you go.

There’s another large section on the Union and Confederate Secret Service (Agents and Texas Rangers) including large sections containing new equipment. Getting that equipment is free but it’s far from easy and is often greatly depending on Rank.

The Plot Point Campaign

There are 9 plot points to the Last Sons’ campaign and, much like The Flood, Last Sons is a BIG story. It helps to have Legendary characters at the end for the last big battle but not to worry. If you’re starting out with a Novice posse there are plenty of Savage Tales to help with their advancement before the end.

As mentioned before, many of the principle characters, both good and bad, are Indians so you’ll need to coax your posse into adopting a kindly attitude toward the Red Man. If not they’re in for problems. Of course, nothing says the the journey to the land of tolerance can’t be part of the posse’s adventure.

The only odd thing to the plot point is the epilogue. While you're told you don't need to run it, it's in there and seems a little odd. The players participate in the end of Rail War II which is important to the setting but a little out of place in the overall adventure. If your posse made it through The Flood, you'll find the Rail War adventure eerily familiar.

By the Numbers

Last Sons has the following attributes for those of you just judge a product’s worth by size of its content.

337 Pages filled with
More information about American Indian tribes, territory, and equipment than you ever wanted to know
1 New Hindrance
7 New Edges
1 New Power (and a very important one at that)
9 Point Campaign
36 Savage Tales
21 Strange Locals
15 Corporeal Nasties
21 Spirits (both good and bad)
5 new Human encounter types
9 Servants of War
31 Notable Folks

That’s a lot of content!


If you want to play an epic campaign, Last Sons is the book for you. You’ll also want to pick it up if you place an Indian or Secret Service character in Deadlands. The Savage Tales can be used in any Deadlands campaign if you’re not interested in the Last Sons Plot Point.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deadlands Reloaded: The Last Sons
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Deadlands: Toxic Tunes Soundtrack
by Keith (. T. A. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/14/2013 13:50:35

This really isn't my cup of tea but it might be for others. Overall I'm neutral on the product. I think you can tell by the price drop others are as well. If you like western-rock then this might be for you.

[3 of 5 Stars!]
Deadlands: Toxic Tunes Soundtrack
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Wendigo Tales: Weird Wars: With Utmost Dispatch
by Keith (. T. A. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/07/2013 18:22:27

A perfectly timed release to begin breathing life into Weird War Rome. Pinnacle just finished their Kickstarter for Weird War Rome. For those of us lucky few already reading our WWR sourcebook, this adds some wonderful flavor and experience in the new setting. This adventure story begins in Cilicia with two close friends arguing over one planning on deserting. You discover quickly the story is filled with latin that draws you in as you (begin?) to build your Roman era vocabulary. While fear of fustuarium (being beaten to death) is present, it's not what is ultimately thrust upon the contubernium (eight legionaries that share a tent) sent to find their missing tent mate. The climax introduces a mysterious new band of legionaries bent on discovering and destroying the weird creatures that inhabit WWR. A fast read that should help any aspiring War Master better flavor their WWR adventures. Well Done! Strength & Honor!

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wendigo Tales: Weird Wars: With Utmost Dispatch
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Wendigo Tales: Weird Wars: Without Fear
by David H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/21/2013 13:06:41

I have been a fan of Shane Hensley since the late 90's and have always enjoyed his work. This latest story is action packed, and evocative of the harsh environment in which it's set. The story arc is short, but completes well while leaving room for more adventures by Magnus Bos.

Well Done.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Wendigo Tales: Weird Wars: Without Fear
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Deadlands Noir: Memories of Yesterday
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/29/2013 09:04:09

This is a good atmospheric story set in the world of Deadlands Noir, sounding a bit like how Sky Masterston might if caught in this alternate reality. Plenty of twists and turns, with some interesting characters, locations and even plot ideas that will be easy to mine out and retool for use in your own game.

Disappointlingly, however, you are left to do all the mining for yourself - even the main characters have not been statted up. It's just a short story - a GOOD short story, I hasten to add. You will have to put in all the work to turn it into anything that is useful from a gaming standpoint - but the characters and the situation will spawn a fair few ideas, and the atmosphere is pretty much what you will be seeking to create around the table with your Deadlands Noir players.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Deadlands Noir: Memories of Yesterday
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Deadlands Noir: Memories of Yesterday
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/29/2013 08:36:12

Originally posted at: http://dieha-

Memories of Yesterday is the third “dime novel” (short story) released for the Deadlands Noir setting. The first two, Tenement Men and Blood and Roses, were released in February. I loved them, as they were fun little pieces of fiction and really helped set the tone for this new Deadlands setting. My only problem was the four dollar price tag, as you were getting less than two dozen pages of story in a day and age where you can get full novels for the same cost digitally. Still, they were great reads, and I’d heartily recommend them to anyone curious about Deadlands Noir or even people who don’t play tabletop RPGS but are looking for a good two fisted pulp short story.

Memories of Yesterday is a very different story. It’s not as spooky as previous stories, but it also ratchets up both the action side of pulp and highlights the prominent voodoo aspects of New Orleans – which is a must for Deadlands Noir, and it’s great to see that focus here. Your main character is Mac, a veteran of the Great War, who, like a lot of veterans that came home from that, is no longer right in the head. In Mac’s case, he appears to have been in a state of catatonia and/or shellshock when the story starts off. However, as it progresses, we learn the real reason for his mental state, and it’s both unexpected and very fitting for the Deadland setting.

Mac is brought back to the real world by the help of two people, O’Leary and Halloran. In exchange for restoring his mind, Halloran asks for his help against the Red Sect, a voodoo cult/gang who are running rackets against Halloran’s Teamster Union. Halloran doesn’t want to pay protection money and he feels that Mac, being an obvious muscle man and war veteran, could help him out in getting the Red Sect to back off, and he’s right.

What follows in a ton of revelations across the board. In Memories of Yesterday, nothing is what it seems – not O’Leary, not Halloran, not the Red Sect and certainly not Mac. There are double crosses, subterfuge and mystical mayhem as soon as the basic story hook is laid out. There’s a great fight scene in the story posing as a false climax, which I appreciated on multiple levels. However, just when you think the story is wrapping up, it hits you with more surprises and conflict. The story ends on a melancholic downer, but it does leave enough of an opening for a potential sequel. So instead of, “Rocks fall; everyone dies”, it’s more “Rocks fall; one guy lives but not in any state a sane person would call living.”

So far, the dime novels of Deadlands Noir have been fantastic, and I keep hoping for more, or, with luck, perhaps even an anthology of these once enough have been penned. I think Memories of Yesterday is slightly weaker than the first two stories, but it balances things out with a slightly lower price tag, albeit it one still higher than I think should be the sweet spot for these short stories to really sell. If you enjoyed the previous Dime Novels, or Deadlands Noir at all, than DEFINITELY grab this. It’s short and you’ll whip through the tale in under fifteen minutes, but it was a great read while it lasted. Again, these are a great way to test the waters and see if Deadlands Noir is for you. Hell, I’m not really a fan of The Wild West or Hell on Earth, but I adore Deadlands Noir. I realize $2.99 is a bit pricey for a PDF, when you can get full adventures or even a comic book for the same cost, but the Dime Novels ARE great, so if you have the money to burn, I strongly recommend picking this up.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Worlds Sci Fi World Builder Toolkit
by Roger N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/14/2013 14:12:29

OK let me start by saying i came into the Savage Worlds game perhaps a little later than many other gamers. I have to say though since i did ive never looked back ! Great game, simple to play, run and teach. The Science Fiction World Builder toolkit is a fine addition to the game. It gives the GM everything they need pretty much to establish and build their own sand box Savage Sci-Fi game. Strongly recommend this book to anybody looking to use Savage Worlds for a sci-fi game.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Worlds Sci Fi World Builder Toolkit
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Deadlands Noir Companion
by Roger L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/03/2013 07:28:44

Mit dem Deadlands Noir Companion soll das Setting sowohl zeitlich als auch räumlich erweitert werden. Wir verraten euch, was euch in dieser Erweiterung erwartet.

Bereits zu Ende der Kickstarterkampagne angekündigt wurde der Deadlands Noir Companion nur wenige Monate nach dem Grundregelwerk veröffentlicht. Der 200 Seiten starke Band lockt mit vier neuen Städten, in denen die Ermittler dem Schrecken der Abrechner die Stirn bieten können. Das besondere dieses Bandes ist, dass jede Stadt von einem anderen Autor geschrieben wurde und hier praktisch ein achthändig geschriebenes Werk vorliegt. Die Unterschiede äußern sich zum Teil in einer unterschiedlichen Einteilung der Kapitel oder dem Aufbau der gesamten Plot-Point Kampagne, sind aber nahe genug beieinander um sich als stimmiges Ganzes zu präsentieren.


Das Layout des Companions, der uns als PDF-Datei vorliegt, orientiert sich am Deadlands Noir Grundregelwerk. Eine optische Zusammengehörigkeit oder neudeutsch das Corporate Design ist vollständig übernommen. Die Gestaltung des 207 Seiten starken Bandes wird immer noch durch ein helles Grau dominiert, dass durch den dezenten Einsatz von Farben aufgelockert wird. Neben den an jeder größeren Überschrift vorkommenden Blutflecken wird das Layout durch professionelle schwarz-weiß Illustrationen aufgelockert. Bei diesen Abbildung fällt besonders ins Auge, dass immer bestimmte Elemente, jedoch nie die eigentlichen Akteure farbig dargestellt werden. Da wäre zum Beispiel der in schwarz-weiß gehaltene Penner, der vor einem großen Gebäude mit rot erleuchteten Fenstern steht. Oder die wilde Verfolgungsjagd, in der nur das Blaulicht der Polizeiautos einen Farbakzent setzt. Das buchstäbliche farblose Umfeld fängt den Geist des Settings wunderbar ein. Wie auch im Grundregelwerk gibt es bei der Leserlichkeit nichts zu meckern: Starke Kontraste, lesbare Schriftarten und die klare Trennung von Inhalten strukturieren den Text augenfreundlich. Bei den Seitenleisten hat man allerdings das Gefühl, dass hier etwas experimentiert wurde: Das Layout dieser Informationen ist leider nicht einheitlich, nicht mal in den einzelnen Abschnitten des Bandes. Die aus dem Grundregelwerk bekannten Filmstreifen sind zwar immer noch vorherrschend, aber es werden auch unterschiedliche papierartige Hintergründe eingesetzt. Das ist nicht wirklich störend, fällt aber definitiv ins Auge.

Insgesamt liefert Pinnacle Entertainment wieder ein hervorragendes Werk ab: Tippfehler fielen keine auf und die gesamte Aufmachung wirkt professionell und aus einem Guss. Die Grafiken unterstützen den Text, ohne ihn unnötig zu überlagern. Als kleines Bonbon wurde die Datei in Layern aufgebaut. Möchte ich meine Datei also ohne den Tinte fressenden Hintergrund auszudrucken, ist das kein Problem – im Bedarfsfall können sogar sämtliche Grafiken ausgeblendet werden. So muss ein aktueller Rollenspielband aussehen!


Anders als in vielen anderen Settingerweiterungen werden im Deadlands Noir Companion nicht nur neue Regeln und Schauplätze beschrieben. Das Besondere an diesem Band ist, dass jede vorgestellte Stadt auch gleichzeitig in einer anderen zeitlichen Periode spielt. Leider bedeutet dies aber auch, dass der Inhalt für New Orleans Kampagnen eher dünn ausfällt: Viele der vorgestellten Charaktere und Monster sind ortsgebunden und nur selten kann ein Bösewicht ohne weiteres nach New Orleans verpflanzt werden. So bleiben für Charaktere in New Orleans lediglich die zwei „neuen“ mystischen Hintergründe des Gesegneten und des Sykers. Diese sind zwar aus den Geschwistersettings entnommen, aber immerhin auf das Setting angepasst worden.

Der Aufbau des Bandes ist durchaus schlüssig: Neben den einleitenden Worten, den neuen Settingregeln und einer kurzen Lektion in Sachen geschichtlicher Entwicklung in den USA bzw. CSA von 1913 bis 1956 werden auf jeweils vierzig bis fünfzig Seiten die Städte Chicago (1927), Shan Fan (1939), City of Lost Angels (1946) und die City of Gloom (1950) vorgestellt. Jeder Abschnitt beginnt mit einer groben Beschreibung der aktuellen Situation der Stadt sowie eines kurzen geschichtlichen Einblicks. In diesen Kapiteln wird der Leser an die wichtigsten Macher und laufenden Entwicklungen herangeführt. Anschließend folgt jeweils eine Karte der Stadt und eine grobe Beschreibung der Stadtviertel und wichtiger Orte. Selbstverständlich wird hier auch auf die kommenden Savage Tales verwiesen, sofern diese sich im jeweiligen Gebiet befinden. Der eigentliche Schatz der Kapitel sind die Savage Tales und die Plot-Point Kampagnen, die individuell für jede Stadt zusammengestellt wurden. Die Palette deckt hier einen Großteil klassischer Noir Geschichten wie z.B. Entführung, Raub oder Mord in unterschiedlichen Inkarnationen ab. Genauso wie die in diesem Kapitel enthaltenen Plot-Point Kampagnen wurden die Savage Tales bestens auf den Ort der Handlung zugeschrieben.

Die Kampagnen sind teilweise etwas geradlinig geworden. Hier und da wird sehr stark auf Railroading gesetzt um die Story voranzutreiben. Im Großen und Ganzen ist aber jede Kampagne eine spannende Ergänzung und hält für die Spieler die eine oder andere hässliche Überrauschung bereit. Der thematische Einschlag ist hier noch deutlicher als in den kurzen Savage Tales: Während man in Chicago zum Beispiel einem Gangster-Plot nachjagt, hat man es in der City of Gloom mit einer stark steampunk-lastigen Geschichte zu tun. Durch diese starke Aufteilung in unterschiedliche Genres bietet dieser Band eine unheimliche Vielfalt an Tonalität und Geschichte, ohne dabei zu viel zu wollen. Ein Wermutstropfen ist natürlich, dass die Charaktere wahrscheinlich nicht sämtliche Geschichten begonnen bei New Orleans über die neuen Städte erleben wird, sondern dass jede Kampagne für eine frische Gruppe von Ermittlern ausgelegt ist. Auf diese Weise schafft es der Companion aber auch, die Spieler immer wieder mit neuen Nuancen und Ideen im Noir Setting zu begeistern.

Die Exotik hält sich dabei aber noch in Grenzen. Es werden zwar stets neue Elemente eingeführt, das komplette Setting fühlt sich aber immer noch nach Noir an, ohne aufgesetzt zu wirken. Dies setzt sich auch in den Monsterbeschreibungen fort, die jedes Kapitel beenden. Ein globales Bestiarium mit Schrecken, die sich praktisch in jeder Stadt finden lassen hätte das Buch noch zusätzlich bereichert, fehlt allerdings komplett.


Der Deadlands Noir Companion erweitert Deadlands Noir um zahlreiche neue Schauplätze. Jede Stadt erhielt in ungefähr soviel Raum, wie New Orleans im Grundregelwerk zur Verfügung stand. Besitzer des Companions können sich frei eine der ausgearbeiteten Städte nehmen und erhalten ausreichend Informationen um direkt in die Geschichte stürzen zu können. Die Qualität der Savage Tales befindet sich auf hohem Niveau, einen kompletten Totalausfall gibt praktisch nicht. Die eine oder andere Geschichte hätte aber noch etwas weniger geradlinig ausfallen können. Mit den Plot-Point Kampagnen kann der Companion aber auf jeden Fall wieder punkten. Die auf den Handlungsort zugeschnittene Story hat das Potential ein unheimlich dichtes Szenario zu zeichnen, das Spieler wie auch Spielleiter in ihrer einzigartigen Stadt gefangen hält. Das ist auf der anderen Seite aber auch ein kleiner Nachteil, da Monster und Geschichten kaum in einer anderer Stadt als Schauplatz zu leiten sind. Der Companion bietet eine Menge neuer Informationen und spannender Geschichten. Diese sind gleichmäßig auf die neu vorgestellten Städte verteilt, so dass der tatsächliche Nutzen für eine einzelne Kampagne eher gering ist.

Gruppen, die New Orleans bespielen schauen praktisch vollständig in die Röhre, in jeder anderen Stadt angesiedelte Kampagnen können immerhin ein Viertel der im Companion angebotenen Informationen direkt nutzen. Die Zeitreise von Chicago bis hin zur City of Gloom ist eine nette Abwechslung zu anderen Begleitbänden, jedoch ist der tatsächliche Nutzen eher gering. Natürlich wird sich das Setting durch die historischen Ereignisse verändern, dies ist im Spiel aber leider nicht zu spüren. Es erfolgt zum Beispiel keine Anpassung der Ausrüstung oder Technologie, was in einem Zeitraum von über vierzig Jahren realistisch wäre. Ein generelles Problem des Companions ist außerdem, dass nur wenige Themen bis in die Tiefe behandelt werden. Die meisten Savage Tales bestehen aus maximal einer halben Seite, in der der komplette Plot erklärt wird. Weiterführende Details wie Charakter- oder Ortsbeschreibungen sind entweder nur sehr rudimentär oder gar nicht vorhanden. Die Verantwortung für diese Details liegen vollständig beim Spielleiter, der aus diesem Grund auch – wie in den Deadlands Settings allgemein üblich – über einige Erfahrung verfügen sollte.

Mit diesem Werk hat Pinnacle Entertainment eine solide Erweiterung zu Deadlands Noir zustande gebracht. Die beschriebenen Städte und ihre Bewohner sind glaubhaft und in düsterem Noir-Stil gezeichnet. Der Inhalt sowie die Gestaltung des Buches weiß zu überzeugen. Der Preis ist aber für ein unterstützendes Produkt sehr hoch und trübt die Freude über dieses Buch merklich. Nichtsdestotrotz kann für Fans der Reihe mit genug Spielleitererfahrung eine Kaufempfehlung ausgesprochen werden

Unsere Bewertung

Erscheinungsbild: 5/5 Hervorragend!
Inhalt: 3/5 Vier neue Städte für Deadlands: Noir mit eigenem Flair und noch zwei neue mystische Hintergründe obendrauf.
Preis-/Leistungsverhältnis: 3.5/5 Saubere Präsentation, viel Inhalt, aber leider immer nur in Teilen verwendbar
Gesamt: 4/5

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Deadlands Noir Companion
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Savage Worlds Fantasy Character Generator Toolkit
by colin t. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/21/2013 14:00:58

Picked this up as I'm very new to Savage Worlds and the one time i ran a game it was without understanding the need for playing cards.
So having been listening to the Knights of Reignsborough podcast got me interested in superhero gaming and I picked up the fantasy companion since I've been taking a few steps away from dungeons and dragons and this is one of many I've been looking at.
This toolkit is the first I've bought and I've been using it to get a handle on character generation, although its intended to be used instead of normal character generation I've been using it to provide a starting point for creating characters, I believe its well worth the price and I recommend it to anyone who like me is new to Savage Worlds and looking for a bit of inspiration for creating characters and even ideas for scenarios.
Give it a try you won't regret it!

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Worlds Fantasy Character Generator Toolkit
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Savage Worlds GM Screen Inserts
by Stephane G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/14/2013 22:50:10

Cool illustrations no matter what setting your using. The pages with the tables are clear & concise, thus avoiding the need to look it up in the rulebook. If the players can see the combat options, then they may be more inclined to use them in game.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Worlds GM Screen Inserts
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Deadlands Noir: The Old Absinthe House Blues
by Cedric C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/13/2013 23:09:38

The Old Absinthe House Blues isn't a bad adventure. But after the Red Harvest adventure of the core book, I found OAHB to have less noir and be less intertwined with the New Orleans of Deadlands: Noir. Particularly with the investigation and bayou locals, it felt like something close to a Call of Cthulhu adventure, without the highly thematic mythos.

The adventure is also more linear than I'd like. The adventure breaks down into three acts: investigation in New Orleans, convincing the locals in the bayous, and a climactic fight against some thugs some high cornfields. But the investigation requires the players to follow a particular path, and the bayous has an encounter with an undefeatable creature. A game master may have to rewrite the adventure to add more flexibility.

On the plus side, the adventure is adaptable. Because it's not deeply connected to the Deadlands: Noir version of New Orleans, and the focus is roleplaying over mechanics, new players (and even game master) can get into the adventure without knowing much of Deadlands: Noir New Orleans, nor must they use the Savage Worlds game system. The adventure has also been designed to allow other adventures, such as personal scenarios, to be played between OAHB acts. Since the adventure starts in New Orleans, the gamemaster can easily introduce OAHB elements into the New Orleans-based Red Harvest adventure of the core book.

At around 30 pages, it can be printed on the laser printer without changing the toner. However, I would recommend playing out the core book adventure first, and seeing what other Deadlands: Noir adventures come out later.

[3 of 5 Stars!]
Deadlands Noir: The Old Absinthe House Blues
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Deadlands Reloaded: Grim Prairie Trails
by Sean F. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/10/2013 18:26:44

SEAN'S PICK OF THE DAY: Deadlands fans still wanting to wander the Old Weird West will be happy about this one. New monsters, classic creatures and archetypes, and lots of adventures.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deadlands Reloaded: Grim Prairie Trails
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Deadlands Noir
by Cedric C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/30/2013 23:52:19


Alexander L. has written a fantastic review of Deadlands Noir, so, instead of assuming you're incapable of reading his review, I'll some additional comments to add to it.

Do you need Deadlands: Reloaded?

No, but you should be familiar with the Deadlands setting. But, since Deadlands: Noir takes place in the Depression, certainly none of the characters will care about some history lesson from a century ago. They're too busy trying to find a dime for their next meal. The Deadlands weirdness works well as the underbelly of the city, so players unfamiliar with Deadlands can easily play player characters who are discovering things they shouldn't know.

Do you need Savage Worlds?

You should. About a third of the book includes Deadlands: Noir rules for Savage Worlds, stats for important NPCs in its New Orleans setting and a bestiary of Deadlands critters you don't want to tussle with.

The Savage Worlds RPG and miniatures skirmish game system support cinematic gaming very well. The Deluxe PDF edition is ten dollars and really can be used for more roleplaying games by itself. The earlier Explorer's Edition can be found hardcopy for ten dollars or less at the OLGS. You can also get the Savage Worlds: Test Drive edition free on DriveThruRPG or the Pinnacle games site. You're welcome.

Of course, with this being Noir, your players will be investigating and roleplaying more than hacking and looting. So, if your players are obstinate, adapting Deadlands: Noir to your system of choice isn't impossible.

Is this game only for Deadlands players?

No. This game could have been equally called Noir: Deadlands. Deadlands gives the game a unique flavor, but can be suited for your playing group's taste. Investigative Call of Cthulhu players will also enjoy this game, as Deadlands: Noir supports adventures where something spooky lies underneath the story.

In fact, most character types have changed, and some eliminated entirely. Blessed, sykers, and martial artists are rare so will be covered in the Deadlands Noir: Companion. Indian shamans exist, but not in the urban landscape of Deadlands Noir. Mad scientists evolved into patent scientists. Hucksters were hunted down, with those remaning becoming Grifters. Voodoo, however, has risin in New Orleands, allowing players to play shamanistic characters. And the Harrowed are still there. Savage Worlds supports designing characters based on skills, not classes, so players always have the option of playing their favorite noir character idea.

What if I don't want to run premade adventures or don't want to set Deadlands: Noir in New Orleands?

Okay, maybe this book won't work out too well for you. There is a two-page mystery generator you can use to create your own adventures. But about a fifth of the book is dedicated to a seven-adventure campaign, with the shorter mini-adventures usable between these adventures. New Orleands (and its corrupt factions) is the only city covered in this book. See the Deadlands: Noir Companinion for additional cities.

Web Support

As of this writing, the Deadlands: Noir KickStarter is still shipping dead tree versions of its books, so it's not too surprising that the only support are some premade characters and a character sheet. The premade characters are definitely worth looking at. Deadlands: Noir mentions miniatures and printable and purchasable maps of the adventures in the PDF, but I couldn't find mention of them on the website.

PDF Format

One irritation I have with PDFs is that many of them make a PDF of the book, and that's that. IMO, Since PDFs have an unlimited page count, and material that couldn't be included in the dead tree version because of printing costs should be included. Also, PDFs allow printing of individual pages. The artwork includes mug shots of NPCs. So Pinnacle could have included NPC picture profile handouts for the GM to print and cut out for the players to see whom they were dealing with. Also, since Savage Worlds supports miniatures gaming and they have the full-body art of the beasties, I would have liked to see paper miniatures included with the PDF.

Conversely, a 145 page grey-color intensive coffee-table PDF is not something you want to print out. No printer-friendly version is included. Entries for NPCs and beasts have widows and orphans (ie. a one-page entry for a beast will start at the bottom of one page and go to the other side). Artwork that looks purdy in the electronic coffee table book consumes ink and toner when you have to print out the page it's one.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deadlands Noir
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