Thoroughly enjoyable product.
Thrilling Tales is a setting guide for delivering your Savage Worlds game in a Pulp Setting.
An entertaining and informative overview of the different types of heroes and villains on the genre and how they would be constructed in a Savage Worlds system.
There is a very good section of new edges & hindrances which is helps to both convey the pulp feeling of the characters and encourage pulp action and behaviour from the players.
I enjoyed this section and thought that each edge and hindrance had a purpose and contributed to the setting.
A selection of period guns and vehicles. An interesting mix at that. I assume this section is meant to be an addition to your normal equipment lists but I am unsure. There are some peculiarities which irked me:
(1) There is no Thompson sub-machinegun, but there is an MP38? There is also no Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) but there is a type of Spanish army rifle I have never heard of. I just thought some of the omissions where very peculiar in light of some of the oddities included. Not being an aficionado of the era, or pulp "genre", I will just say it felt a little bit odd to me as a layman - perhaps an explanation as to why the weapons included were chosen would have help to assuage my doubts.
(2) The number of cars! There are multiple pages of sedans and sports cars! Why so many, and why so many randomly sourced pictures of the vehicles? If Car chases are such an important aspect of Pulp, perhaps giving an interesting car chase system/mechanic that utilised the minor variations in the statistics of the cars would have helped. I understand that providing pictures of such period cars would be helpful to players whose grandparents were not even born in that era, but the non-uniformity of the pictures and contrast from the rest of the comic book's excellent sketch art throughout the rest of the product gave me a "desperate slapped in" feeling about this section.
In general I agree that the equipment section needed to have these period items, but I found this part of the book the least enjoyable.
The Adventure Generator
By far the most outstanding part of this product.
The Adventure Generator is a set of "Random Tables" consulted in an order prescribed in accordance with the Rules of Pulp as laid down by one of the pioneer writers of the Industry. Sounds a mouthful, but the results are fantastic!
Each adventure is divided up into 4 "acts", which each act having its own requirements for what should take place in it.
The tables provide the inspiration and you are meant to link it all together to create a coherent (if somewhat crazy) story/adventure.
an example of the Generator in action:
After rolling up the evil scheme, villain, supporting characters and starting location got:
a Businessman scheming to take over another business, with the adventure taking place in an unusual Location (such as the sky) and the adventure would start "in media res" (in the middle of the action). Supporting characters in this tale would be an attractive female pilot, a fat evil businessman, and an old but helpful mad scientist.
The First Act would involve a chase in the air complicated by environment.
The Generator later revealed the initial scheme was really a ruse in order to trick the heroes into performing an ancient ritual that would accomplish some evil purpose for the villain...and that the beautiful pilot was in fact an evil henchman...er, woman, working for the sinister puppet master! There were also serveal chases and fights along the way, with the climax taking place on top of the Skyscrapers of New York!
This section was the primarily (and sole) reason I purchased this product and I was thoroughly impressed with it.
Beware the tables are designed for 1920-1940s era classic Pulp settings, so is geared toward ancient lost cities and Manhattan style cities - would suit superheroe games, but easily modified to your tastes.
a quite substantial section on classic Pulp Villains such as Nazi's and Oriental Masterminds. A lot of background information to help bring the party nemesis to life, and plenty of hooks and ideas on how to use them in your games. Also some useful stat blocks for the bosses, henchmen, and mooks.
The Plot Point Campaign
I wouldn't call it that. This is actually 3 independent adventures which can be linked together. I haven't road tested them yet, but on reading through them I liked the later two more than the first one which I felt player might see as too contrived, but overall quite enjoyable.
All together Thrilling Tales gives you a very good grasp of how to organise, construct and run very entertaining Pulp style adventures with the Savage World system
I give this product 4 stars.
3 for presentation, content, and execution - a very respectable coverage of the subject matter.
+1 for the Adventure Generator - innovative use of standard "random tables" with coherent structure to produce a quite useful tool for beginner and veteran GMs alike.
[4 of 5 Stars!]