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Mystical Throne Entertainment has been hard at work with their Savage Insider line of products. In addition to the free electronic issues that come out quarterly, they have released two settings books under the name and now this premium issue of the magazine. The settings books, Mercenary Breed and Judgment Day, were both released as “mini settings” with the intention of releasing additional supplemental material in the premium issues of the magazine. The first premium issue of Savage Insider makes good on that promise, offering a good amount of additional material for Mercenary Breed. Additionally, the book introduces a new race and an archetype that aren’t tied to the setting.
The new material for Mercenary Breed includes details on a region of space called the Hastilion Expanse. The Expanse is home to nine planets, 8 of which are outlined in the text. The ninth planet, Helioside, is available from the MTE webite as a download. In addition to the planetary information, there are additional character options and equipment lists. The equipment stats include the Renown Number for player requisition (see my previous review of Mercenary Breed for an explanation of that mechanic). Following the outline of the Hastilion Expanse is a campaign broken up into several sections. The encounter entries are classified based on whether they will be Role Playing, Investigation, Exploration, or Combat encounters. I liked this style of organization though it makes the outcome of each encounter sound like a forgone conclusion. I do not, however, think that it is the intention of the writer to railroad the players into a pre determined outcome. If I spill some role playing into an encounter labeled combat I hardly think my campaign will unravel. Overall the campaign is fairly well done though there are no maps included except for a hex map of the planets. I suspect this omission is to allow greater GM customization but I think leaving them out lowers the utility factor of the book.
The premium issue of Savage Insider also includes MTE’s version of the Dhampir as a playable race. Aside from the variation in spelling from the version presented in the Savage Worlds Horror Companion, MTE fleshes the race out a bit further by including more racial bonuses that are balanced with additional weaknesses. There are suggestions for including the race in various game genres as well as a couple of fleshed out Wild Card NPC’s. There is a one sheet Savage Tale at the end of this section that incorporates one of the NPC’s, but like the other MTE adventures released thus far there are no maps.
The issue is bookended with the introduction of a character archetype called the Heirophant. This “Auspicious Archetype” is outlined in much the same way as the Dhampir race with advice for incorporating the class into different genres. A Wild Card Heirophant NPC is presented as well as information on a sample cult and stats for mook cultitsts. Another Savage Tale is included and again there aren’t any maps. The exclusion of maps in this case isn’t as problematic as this tale isn’t quite as location based as the Dhampir adventure.
This maiden issue of Savage Insider is packed with setting information and is worth the $5 investment. I like the inclusion of the Savage Tale one sheets though I hope that MTE starts including some maps in future releases. The appeal of these issues would be significantly greater to me if there were fully fleshed out one sheets ready to be plucked out for last minute games.
[4 of 5 Stars!]