Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Savage Worlds Super Powers Companion 2E

Savage Worlds has had a steady progression when covering super hero games. We started with Necessary Evil all of 12 years ago (!), and that was it until 2010 when Pinnacle released the Super Powers Companion alongside a slightly revised Explorer's Edition of NE. In 2014 they released a second edition of the Super Powers Companion. I finally picked it up and since I own all 4 of the books in question I thought I would talk about Savage Supers in general and the new book in particular.

NE in general is a very limited scope campaign - it all happens in a single city over the course of a few months, maybe a year at most. Certain powers were included - or not - based on the campaign conceit. There are some definite balance issues as we discovered when my wife's character went around happily mind-controlling everything in sight. Now we were all having fun so it was not a huge issue - "Why bash down the door when you can have the guards let you in?" - was the general approach. Balance is tricky in a supers campaign anyway and not really at the top of the list. The Savage Worlds system worked well as a framework for comic book action and we really felt like we were exploring the city, discovering a plot, and taking action to throw out the invaders. Both times I have run multiple sessions but both were eventually interrupted before we could finish the campaign. That said it's something we talk about starting up again whenever a new game is discussed.

NE was the only official source for super powers for a long time but after many requests the company did release a super powers companion. This was better, but it was still largely a collection of material taken from NE and very lightly revised. Some new material was added like super-bases, but it still felt like less than a full effort - limited, in some way.

The latest version is much, much better and finally feels like a full, standalone, superhero campaign supplement for Savage Worlds. If the prior versions were like the early versions of Champions, this book feels like the SW version of the Champions 4th edition Big Blue Book. It brings together everything they've learned previously, makes it right, and presents it well. So...

  • If you are interested in Savage Worlds and super heroes, do not have any of these books yet, and are wondering where to start this is the one to get.
  • If you have NE and would like to broaden your horizons beyond that book then this is the one to get.
  • If you have the prior edition of the companion there is a free PDF containing all of the changes here. Note that it is 54 pages long so it was much more of an update than a few pages of errata and clarifications. 
I don't see myself running a pure Savage Supers game just yet, but that's not because of this book. It's mainly because Savage Rifts is coming later this year. I figure a superhero might show up in that game at some point and who knows - I might dust off Atomic City for a one-shot using these rules to help get us warmed up for that.

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