DriveThruRPG Reviews: The Savage Worlds of Misfit Studios

One of the most impressive things about Pinnacle’s Savage Worlds (in addition to how just simply entertaining the system is) is that not only are their products generally impressively professional, with excellent layouts, editing, writing and art, but also the products from third party companies that utilize Savage Worlds are equally professional.  The products Misfit Studios creates exemplify this dedication to quality.  After reading some of their previous offerings, I was eager to get the chance to read more and five new offerings I was able to read did not disappoint.

The first of these products was 10 More Fantasy Traps. Traps are a staple of many fantasy games and this product (and I assume the previous Fantasy Traps offering) brought this staple to life in the Savage World’s game system.  These rules included everything a Game Master needs to include traps in his game, including rules for Stealth rolls for the traps to oppose the Notice checks of the characters trying to spot them and prices for various options for each trap allowing them to be tailored to the needs of the Game Master or player characters.  Many of the traps provided were standards of fantasy stories, like an Indiana Jones style rolling boulder or a spiked pit trap but others are more original.  These included a mirror that creates a Doppelganger that tries to kill the character, a magnetized floor to hold heavily armored characters in place, a ray room that takes the laser grids from just about every caper movie to a deadly level, and a trap that reverses gravity, leaving characters stranded on the ceiling.  All the traps, even these more original, creative ones, included clear, concise rules that can be easily implemented at the table without having to flip back and forth from one book to another.

The second product this go around was Player Races: Dragon Men. Dragon Men adds another player character, and NPC option to the standard fantasy races.  Like most offerings of new character races for the Savage Worlds system, the Dragon Men presented here are nicely balanced against humans and other “standard” races.  A player would not be tempted to play one of these creatures simply as a way of power gaming but rather to experience playing something a bit unusual.  The basic Dragon Man is based on the standard fire breathing monstrosity from myth, but rules for seven offshoots corresponding to dragons from other Misfit Studios products are included to make the creatures even more customizable and unique.

One of the aspects of the character race that helps balance Dragon Men compared to other race are Breeding Hindrances.  These Hindrances reflect certain small flaws in the physical structure of a Dragon Man caused by its unusual ancestry.  A Dragon Man must take one of these hindrances in addition to any others he might take but gets no benefit in return.  These hindrances are invariably interesting and add another layer of diversity and potential challenge to a Dragon Man character.

This product contains perhaps the only editorial flaw I found in any of these offerings from Misfit.  In one place the stereotypical “see page [XX}” error was evident.  A truly minor problem with a product that is only 4 pages long but also a bit more annoying because of that.  It should not have taken much of a read through by an editor to spot that error and correct it.

The next offering this time around from Misfit was Monster Brief Out of the Dark.  This product featured several monsters that were focused on an underground setting, including a demon that is essentially the essence of bloodshed and darkness, a bat like creature that travels in swarms and drinks blood, and an undead creature based on torturers.    The most interesting monster in his product however was the Eater in the Deep.  This creature was amusing largely because it  is essentially a Beholder with mouths instead of eyes.  In fact, it has no eyes at all and senses the world though taste and smell.  Rather than a fleshy ball with eyes on the ends of its tentacles, it is a ball with mouths on the ends of its tentacles.  While the lack of eye rays makes the creature a little less dangerous than a beholder, a ball of tentacle mouths coming at you must be disconcerting for any adventurer.

Another of the products which I reviewed was Powers Grimoire, Places of Power. This presented a system for creating magical locations that was noticeably more complex than usual for the Savage Worlds system.  The system is not so fast or furious as standard Savage Worlds rules but remains fun.  The math needed to create one of these places of powers verges on the complexity that is common in more tactical or simulationist games like Dungeons and Dragons, though it never gets as complex as the densest portions of that sort of game.  In the end, a player or game master can work up one of these places of power in 15 minutes, meaning that it is not as tedious as many games get.  With that being said, the extra work pays off.  The places of power that can be generated by this system are interesting, useful and highly customizable, allowing both players and game masters to create unique settings for their games.  This is also the longest offering from Misfit Studios that I’ve seen.  A full 15 pages long, it explores the mechanics presented for magical places in impressive depth.

The final product I read from Misfit Studios this time around was Expanded Professions, the Geomancer.  The products in this series are designed to expand on the choice of character taking a Profession edge.  They include additional edges that a character who takes a professional edge could take to expand or focus their abilities.  In this case, the profession discussed is the Geomancer.  The edges provided are interesting  and useful enough but the product is somewhat dependent on other products from Misfit Studios.  In one place, it references Player Races: Dwarves and most of the edges only work in the context of Powers Grimoire, Places of Power.  Given how entertaining and useful these other products are, picking them up isn’t much of a burden, but there is something to be said for a product that can stand entirely on its own.

Once more, Misfit Studios has presented a number of quality products that can be easily used to expand a Savage Worlds Fantasy setting.  Any GM running this type of campaign would be well served by picking up any of these offerings.

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