Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Savage Worlds, The Sixth Gun, and Infinite Possibilities

"It was human suffering that called The Six into existence. And The Six gave the humans the power to recreate the world."

I've been a fan of role playing games produced by Pinnacle Entertainment Group since the first time I saw a copy of the Deadlands role playing game sitting on the shelf of a friendly local game store. My fandom only increased when they released the Savage Worlds role playing game in the early 2000s. The system, based on a very simplified version of the Deadlands rules, lives up to its tagline and is Fast, Furious, and Fun! It is one of the easiest role playing games to teach people how to play, and it runs combats swifter than any other system I've played. The mechanics are also incredibly flexible and can be used to simulate everything from Sword & Sorcery to Superheroes without missing a beat.

Over the years, Pinnacle has produced a number of settings for the Savage Worlds system, often featuring high concept mash-ups of other genre. Some of my favorites are the Cyberpunk meets Gothic horror Rippers and the Independence Day/V meets The Avengers setting Necessary Evil. Prior to this past month, they have only published one Western inspired setting in their Deadlands Reloaded adaptation of the original role playing game.

Pinnacle is currently finishing up a Kickstarter campaign for a new Western themed Savage Setting called The Sixth Gun based on the Oni Press comic book series of the same name. I've had the benefit of giving the rules a look over, and I can say that this may quickly become my favorite Savage Setting.

While The Sixth Gun is at its base a Western tale, it is far more than that. The quote at the beginning of this post is from the story and it is literally true. Those who control The Six have the power to recreate the world in their own image. In a way, The Sixth Gun is a Feng Shui meets Deadlands mashup and that is a beautiful thing.

While The Six are "guns" in the current setting, they have been clubs and swords in the past. Who's to say they couldn't be "Rings of Power" in another? Not me. I'm already prepping a Savage Supers Setting based on "The Sixth Ring." It's a Savage high concept mashup of Green Lantern, Deadlands, Feng Shui, and The Sixth Gun.

As is typical of Savage Settings, The Sixth Gun is rules are well written and written using active voice. This makes for quick reading. There are a number of small differences in the mechanics from the core rules. It is often said that Savage Worlds is not a "universal" rules set, rather a rules set that can be adapted to any setting. In The Sixth Gun, the standard Arcane Backgrounds are not allowed. Instead, there are specific Backgrounds that are better suited to the core The Sixth Gun setting. This allows the game to have magic "feel" different for the setting than it would using the rules from the core rule book. The setting also uses a couple of key rules like "Born a Hero" and "Critical Failures" to give the setting the appropriate grimly heroic tone.

As a father who is teaching his seven year-old daughters to play role playing games, this setting is slightly more cartoony than the Deadlands setting and allows me to role play "action ghost stories" with the twins instead of the more serious grimdark horror of Deadlands. I'm still waiting for a Savage Worlds "Moldvay/Cook Basic" equivalent to be published, but I've been working on an equivalent for my home game.

In addition to The Winding Way, an adventure campaign for The Sixth Gun game, Pinnacle have two free adventures available on RPGNow entitled Circle the Wagons and The One-Hand Gang. The Winding Way is a great introduction to The Sixth Gun setting and highlights the transformative nature of The Six. I cannot wait for these books to be published, and you have a couple more days to back the project yourself.

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