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Savage Worlds Horror Companion $19.99 $9.99
Average Rating:4.6 / 5
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Savage Worlds Horror Companion
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Savage Worlds Horror Companion
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment
by Josh M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/18/2013 21:29:27
Originally posted at http://krazyivansrpgs.com/review-savage-worlds-horror-compan-
ion/

System: Savage Worlds

Producer: Pinnacle Entertainment

Page Count: 144 pages

Retail: $14.99 (PDF), or $19.99 (Hard Copy)

**Content**

The book is broken up into several sections. Each section is examined individually below.

Characters
This section of the book offers a good number of new edges, and most of them are not dependent on horror setting rules. Several new horror-themed races are presented, from angels, to werewolves, to zombies, that can easily be ported into non-horror settings. Be warned however that some of these races are quite powerful compared to those found in Savage Worlds Deluxe.

Tools of the Trade
The equipment section of the book is very useful if you are running, or playing in, a modern setting. Unfortunately, there is not much equipment that would be useful in a fantasy style game.

Setting Rules
This is really a mixed bag. Many of the setting rules fit the horror genre just right. The rules for Forbidden Lore are particularly well written with just the right mix of risk to reward. However, some rules like ‘Buckets of Blood’ are overly cinematic (this one has buckets of blood spewing all over the area whenever anyone dies). What should be the crown jewel of this section (considering how many of the new Edges interact with it), Sanity, are overly harsh in my opinion. This is mainly due to how few Sanity points characters get, how easy it is to lose them (particularly for characters with a low Spirit rating), and how hard it is to get them back (particularly for characters with a low Smarts rating). I was expecting more a slow burn, like in a Call of Cthulhu campaign, but got a flamethrower.

Magick
This sections has no less than 14 new powers for characters with the Arcane Background edge. All of them are fit well into the horror genre, and mostly have to do with summoning, controlling, and enhancing all manner of creepy crawlies like demons, spirits, and zombies. One thing was a bit of a turn off, however, is that not one of the new powers is available to Novice characters. Most of the new powers come in at Seasoned and Veteran ranks, with a couple for Heroic ranked characters.

Arcane Items
Welcome to Krazy Ivan’s Cursed Item Emporium! The section on magical gear is full of things that might be useful to the player, if they don’t mind a some complications. There are also a few ‘standard’ pieces of kit that offer some kind of advantage against the supernatural without any kind of cost. All in all the gear presented here is right at home in a horror game. My problem is that a good many of the cursed items are of the ‘save or die’ type, meaning that they have a particularly serious effect on a character if they fail a trait roll (usually Spirit, and usually with a significant negative modifier). This wouldn’t be so bad, except a bunch of these items dictate player behavior. I am not huge fan of taking away player agency.

Creatures
One thing this book doesn’t lack is interesting creepy crawlies for your players to deal with. There are more than 100 of them in fact, and around 50 of them are wildcards. That last point is pretty important because most of those 50-odd wildcards are of the ‘urban-legend’ variety; these are the type of monsters that perfect for playing the antagonist in any traditional horror story. Pretty much all of the creatures in this section can easily be dropped into any Savage Worlds game, horror themed or otherwise.

Game Mastering
The Game Mastering section of the book starts with advice on running horror games in multiple styles running the gambit from action horror (think of the movie Van Helsing), slasher horror (think Friday the 13th), and ‘greater evil horror (think H.P. Lovecraft). Advice for running horror games in multiple settings including Sci Fi, Fantasy, Modern, and Historical is included. Ideas are given for making the existence of the supernatural either public knowledge or hidden. There are some ideas for building campaigns, creating a proper atmosphere for horror gaming, and ways to create memorable villains. All in all there is nothing really new here, particularly for a ‘Seasoned’ game master. That said the section is an interesting read, and is not a waste of pages.

**Production**

The artwork is mostly well done, but a little pulpy for my tastes. While this isn’t surprising for a Savage Worlds supplement, it’s not exactly what I want in a ‘horror’ supplement. I also wish that there were more pictures of the things in the Creatures section of the book. The artwork is well placed, and in most cases is related in some way to the surrounding text.

Page border graphics do not bleed into the text, and do not effect readability of the text. The fonts themselves are crisp and clear, except for the page and section headings. The headings use a typewriter-style font that is a bit fuzzy, but is in keeping with the horror genre. The headers are legible in any case.

**Organization**

The book is organized along the same lines as Savage Worlds Deluxe, which means if you are familiar the core book then you will have an easy time finding things in the Horror Companion. If you do have trouble finding things by flipping through the book it’s not a problem because the book;s indexing is excellent.

**The Verdict**

I may have some issues with the art style, and lack of creature photos, in this book on the whole the amount of good, useful material. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to run a Savage Worlds horror, urban fantasy, of straight up fantasy game.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Worlds Horror Companion
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment
by Keith (. T. A. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/14/2013 14:08:49
Review originally appeared at http://rptroll.blogspot.com/2011/12/review-savage-worlds-hor-
ror-companion.html

Pinnacle Entertainment Group released a new member of their Companion series for the Horror genre. This work joins the Super Powers and Fantasy Companions as supplements to the Savage Worlds rules set. Like the others in the series, the Horror Companion is in the smaller Explorer’s Edition format.

One important note: this rule book does not stand on its own. It is a supplement. You must have either the Savage Worlds Deluxe Edition or Savage Worlds Explorer’s Edition in order to fully utilize this product.

The Horror Companion contains generous amounts of artwork, reference tables, encounters, character additions, and equipment for all your Horror genre needs. It’s information-packed pages contain rules and setting advice to recreate Horror/Super Natural adventures in the Victorian worlds of Bram Stoker and Mary Shelly, the modern slap-stick humor of Ghostbusters, the serial action/horror adventures of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the star-spanning terror of H. P. Lovecraft's creations, or the futuristic nightmare creatures of the Alien franchise all packed in 144 pages.

Character Creation

In the Savage Worlds tradition of Fast, Furious, and Fun; the Horror Companion jumps right into character creation. Savage Worlds is one of the best game systems for replicating the theatrical adventure one finds in movies and novels. To that end, the work includes a number of customized Edges and Hindrances to allow for characters pulled straight from the movie house.

The new Edges and Hindrances for your players and NPCs include:


Hindrances
Angst
Bleeder
Bullet Magnet
Cursed
Combat Shock
Doubting Thomas
Jumpy
Screamer
Slow
Touched
Victim
Edges
Relentless
Fanaticism
Exorcist
Necromancer
Master Necromancer
Talisman Craftsman
Monster Hunter
Sound Mind
Tower of Will
Hardened
Occultist
One of the Chosen
Visions
If your campaign is a little more powerful, you can also have non-human characters and NPCs. Be warned, they will be distinctly more power than the humans. If you plan on running a mixed character group, you might want to consider starting humans as Seasoned while starting other races out at the Novice rank.

Character Races
Angel
Demon
Dhampyr - half vampire
Patchwork Man - like the Frankenstein Monster
Phantom - ethereal
Vampire
Werewolf
Zombie - has a thing for fresh meat.
The Tools of the Trade

The Horror Companion equipment section was truly a joy to read. I was pleased to see Ghostbuster-style equipment present. Other equipment mimicked that found in movies series like Blade or Underworld. Below is a partial list of equipment found in this section.


Atomic Ghost Hunting Pack
Ultraviolet Grenade
Garlic Bullets
Silver Nitrate Bullets
Ultraviolet Bullets
Ghost Trap


Fear and Loathing in Gaming - Setting Rules


The Setting section adds horror tinted ideas to create custom styles of play. Your game setting might have a horrible price for magic, people splatter when killed, heightened magical effects based on the calendar day, or the fact that immoral behavior is a serial killer magnet.

For the Lovecraft fans, the Horror Companion includes a Sanity attribute which measures the character’s Spiritual toughness. It starts at half the character’s Spirit+2. Carnage, super natural terror, and forbidden knowledge lower Sanity while triumphing over evil, rest and relaxation, and psychotherapy heal it.

If a character’s Sanity drops too low, they are odd in some way and pick up a negative to their Charisma. If it drops to zero, they get the joy of rolling on the Psychosis Table. Luckily, the rules allow for Sanity healing, so your characters might be brought back from the brink.

Other setting rules include
Forbidden Lore - containing information “Man Was Not Meant to Know”
Rituals and the Price of Failure - magic in horror settings isn’t often as easy or available as fantasy settings. The Ritual rules contain some variations to simulate this in game terms. Rituals that fail carry special consequences. Depending on the setting, Villians may use Sacrifices to power their evil Rituals and spells.
Signs & Portents - Horror often includes foreshadowing from a fortune teller or dreams. The Horror Companion includes a Portents Table to help the GM determine the value of the visions or advice. Unlucky characters receiving a fortune of Doom may have their Bennies removed for the rest of the game.
Wards & Binds - an important aspect of Horror is the ability to ward against evil or bind an unstoppable being, so the Horror Companion has rules governing these aspects including how such a creature breaks free.



Magick

Much like the equipment section, the Horror Companion contains new powers to simulate popular Horror fiction. In addition, powers derived from Dark sources may drain sanity if the caster rolls a critical failure. Even if your character does not have an Arcane Background, they may still be able to cast spells via Rituals (see setting rules, above).

Some of the new powers include:
Banish Entity
Bind Entity
Consecrate Ground
Corpse Senses
Drain Years
Enhance Undead
Grave Shroud
Grave Speak
Nightmares
Spirit Shield
Strength of the Dead
Summon Demon
Summon Spirit
Suppress Lycanthropy
The Horror Companion also contains a list of Arcane Items for inclusion in your game. Some of these items are cursed, others are ancient and unique, while still others can be made with the proper ingredients. The items include:
Bandages of Anubis
Frankenstein’s Laboratory
Hockey Mask of Terror
Sacrificial Knife
Voodoo Dolls

http://frankensteinia.blogspot.com/2008/09/frankensteins-
-laboratory.html

What’s a Horror adventure without terrifying creatures to fight, overcome, or evade? The Horror Companion doesn’t disappoint with a list of mundane and super natural beings for encounters. They aren’t all monsters. Some are people like Vampire Slayers or Occultic Investigators that might help your characters when things go bump in the night.
Dark Man
Collector Demon
Pazuzu
Dreamreaver
Evil Clown
Haunted Car
Haunted Portrait
Mad Scientist
Serial Killers
Stuffed Animal Fiend
Chinese Hopping Vampire
Were-Creatures
The last section on Game Mastering guides the GM through a setting creation by describing the various genres of Horror. Before starting, the GM needs to decide the Horror style to use including: Action, Greater Evil, and Dark.

Action settings involve lots of combat where the characters wade through monsters, kicking super natural butt and taking names. The heroes are more akin to fantasy settings than helpless teenagers running way from a serial killer. Fear rules are rarely used in this style of play.
Greater Evil settings feature super natural creatures as far above us as we are above ants. The human race is an insignificant speck in the universe and all their technology is useless against being of cosmic power. Heroes are normal men and women who are drawn into the dark to keep mankind safe from the greater cosmic horror. Fear and Sanity rules dominate this style of play with the characters struggling to stay sane.
Dark settings are somewhere between Action and Greater Evil settings. In this case, there may be monsters that are easily killed but others, like vampires, are difficult and take planning. Fear rules are used often but the Sanity rules are de-emphasised. Things are scary but not mind bending.


After the GM picks the style, they must decide on an era of play. Will the campaign be in a Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Modern, or Historical era.


Fantasy is a well worn path with which most gamers are familiar. It’s also likely the hardest to separate from a classic fantasy campaign. The Ravenloft modules can be easily transformed into Savage Worlds using a combination of the Fantasy and Horror Companions.
Sci-Fi campaigns are another setting players should be familiar with. Aliens or Warhammer 40K would both do well Savaged using these rules. Likewise I could see moving the Horror Companion rules into the existing Savage Worlds Necropolis setting.
Modern is another era setting that would be easy to implement. Thanks to the Internet, maps and locals are easily found and used for game purposes.
History era settings are probably the hardest to create. The GM will need to spend a good bit of time on research to get the story-telling touches down to make the players feel like they’re in the time period. That said, the Victorian time period has many game supplements available including Space 1889, Rippers, and Deadlands. Other historical settings include Weird War II, Pirates of the Spanish Main, and Solomon Kane.


Conclusion

I enjoyed reading this supplement cover to cover. It’s packed with ideas, statistics, and other content to help GMs and Players create a fun (or scary) Horror campaign. While the content isn’t as extensive as other Savage Worlds horror supplements like Realms of Cthulhu or Rippers, it contains more than enough to get you started on a lenghthy campaign.

As a side note, the fact that the Creature list includes Pazuzu and Dark Man entries made me wonder if Wiggy’s been in my computer since those are the creatures I used the Thomas Gunn Detective Stories of The New Moon Murders and Prescription for Revenge.

On the up side, the Horror Companion gave me lots of idea’s for my third novel. After all, isn’t the reason we game to tell good stories and have fun? That’s what the Savage Worlds Companion series is all about.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Worlds Horror Companion
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment
by Jon S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/24/2012 13:35:09
I have the other SW "Companion" books, so I knew that this one would likely be as good. Supplements can be so much fluff, particularly in a system like SW, where sandbox style is so encouraged. Who needs it, right? I can make up my own stuff without it! What I've found with these Companion books though, is that there is so much juicy inspiration for both player and GM, that they're worth having.

As has been stated in other reviews, I really dont so much need the GM tips section, but the spells, magic items and critters sections are worth the price of admission. I'm running Deadlands, but this stuff is usable in horror western, modern, or sci-fi horror settings perfectly well.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Worlds Horror Companion
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment
by Idle R. H. P. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/09/2012 05:31:50
I'll start this review off by saying that I'm not really a fan of the Savage Worlds system. Which is why I was surprised when I found myself actually liking the Savage Worlds Horror Companion.

The book is basically a collection of new rules and options for GMs and players who want to run horror style games in Savage Worlds. The book doesn't have to be used as a whole, but rather allows players to pick and choose specific options and rule modifications to create various flavors of horror. There are rules for making different sort of monstrous characters if your players actually want to be the things that go bump in the night; there is new equipment that ranges from serious to silly and spans several eras; and there are setting rules to turn your game into a gore-drenched slasher flick, a Lovecraftian game of cosmic evil, or an action horror game of monster hunting. There is a substantial section of horror creatures taken from many different traditions, a chapter on using magic in horror games, and a great section on how to game master horror games.

I think I like this book so much because it tones down some of the "heroes should be heroic" feel that the standard Savage Worlds game has. I prefer games that feature ordinary people thrust into extraordinary situations and seeing if they are able to rise to the challenge. This book allows me to do precisely that. I would even encourage people who find Savage Words a bit too heroic to give this title a look. You may find that the system is capable of doing things you didn't think were possible.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Worlds Horror Companion
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment
by Michael H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/02/2011 13:16:53
A well rounded companion for those desiring to run a horror game. Most of the major bases are covered and elements from books and film are present (there's even a puzzle box resembling the Lament Configuration from the Hellraiser movies). The only thing I'd like to have seen are additional rules covering zombie apocalypse type settings. I'm not sure if this was omitted because of a perceived redundancy with the Zombie Run book but it's a sub genre that would have given the companion a more complete feel.

As it stands this is a great book and a valuable addition to the Savage Worlds line.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Worlds Horror Companion
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment
by Craig D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/11/2011 12:45:10
If you want to run a horror adventure using the Savage Worlds system, this item is like a pile of golden coins in your coffer!

Every horror element is covered, with a host of new Edges and Hindrances that are perfect for this genre.

There is also a vast collection of gadgets and baneful beasties with which to torment the minds of your players.

Excellent setting rules are included for Doom and Dread, Sanity, Forbidden Lore, Rituals, Signs & Portents, Wards & Binds, and an extensive section on Magick that extends the basic Powers into the horror realms very effectively.

The latter portion of the book is filled with sage advice for the GM on all aspects of how to include horror in the narrative flow of a Savage Worlds game.

Buy it.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Worlds Horror Companion
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/01/2011 11:27:20
There is a lot of meat here (145 pages). There are new Hindrances and Edges for heroes (though a lot of the horror standards are in the main core book) There are even ways to make monsters into friends (to quote the late, great Joey Ramone) or rather to make monsters into Player Characters. I particularly like their Dhampyr and might yoink it for Unisystem. There are new weapons, not as extensive as the listings in some other games, but still fine, though if you wanted to do "Savage Ghostbusters" or even "Savage Blade the Vampire Hunter" then everything you need is here. There is an obligatory section on sanity. It is better than most, but I still don't like it (AGAIN that is more about me as a former QMHP than as a gamer). There is a good section about Rituals and one about Magick (with a k) that does much in strengthening what I have always perceived as SW's greatest weakness, it's magic system. Lots and lots of great monsters too, much more than I expected. So this is a huge plus. The book falls down a bit at the Game Mastering Section. But in it's defense what it does cover is perfectly suited to a Savage Worlds game. So SW Gamemasters can start here and then move out to other sources to get more info. All in all this was a good purchase.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Worlds Horror Companion
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/27/2011 00:21:53
WHAT WORKS: The updated Bestiary, the swell new powers and PC Monsters. Yes, it may not be your cup of tea, but I love-love-love-LOVE seeing that in here. The fortune telling rules also look great (and simple), as well as the ritual rules.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: The GM section is nothing special, and nothing we haven't read before. The cover is another cheesecake scantily clad cover like the other companions, which is kinda disappointing.

CONCLUSION: Probably my favorite companion thus far, as I felt like the Fantasy Companion kinda lost something from the Toolkits and I like Necessary Evil and its plot point campaign more than I like the Super Powers setting rules and slew of NPCs. This one, on the other hand, felt packed full of goodness and whatever it may have lost from the Toolkit PDFs, it more than made up for with better organization and the monster races. Best companion by far, in my book.

For my full review, please visit: http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2011/10/tommys-take-o-
n-savage-worlds-horror.html

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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