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Olympian Breed - Setting Primer & Character Creation Guide $4.99 $0.00
Average Rating:4.1 / 5
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Olympian Breed - Setting Primer & Character Creation Guide
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Olympian Breed - Setting Primer & Character Creation Guide
Publisher: Palewolf Publishing
by Erica B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/24/2012 15:42:23
I’ll start this review by first saying what Olympian Breed is not. It’s not a complete mythic Greece setting for Savage Worlds. Rather, Olympian Breed is a series of short adventures that are set in mythic Greece. You don’t have to be a scholar of ancient Greece to use these adventures, however. Everything you really need to know about the setting is contained in the free Primer and the adventures themselves, from maps to pertinent background information to game stats.

Olympian Breed is a licensed PDF product for Savage Worlds, requires at least the Savage Worlds rules and the Super Powers Companion (SPC) to play. The versatility of the SPC lets you build characters from the mighty Heracles to the sly and cunning Odysseus, depending on where you put your points. The free Primer gives a general overview of mythic Greece and explains the new Blessing of the Gods AB. It also provides a new major hindrance: Destiny. Basically that hindrance means that bad things will come your way because you’re blessed by the gods. Your life will never be ‘normal.’ The Primer goes on to gives some specifics about the weapons and armor of the day, and rounds out with a series of questions to help a player come up with a character background, and a character sheet. The other free document contains four sample Seasoned characters: Alastor a son of Zeus, Straton a son of Ares, Ayranae a daughter of Poseidon, and Seraphine a daughter of Apollo.

As for the adventure itself, it is a rescue mission. The crown princess of the city of Argos is kidnapped, and heroes from across Greece (the player-characters, of course) must face their destiny and rescue her. Like many of the Greek heroes, they venture forth with a small band of sailors and a sturdy ship and go island-hopping in the Aegean Sea. Also like the heroes of myth, the heroes of Olympian Breed encounter some difficulty on every island they visit.

I only have the two free PDFs and the first two adventures (of a proposed six). Each adventure is fairly short, about five pages each, and contain role-playing and combat encounters equally. So far the encounters seem to be well-balanced for Seasoned heroes, but there’s one encounter where the characters really need to pull together and use their wits as well as their powers if they hope to succeed. Each adventure has interesting little touches that help bring home the feeling of mythic Greece. If you pray to a particular god at a particular time, your character could get a benefit that would help them in the following encounter. The PDFs provide enough information to run the encounters and doesn’t bog you down with details that won’t be pertinent to the adventure as a whole.

With my editing eye, I spotted a few typos here and there, but there’s nothing game-breaking about them. The only one that might cause some confusion regards the new Destiny hindrance. All of the sample characters have the Destiny hindrance in addition to the usual one major and two minor hindrances, so it’s apparent that it’s an extra required hindrance for all characters with the Blessing of the Gods AB. That is hinted at in the Primer that introduces the new hindrance, but it’s not explicitly stated to be the case.

From what I’ve seen of it so far, Olympian Breed would be a fun one-shot campaign and would take only a few sessions to complete. If you’re nostalgic for the old films featuring Ray Harryhausen’s stop-motion animation, or just want to run a mythic story in a familiar setting, you’ll probably enjoy Olympian Breed.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Olympian Breed - Setting Primer & Character Creation Guide
Publisher: Palewolf Publishing
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/18/2012 01:24:00
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: The first release by new Savage Worlds licensee Palewolf Publishing is a the basic character generation primer for their new line of Greek Myth-themed adventures. The PCs are Demigods - spawn of mortals and Gods - and so have an extra edge on the rest of the world. Olympian Breed uses the Super Powers Companion (with a modified Edge that lowers the amount of points available to spend, reducing the power level hat your standard Super Powers Companion game is going to have). The primer also includes a Hindrance for those watched closely by the Gods, as well as a map of ancient Greece, some setting-appropriate equipment and a character sheet.

WHAT WORKS: The big hook for me is the use of the Super Powers Companion combined with the Greek myth hook...two things I love very much. That, and it's free.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: Well, there's just not a ton of material here, mostly a few pieces of equipment, as well as the new Edge and Hindrance. It's also at least a three product buy-in to really get rolling, as you need the Savage Worlds rules, the Supers Companion and the first adventure. The primer also says you would need the Fantasy Companion, but other information I have received indicates that's not necessarily the case.

CONCLUSION: They've hooked me into checking out at least Act One to see what it's like, with the "Greek Myth plus Super Powers Companion" hook. I'm a sucker for new fiddly bits, so I would have certainly enjoyed more Edges and Hindrances and so on, especially since there is no setting book available, just a series of adventures. You can also check out the Olympian Breed pre-gen freebie file to get a feel for the kinds of characters that "fit" the setting.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Olympian Breed - Setting Primer & Character Creation Guide
Publisher: Palewolf Publishing
by Daniel L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/14/2012 23:16:59
Nice brief introduction to the setting, good production values, BEAUTIFUL map of the region. My one complaint is that it's a bit thin on background--but, more than likely, if you're considering running a game set in Greek legendry to begin with, you're already familiar with the source material. Overall, if you're interested in running or playing something in this milieu--whether it sticks faithfully to Homer or plays a bit more fast and loose a la CLASH OF THE TITANS--this could be what you're looking for.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Olympian Breed - Setting Primer & Character Creation Guide
Publisher: Palewolf Publishing
by Marcus B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/14/2012 16:40:48
From my blog http://www.chaotic-gm.com

Olympian Breed Is a new product from Palewolf Publising. This is a dual release with the first , free, PDF focusing on the characters and the second PDF containing the first adventure in an ongoing. What is it about? As the name suggest the story is set in ancient times. To quote from their website:

“These adventures take place in the age of heroes before Homer’s Iliad and the Odyssey. You are transported to a fantastic era when demigods roamed the world slaying horrifying titans and fulfilling ominous prophecies. Within these tales, you explore all the classic themes that are so prevalent in Greek mythology such as, heroism, faith, love, tragedy, generosity, and sacrifice. This is an age of myth, before the beginning of recorded Greek history, where great heroes clashed against the darkest of terrors. Throughout the game, the players fight to overcome their own human trappings and prove to be more than just mere mortals. They also discover that their Godly parents are far more human than they were lead to believe.”

It is written for the Explorer Edition of the rules and requires the Fantasy Companion for the Monsters and the Supers Powers Companion for the characters. Compatibility to the Savage Worlds Deluxe rules is not a problem but I wish they would have specifically referenced the latest edition of the rules or at least acknowledged them.
The Looks

The PDF´s are professionally designed and the production value is good throughout. The artwork fits and is not overburdening the presentation. It is just enough to start your imagination. There is nothing extraordinary springing to mind but it all fits well together and the PDF is pleasing on the eyes. They are not bookmarked in any way but due to the small page count that is not much of an issue.
The Contents
Olympian Breed - Setting & Character Creation Guide

The Setting guide is available for free from DrivethruRPG. It has a total of eight pages. One Page is the Cover, one page is a map of antique Greece and 2 Pages for the character sheet. So the real content is more like three and a half pages as about half the space of one page is taken up by an art piece.

The first page gives a short introduction into the era, the characters and the area. This description is very short and contains no specifics and only short references to places and people. If you are not too familiar with greek lore you need to visit the local library or do some further Internet research to really build a world to play in.

The Historic Map is nice to look at and shows you the area around Greece. It is an antique real world map and as such has no references to Mythical Greece. I am no scholar and would put it in the 1800 maybe? It also seems color coded but there is no explanation of the colors anywhere.

Character Creation section basically tells you to use the Super Powers companion to build your characters and replaces the Super Powers Edge with a new one that has some extra flavor added for the setting but essentially works similar. Besides this change there are no new edges and only one new Major Hindrance, “Destiny” which is exactly what it says.
Next up is a short equipment list of three weapons and five armor pieces. The weapons: Dory Spear, Trident and Xiphos “Short Sword” are iconic for the age and a good addition to the basic armory from the Explorers Edition. Same for the armor, the Aspis Shield is a staple of the time as is the Thracian Helmet or a Sculpted Leather or Bronze Armor. They are mostly illustrated and all have a short description.

The last page is referring to character backgrounds and is a list of eleven question to ask your players about their characters. Nothing extraordinary but gives some direction for the characters fitting the era of ancient heroes and puts them on a path.

And finally the character sheet takes up the last two pages. It looks good and has enough space for all your character information needs.
Olympian Breed: Act One

The first adventure for Olympian Breed is available for 4,99 $ at DrivethruRPG. From the seven page PDF one page is the cover and the last Page is left blank.

The used artwork is serviceable but seems a step down from the works used in the Character Creation guide.

I will not go into details of the story to not spoil anything. The adventure is more of an encounter. It consists of a short introduction to the area, some important NPCs, a fight and a send off. There are no plans for any of the areas nor are there any paper miniatures for any of the monsters. The stat blocks contain all necessary information to run this event. There is a nice sidebar explaining what needs to happen during the encounter. This is a good idea as it keeps the GM focused on the tasks that need to be accomplished for the story, even if it is not really complex in this case.

Overall the offering is a bit meager as the background is described but not in any detail. Why are the characters there? What do they do? There is a table for rumors but there is no mention anywhere that the players actually have a reason or place to look for them or why they would. There is a lot of world building left to the GM to flesh out the area and make an adventure out of these pages.
Conclusion

As you may be able to tell already I am overall disappointed in these PDF. The character guide is free so the value of that PDF is good. It seems more like well represented notes to get you started to create your own ancient setting then a real setting guide however.

The Adventure however is another matter. Story and content wise I am left with the feeling this is basically a blown up one sheet with some added flavor and background sold for the price of a full adventure. I hate to write something negative but this PDF is overpriced for the content delivered. There are many other adventure PDF out there that cost one or two dollars more but have ten times the content including maps and some even paper miniatures. As it is I can not recommend this adventure to anyone unless you specifically look for a short encounter set in ancient Greece.

[EDIT] With the change in Price to 2,99 I have amended my scoring. The Price is more reasonable for what is delivered now too. Still a bit short on the content but a bit easier to forgive as the production values are good and the writing excellent.[/EDIT]

They already announced the next part in the adventure series and I hope they will improve on the base they have laid. The writing is great and the context is given in an easy to digest format. I get the feeling the writer knows his mythology very well. I wish Palewolf Publishing the best for the future and will continue to keep an eye on their releases as the writing hints at great things to come.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Olympian Breed - Setting Primer & Character Creation Guide
Publisher: Palewolf Publishing
by David H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/05/2012 19:34:35
Disclaimer 1: The publisher contacted me directly to review their products.
Disclaimer 2: I automatically upgrade my ratings for Free products (which this was when I reviewed it; hopefully it stays that way).

Content:
1 Cover, 2 Character sheet, 5 pages of text. 8 pages total.

For the SWEX rules (Savage Worlds Explorer's Edition), plus Super Powers Companion, instead of the current Core Rules (Deluxe Edition). That doesn't matter much, since PCs don't have to worry about the Guts skill, and removing that was arguably the biggest change in character creation between the editions.

Solid opening text. It references classic mythology without going into details or explanation. If you're reading this product then you probably already know about Greek mythology; if you don't then this will leave you confused. My complaint is that there are no references or recommended readings, at all, so people wanting to do some research for the style and tone of the game are completely on their own.

Good character-background questions section. Eleven questions to help generate character backgrounds, some of which I ask for all of my Savage games (because they help when choosing Hindrances).

Graphics are skimpy and mostly simple black & white, but very fitting and useful. The map of ancient Greece is probably better than what actual Greeks had, is sepia with color 'national' borders, and makes the land appear much more settled and orderly than was probably the case (and certainly moreso than the mythic Greece I'm familiar with would indicate). The map is also a page-stopper, and pulls me in ever time I see it; worth picking up the book just for that map.

Totally missing:
It could have used some good guidance on the style and tone typical for the setting (AGON had this in spades). However, the presentation leaves it up to each group what style and tone of Greece they play in (which AGON totally lacked), and freedom to play what you enjoy is a good thing.
Economic discussion. The character sheet talks about coins of various metals, but everything else is in dollars.

Crunchy Bits:
Super Powers Companion required. Very low power (Minor Leaguers: 6 pp, 3 per Power Points edge). There's a custom edge that replaces Arcane Background: Supers, lets you ignore the Guts skill, and gives characters a vague and plot-heavy 'mystic sight'.
Destiny hindrance could be renamed "Player Character" for all that it adds to the game. "Your life is marked with great challenges, strife, and peril," is all the downside the (major) hindrance enumerates. It's either a "no drawback" hindrance for those that don't want to role play, or an open invitation for the GM to do whatever evil, cruel, vicious, or mean things to your character that his black little heart desires. I can't tell which is the intention, and I GM a lot of Savage Worlds games. Maybe this is just supposed to be the Super Karma hindrance, taken to get extra power points?
No restriction or guidance on power choices. You can very easily play Achilles - immune to mortal weapons and therefore the scariest warrior alive (i.e. take the Armor power with the Heavy Armor modifier, making you immune to non-heavy weapons; if it's not a catapult or a divine weapon then you don't care).

Character Sheet:
Simple, clean, and fitting. Not too bad to print, all in grayscale. The first page gives a lot of room for the basics of the character and the second has plenty of room for advances (20 of them), a block for allies, and some usable notes space.


Overall:
The map alone makes me glad I grabbed this; it's gorgeous, in an austere sort of way. Add in the character sheet and I'm pretty pleased. The setting might pique your interest, though I wanted to see what they actually did with it (see Act One). An otherwise average hasty introduction to the setting, and for free it is definitely worth checking out. And decent character sheets are always worth finding.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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