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Olympian Breed: Act One $2.99
Average Rating:3.8 / 5
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Olympian Breed: Act One
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Olympian Breed: Act One
Publisher: Palewolf Publishing
by Daniel L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/14/2012 23:24:38
As with the OLYMPIAN BREED setting book, this has solid presentation and great art. Also as with the setting book, the background is a bit thin, and I think it could have done with some fleshing out. It's not much more than an adventure setup--you should be able to get a full night's gaming if you combine it with a character-gen session--but it's an intriguing one and I'm interested in seeing where it goes.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Olympian Breed: Act One
Publisher: Palewolf Publishing
by Marcus B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/14/2012 11:18:41
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:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Olympian Breed: Act One
Publisher: Palewolf Publishing
by David H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/05/2012 19:59:14
Disclaimer: The publisher contacted me directly to review their products, providing a complimentary copy.

1 Cover, 1 blank page (really? Why is page 7 blank of all text?), 5 pages of text. 7 pages total.

As are all Olympian Breed products, designed for Savage Worlds Explorer's Edition and the Super Powers Companion.

This is a good adventure set-up with some back-story at the beginning. This story provides information for the GM and can be used as a guide for what the PCs know about the state of affairs.
Summary: There's a big party to announce a royal engagement. Demonic party crashers arrive, kidnap the royal ladies, and try to slaughter some guests - time to be a hero. In the aftermath, a royal summons give the heroes an interview with an Oracle, who tells them where to go to rescue the ladies. The king promptly gives them a boat and a crew. Curtain Call.

Short, simple, and classic. If used in the same session as character creation, I can see this being a full night. However, on its own this Act should last about one hour. You could add another hour or two of interactions before and after the combat, but Savage Worlds combats are pretty short. Between the (heavily scripted) fight and the various interactions, this is a pretty slim "adventure".
Interestingly, the combat is against a bunch of creatures built with the core monster rules instead of the super power rules - they're good foes, and fine for a normal group of heroes, but might be too easy for the demigods that Olympian Breed focuses on.

Oddly, I wasn't sure when to "stop reading boxed text" and "roll initiative" (this is Savage Worlds, but Deal Initiative doesn't have quite the same impact). The writing flows so smoothly between the two that I wasn't sure, until afterwards, if I was supposed to run a combat or just tell the players that "Plot Happens". For the overall story, the player's actions in the combat don't matter - you can make them matter (and should) via NPCs rescued and the reactions of characters in the aftermath, but for the purposes of the story the entire fight scene could just be descriptive text.

Again, the graphics are grayscale (excluding the cover and one small map) and images are few, but skillful and useful.
Layers, for printing, would have been a nice addition. The parchment-effect background is attractive and evocative but will eat up some print cartridges.

Stats:
NPC stats are a bit buggy. The author leaves a lot of modifiers off of derived attributes (Parry scores ingoring edges and gear; Toughness that doesn't include armor), uses the wrong values for setting-equipment (the shield is supposed to be a +2 parry, but is repeatedly listed as +1), and everything has high Traits (d8s are typical, with a couple of d10s and only a handful of d6s). Which means that things will be interesting for the PCs when they have to throw down. Not unbeatable, especially for Demigods, but interesting.


Overall: 3.7
Good production values and nicely thought out; a solid first act. I'm genuinely curious to see where the story goes and what cool things the authors do with this.
However, this is basically just an opening couple of scenes, not a full adventure. I've seen more gaming packed into the free One Sheet Adventures on the Pinnacle website (www.peginc.com), or some of the fan-made freebies on their forums.
This product is nice, but not worth the $5 price, which is a shame because I enjoyed it enough to want to recommend buying it.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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