A couple weeks back, I made the trek down to Rutland for a friend’s Weird Wars one-shot. While not my first foray into “historical event plus supernatural or otherwise bizarre oddities” — perhaps the most notable being Crashing a Conference at Wewelsburg at TotalCon in February — this was my first outing with Savage Worlds, which, quite frankly, I was not psyched about. Savage Worlds is one of those systems for which some people really drink the Kool-Aid, particularly over at RPG.net: “Bloo bloo bloo, fast, furious and fun, bloo bloo bloo.” I found it difficult to believe any generic, multipurpose system could be so amazingly better than any other without a heaping helping of personal taste to shift the bias — and still do. Having now gotten two play sessions under my belt, I’ve got no complaints about Savage Worlds, but I don’t buy it’s so exceptionally better or faster than any other generic system of comparable complexity, a la Unisystem.
The set up for game cast the players as the only members of an airborne infantry platoon that actually landed where they meant to after parachuting into occupied France in World War II. At first, there was much fun with missing leg bags, questions over which of the available characters we’d chosen had useful items, like a map or a compass, and the timely arrival of a German patrol. The GM’s love for Band of Brothers really shone through here.
It was a very light, off the cuff evening, with forays into the extreme silliness that role-playing games engender so well. After seeing Nazis snarfled by a troll living under the village bridge, we got the low-down on the story from Madame d’Exposition, elderly keeper of tidbits useful to motley gaggles of itinerant adventurers: troll wakes up periodically; troll peckish for goats; once troll gets goats, it goes back into hibernation. A quick trip out to a local farm yielded the two worst goats twenty American dollars can buy in wartorn France: Herve and Rupaul. They sated the troll, but not before we got in some more Nazi-bashing. My mechanical engineer from Brooklyn got a solid eight to his body count, mainly by playing Bowling for Nazis with grenades. Simple and very straightforward, but immensely entertaining along the way, thanks to everyone having a good sense of humor about them.
I’ll leave you with a bon mot that came up in play as the bruiser of the group attempted to drag two goats to their resting place in the troll’s digestive tract: “Caber tossing‘s for pussies. They don’t kick!”