Designer’s Diary: Savage Mojo – Caladon Falls (Savage Worlds)

Suzerain: Caladon Falls
Caladon Falls is a complete plot-point setting for Savage Worlds within the Suzerain world and published by Savage Mojo.
By Vickey A. Beaver

Welcome to the thirteenth Designer’s Diary, a regular column where designers are given the opportunity to take readers on an in-depth ride through the design and development process of their system, setting, or product.

Designer’s Description
Caladon Falls is an exercise in transition. The premise is that everyday people in a fairly peaceful society are plunged into an unexpected war. Their choices are few: fight, flee, turn, or die. The opponent came from nowhere the citizens knew and is wielding godlike powers. Sure, there are soldiers and even mercenaries about. But that doesn’t mean the PCs were either of those.

Caladon Falls is set in Relic, the fantasy realm of the Suzerain universe. Long before we were doing anything with Savage Worlds rules, we’d established Relic’s history. After deciding we wanted to Savage our own setting, providing something gritty and full of action that could be played out in a variety of ways – political, societal, small-scale – just seemed the way to go.

There were several people involved in the project. Early on, I looked to some of the plot points already released for Savage Worlds. As the writing moved through the team, each person used their experiences as gamers and writers to flavor it.

I did some research on how battle themes had been handled in Savage Worlds and other RPGs. We also looked at the historical framework for ancient Roman and English political structures, as well as how Australia looks now and what it’d likely look like thousands of years later with some violent geological changes. Our continent, Austra, is loosely based on that evolution.

Art Direction
It was important to us that the images represented the various cultural aspects that the book presents. There are the armed and armored soldiers, as well as nobles and laymen. You see some of the creatures brought forth by the Wild, the word used to informally describe the invading enemy. Just looking through the section about the ruling houses gives you a lot of flavor for the setting. We’re fortunate to have many talented freelancers, including Jason Engle.

Gaming Experience
Caladon Falls is meant to give you a sort of “Band of Brothers” feel. Whether your table goes with having had the PCs being established soldiers or common folk turned fighters, they’re in it for their lives, their families, their country.

Like most Savage Worlds products, it gives you that fast, fun, and furious play mode many of us have come to expect from Pinnacle and fellow licensees. While conflict is a part of any game, Caladon Falls puts the characters in a war. They’re not somewhere out on the sidelines, wondering how this might all affect them. They’re an active part of whatever destiny they might have.

Development Process
Caladon Falls was in development for over a year. We started with a small team (Steve Dean, Kevin Ranson, and me) to lay a lot of ground work, hash out how what we were doing was going to line-up with already developed and published material for a couple hundred years later in the same setting, but for our original system. That group did a lot to figure out how the politics would work and what Caladon’s history was. Under Aaron Acevedo’s leadership, and with his Pinnacle experience, the next team (Aaron Acevedo and Curtis and Sarah Lyon) took that material, compared it to their experiences with Savage Worlds and Savage Suzerain products we’d already released, and redrafted it with new material that rounded out and expanded what had already been started. They also altered the first draft to bring it in line with the feel of the rest of the Savage Suzerain line. While that team was busy, Aaron brought in some well-known people in the RPG industry to provide some supplemental contributions. We were honored to have Phil Brucato and John Wick lend their talents to the work.

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