Review: Intellistories – Seven Worlds (Savage Worlds)

Seven Worlds
Seven Worlds is a sci-fi/hard sci-fi campaign setting for Savage Worlds, written by Luis Enrique Torres and published by Intellistories.
By Aaron T. Huss

Learn more about Seven Worlds here
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Seven Worlds is the newest sci-fi campaign setting for Savage Worlds. However, unlike those currently available, Seven Worlds is grounded more in science than in fiction creating a setting closer to hard sci-fi (although it’s not completely). According to the author, and from the content that I reviewed, the setting is designed as a campaign storyline with a setting rather than a setting where you can place a campaign storyline. This is much more common in standalone games than it is with campaign settings (for games such as Savage Worlds), and results in an in-depth timeline that leads up to the campaign storyline. Effectively, this Setting Guide book provides that historical timeline, presents the setting where the campaign storyline takes place, and then presents all the mechanics for creating characters and playing the setting (such as a bestiary). The end result is a fleshed-out setting ready for its corresponding campaign and a wealth of sci-fi that seems much more plausible than most sci-fi.

The Seven Worlds Setting Guide contains everything you need to play in the Seven Worlds setting except for the actual accompanying campaign storyline. It includes the historical timeline of the setting, how to create characters, PC gear, information on psionics, rules for space, GM content, and a bestiary. I rather enjoyed the historical timeline and not only like how detailed it is but also how not-far-out it is. For this particular sci-fi setting, all characters are humans, but there are a wealth of new Edges and Hindrances to choose from. Although they are all humans, they get a background based on where they come from (i.e. one of the seven worlds). For weapons, however, the designers stayed clear of the military sci-fi style and kept with something more reasonable. This actually fits in quite well with the flavor of the setting. Psionics is the only Arcane Background available, so there are additional options for characters who choose this path.

From here, the book includes a wealth of setting rules designed around space travel and what it means to step foot onto other planets. This is another section I rather enjoy as it really brings out the flavor of the setting and sticks to the almost-hard sci-fi theme. Spaceships are covered in the GM section as are the ins and outs of what the GM can expect when running the campaign. It even includes a sample adventure.

The Setting Guide then moves to the Bestiary, my absolute least favorite part of this book. Every single page up to where the bestiary begins is all about this plausible sci-fi that has many hard sci-fi elements, but isn’t 100% hard sci-fi. However, the bestiary is riddled with very fantasy-like adversaries; a problem I also had with the Sci-Fi companion book from PEG. Oh well; there are plenty of non-fantasy-like adversaries in there as well and the GM has plenty of options to use. To me, however, those particular adversaries completely break the cohesiveness of the setting as they don’t feel like the theme the rest of the setting is portraying.

The Setting Guide ends with an appendix of “Facts and Info for Hard SF Gamers”. Yeah, it’s cool; especially for those of us who like science and love to incorporate realism into a sci-fi game. Most of it is links on where the information can be found, but that’s a lot of research completed to point GMs in the right direction.

All in all, I really like this setting and its potential. I’m not sure where it will go beyond the campaign storyline, but I’m sure Intellistories will think of something.

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