Thursday, January 18, 2018

Still Life and Death: A Review

Thanks to my friend Eric Lamoureux from the Nerds-International G+ community, this adventure was brought to my attention. It is an interesting horror adventure for use with Savage Worlds. Still Life and Death by Ben Baker from Melting Point Publishing is a 43-page pdf available on DriveThruRPG. It was released on June 14, 2017 and is their first product. Also available for pay what you want is a Character Pack which contains 8 pregenerated characters for both Seasoned and Veteran ranks.

Even though this one starts off with a typical "please help me find my missing loved one", it is a great adventure with a good twist. Inside you'll find an adventure full of cultists, zombies, and a pig-ogre. It's difficult to write a review on an adventure without spoilers but I'm gonna try.

This adventure is an investigative horror scenario with a Lovecraftian feel. It uses your normal playwright formula of three acts and three scenes with a bonus/alternate scene thrown in in act three. Included in the adventure are 5 extras and 4 wildcard NPCs. One of the things that sets these NPCs apart from other publisher's products is that Ben included what he calls Roleplay Hint's, Appearance, and History info on each one. This helps the GM get a feel for the characters so they can relate it to the players much better. It's clear he spent some time thinking about the characters and how they fit into the story.

Throughout the adventure Ben has included fictional snippets at the beginning of each scene. This kind of threw me off a bit and made me wonder why he included it, so I asked him and his response was "Regarding the Fiction sections, I think sometimes it can be difficult for a writer to really convey the mood and atmosphere they are trying to build in a game. Realistically, I’d say that however a GM wants to run any game then as long as the players enjoy it then it’s right for that particular group. But I wanted a way to help give the GM more ideas for the tone and setting, and also touch on some aspects of the larger setting that it’s not practical to do using only box text and the like. I think the Fiction parts help break up the flow of the book. Also, sometimes a group will find a way to really derail an adventure, and having some fiction to plunder for inspiration can really help a struggling GM to get the story back on track without railroading the party too heavily."

It's a bit long to be used as a convention game but I suppose you could shorten it up enough to fit into a four-hour time slot. I believe this is more suited for multiple game sessions. One thing I'm fairly certain of is that this has huge potential to be a Total Party Killer. There's potential for some combat in the first act but the next one is where the meat grinder starts with three combat encounters back to back. If the players make it to act three, they have their work cut out with another very deadly encounter that could turn into yet another encounter. You may want to run away if you get the chance!

Sometime this month or February, Ben is planning to launch a Kickstarter campaign to fund a number of other standalone adventures and supplements. One of which will be The Krell Effect, a modern adventure that draws the party into a race against time to stop a crazed scientist from unleashing chronal energy and tapping into them a seriously misguided attempt to become ‘the immortal master of time’. He also has plans to publish a mini encounter called Carjacked. This can be used with The Krell Effect or any other modern adventure.

The last project he told me about sounds like a huge job. Ben wants to publish a character pack for 22 Savage Worlds fantasy player characters. Included within this pack will be separate sheets for each character to span the ranks of Novice through Legendary. That’s a total of 132 character sheets! So keep an eye out for his Kickstarter campaign.

One last treat for my wonderful readers. The first 100 readers to use this link will get a 20% discount on Still Life and Death.

This barbarian would pay 4 out of 5 Jalarizan Moons for Still Life and Death.

I'd also like to welcome the newest member of the Nerds-International family. Gaming Ronin has multiple blogs where he does reviews and talks about his experience with RPG's and other shit. Check it out at

Dont forget to check out the Nerds-Internationl Virtual Convention (NIV-Con) on March 10th and 11th. It's a great way to meet new people and have a fun time gaming online.