Coventry – A fan-made Savage Worlds Setting

Continually I do see some discussion or a person pondering writing up a fan-made setting, when someone will aptly point out there are already some excellent ones available. As someone mentioned over in the G+ Savage Worlds community there seems to be a lack of reviews and/or awareness that these great fan-made settings are out in the wild. I could mention some great sites that culminate a lot of different fan-made Savage Worlds content. However I think it worthwhile to spend a little time highlighting some particularly good ones that folks have written up.

Borderlands is a popular video game and quite frequently I see in my blog and social feeds about some wanting to visit that as a setting, and continually I point to John Robey’s Coventry. It’s a fantastic job at taking a stab at the Borderlands setting all the while adding some more flavor to make it stand apart.

In a nutshell, Coventry is a planet rich in a resource commonly referred to as Indigo. It’s an immense power source that is exceedingly rare and seems to be abundant on the quarantined world of Coventry. The planet is spoils of a sprawling interstellar war where a terran corporation, Indicorp, took control of the planet. Control is a very loose word though, as their presence is maintained only as large ships and satellite bases in high orbit over the planet.

Coventry has become a prison planet. It is typically a one way trip. Players might be able to garner enough favor with Indicorp to gain a pardon, but most enter into a 25 year contract of indentured servitude. Not all the human residents maintain an allegiance with Indicorp, and there are a few independent settlements on the planet. Unfortunately, they are stuck there as any attempts to launch a craft are thwarted by the defense net of Indicorp in high orbit. It’s like a space version Escape from New York and I love it.

Add to that weirdness, humans were not the only races that settled on Coventry. Rakashan (cat-like predator species) and Avion (winged humanoid lizard beings) also were early colonists that ended up being stuck on Coventry due to the war. Most have adopted to life on the planet and have decent relations to humans provided they keep to their borders, but among each other things are rather strained (seems Rakashan find Avions rather delicious). Add to this eccentric mix the mysterious fungal Mi-Go. The Mi-Go are truly space-traveling aliens modeled after the Cthulhu mythos. They are otherworldly and have their own unknown purpose and agendas.

Players can select any of these races, along with sentient robots, and all are fleshed out rather well. To jump start the character generation process, there are several pre-made archetypes that model the Borderlands characters, as well as incorporate some of the new races.

Like the video game, guns and gear are significant part of the setting. There are a few options for weapons and included are various types of ammunition for each, allowing for a lot of fun tricking out of firearms. Another interesting bit of protective equipment are personal shields.

These shields add a die type to your toughness and each hit reduces the shield defense by one step. Every turn the shield will recharge up a step to it’s maximum defense die. So you’ve got this constant yo-yo defensive boon that ebbs and flows as players are hit. Given that the standard damage for most firearms are 2d8, the PCs need some sort of protection as the game can be rather lethal. It’s a very clever system that matches the Borderlands gameplay pretty well.

Another key part of the game is transmat technology. This is a type of teleporter technology with a wrinkle, an object can be stored as digital data and retrieved remotely. This has led to GotJFree tech. Basically players can have a unit that monitors their lifesigns and upon termination, can store the user’s biological data for a limited time until it is derezzed later. In effect it’s a limited type of immortality (provided the GotJFree unit isn’t vaporized along with its wearer). Different types of units allow for longer storage times, as well as automatic pattern data transmission to central locations. I love it. It’s like a respawn system.

Some people might be put off by the shields and derezz technology, trivializing the lethality of the game. I actually feel that is part of the charm of the setting. It encourages a lot of balls-out crazy behavior as aside from bennies, players have a lot of means to effectively get a do-over. And this works, as the world itself is supposed to be a bit mad. Indigo warps the wildlife, the landscape, and people that are around it too long tend to go a little bonkers.

Some more comments about the setting rules, they are presented in a colorful manner and are professionally done. There are well-written tables, a broad atlas of the world, along with an index of lingo and terminology. What I particularly like is there aren’t tons and tons of new rules, edges, and hindrances. It’s all done very sparingly but at the same time offers something new. Coventry offers a fresh setting, with a wonderful take on the Borderlands world. Give it a try and at the very least, give it a look. There is a lot of interesting ideas and material that can be mined for your own game.

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