Wednesday, August 12, 2009

GI Joe Action - Savage Worlds Style (Part 2)

All right, back to business.

The second game is from Daring Entertainment, who also do supplements for the Mutants and Masterminds RPG, which one of their products for the line, Dawn of Legends, already saw release in Savage Worlds. Their game is called G.E.T. Into Action and seems to effectively capture the spirit of the GI Joe cartoon. Even from the cover page, you can tell this is all about “Red and Blue Laser Action!” While we're on the subject, let's talk about the art and layout. While G.E.T. Into Action doesn't dress as professionally as Strike Force 7, it does feature a lot more artwork. Now the maps at the end of the book are not as well done as Strike Force 7, and the photos of real military vehicles, while they do give the players an excellent visual reference, look like someone went haywire with Microsoft Photo Editor. The character drawings, however, are great. They are consistently well done, they look (almost exactly, in some cases) like characters from GI Joe, and I have two words for the Scarlett look-alike on page 9: Nice ass!

Moving on, the book starts off with the history of G.E.T. (Global Elite Tactical) and the terrorist organization known as STORM. Basically, a Black Ops agent gets disenchanted with the bloody-handed methods he has to employ to keep America safe. Seeing dissent in the agent's eyes, his unit supposedly kills him.

Of course, he survives and sets up STORM to enact his “ultimate revenge.” Later on, it turns out that STORM is being used by these mechanical life forms from outer space as a front to destroy all of humanity...

Hold on, what? Mechanical life forms from outer space? Yes it turns out that a long dead alien race sent these robots to enslave the human race thousands of years ago. In retaliation to their masters, some of them, who called themselves “Eliminators” decided to kill all the humans as a first blow against the alien empire. Then there were those to decided to protect the humans and joined together as the “Guardiatrons.”

Okay, I know that GI Joe was hardly based in reality and had some pretty way out shit. I mean, Serpentor turned Cobra Commander into a snake, for fuck's sake. But, seriously, get your Transformers out of my GI Joe.

After the storyline, the book gets into character creation. First off is concept. Now instead of having your character assigned to a certain team, like in Strike Force 7, you just pick what type of soldier you want your character to be. Let's face it, GI Joe didn't have teams, it was just GI Joe. You could have a team made up of a sailor, a marine, an astronaut, and a ninja and call it good. G.E.T. Into Action keeps it simple and I like it that way. After taking you through getting your Attributes, Skills, and what not, it goes through this list of questions to help flesh out your character. The thing is there is this (fortunately) optional system where you draw cards from a poker deck to randomly pick what sort of personality, history, and outlook your character has, which takes up three pages. Now the book is a healthy 70 pages (this excludes the ads in the back of the book), but in my opinion, this is unnecessary filler.

Now, we're getting to the good stuff - the Edges. This is a definite strong point of the book. It offers a plethora of useful and interesting Edges. Actually, there's a reason why there's so many Edges. What they did was, with full permission, use some of the Edges from the upcoming Weird War II campaign that Pinnacle is releasing. This is not to say that these borrowed Edges are the only good ones in the game, but it does make a solid foundation for a meaty selection of benefits. What I really like are the new professional Edges, because they allow the character to become a specialist, as all the members of GI Joe were. For example, you could be a medic, a mechanical specialist, demolitions specialist, etc. The players portion of the book ends with some combat rules variants and a Rank/Promotion system.

The Game Master's section starts out with an overview of Global Elite Tactical and STORM, including stats for NPCs, vehicles, and (this is awesome) rules for creating your own headquarters and missions. It also does the same thing that Strike Force 7 did, and gives the GM hints on how to set the tone of the game, but this one actually tells you how to change the rules a bit to fit more in line with a cartoon type game (little to no deaths in combat, being able to bounce back from getting hurt, etc.). Following that is a lengthy mission and stats on some of the major characters in the game.

All in all, I like this game. It certainly captures the feel of the "Real American Heroes" and makes good use of the Savage World rules. If you are looking for a Savage Worlds version of GI Joe, this would be it.

While this is only the tip of the iceberg for military RPGs (even for Savage Worlds), I hope this has helped you make a better decision on what game you should buy for what kind of military game you're wanting to play, whether it's the Saturday Morning variety, a super-soldiers and psychics type game, or a gritty Tom Clancy-esque thriller. As they say, now you know.

And knowing is half the battle.

Kaiser out

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