Review: Judgment Day
Publisher: Mystical Throne Entertainment
Like Mercenary Breed (which I reviewed here), Judgment Day is a mini setting for Savage Worlds. The book presents a variety of additional rules inspired by the Catholic Inquisition. It uses the basic structure of the Inquisition in much the same way that core Savage Worlds handles spells. Specifically, the underlying organizational structure is fairly universal and it becomes a matter of using the appropriate trappings to produce the desired game. The idea here is that there is a central governing body which has appointed a Grand Inquisitor, who in turns oversees the foot soldiers of the movement (the pc’s) in rooting out whatever evil the governing body finds most repulsive and or dangerous.
This basic setup covers a wide range of possible game types. For example, the GM may run a traditional Inquisition type game where the pc’s are representatives of the church who are tasked with finding and destroying witches, vampires, ghosts, etc. Alternately, one might run a game in the far future where the pc’s are tasked with finding and destroying hostile aliens in a setting that resembles a Warhammer 40k type game. There is a lot of common DNA here with games like Solomon Kane and Rippers as well. While I was reading through the book it occurred to me that it would even be fairly easy to use the rules to create a BPRD like organization from Mike Mignola’s Hellboy universe and superimpose that worlds trappings over the framework presented in Judgment Day. The only real restriction imposed in the book is that the pc’s cannot be what they are hunting (so no witch pc’s hunting witches). This is an easy to circumvent restriction though and one that I find interesting given that the Dhampir race presented in the Savage Insider Premium Issue 1 specifically discusses half vampires that hunt Vampires. The implications of that inspire me and I can see running a fairly interesting game where the church is unknowingly using monsters to hunt monsters or several other variations.
In addition to the rules for integrating an Inquisitorial organization into most any game or genre, there is a setting provided by the writer Aaron T. Huss. The setting is pretty light and is placed in a modern time line covering events in and around the Great Lakes in the U.S. While reading through the campaign provided I was immediately picturing Jim Butcher’s Dresden books- especially given that the characters are based in Chicago much like Butcher’s electronically challenged wizard protagonist.
Overall Judgment Day is a well put together book. The bestiary section was a little disappointing given that the book specifically mentions monsters like werewolves and were-tigers early on and then doesn’t include stats for them in the book. They can be found in other Savage Worlds products but including them would have made it feel complete. Also, as I have mentioned in previous reviews of MTE products, I wish there were maps. Having said that, these mini settings are very favorably priced and satisfy their intended goal. Furthermore, MTE has plans for additional support through future releases of Savage Insider, and has already made good on that promise with the wealth of material offered for Mercenary Breed in Savage Insider Premium Issue 1. This is a fun product and even if you aren’t going to use it exactly as presented, there is plenty to read for inspiration.