Hard science fiction in Savage Worlds by a Savage Worlds freelancer? I had a chance to talk with Luis Enrique Torres about his Kickstarter for Seven Worlds. Luis talks about why this Savage Worlds setting from an official Savage Worlds Licensee is doing so well and why you’ll want to check it out!
EGG EMBRY – Luis, thanks for offering to answer my questions. You have a Kickstarter up for your game, Seven Worlds – realistic science-fiction for Savage Worlds, can you share what is the setting about?
LUIS ENRIQUE TORRES – Egg, thanks for inviting me to chat at your blog! Seven Worlds is a science-fiction campaign and setting for the Savage Worlds roleplaying game. It’s for players who want to play an epic galaxy-shattering story reminiscent of TV shows like The Expanse, Babylon 5 or Battlestar Galactica, with a healthy dose of gritty scientific realism.
And if you want to learn some fun and interesting scientific facts while you play, Seven Worlds is also for you!
EGG – You created this using the Savage Worlds ruleset, what makes this system right for your setting?
LUIS ENRIQUE TORRES – I always knew I wanted the game to be based on a mature and reliable RPG system. It’s so easy to fall into the “I can create my own RPG system” trap and forget how difficult it is to get the balance and probabilities right… and to keep the game fun! Savage Worlds (and other open systems, such as FATE) has already been play tested for years by a huge community of fans, and has proven to be robust and fun. So designing Seven Worlds on top of such a ruleset gives players and GMs the peace of mind that the system will work beautifully.
Also, before creating Seven Worlds I have been a Savage Worlds freelancer for several years, working on modules for Sundered Skies, Daring Tales of the Space Lanes, as well as conversions for Achtung! Cthulhu and others, so I felt using that expertise for this game would give players and GMs confidence in the quality of the final product.
EGG – Let’s talk about 3D maps of the stars. Your campaign offers 3D star maps, how do you use them at the gaming table to enhance the experience?
LUIS ENRIQUE TORRES – You know, space is three-dimensional and has no “up” or “down”, but a gamer surrounded by printed star maps of the kind provided by most space RPGs would be forgiven for forgetting that. As part of the goal of making Seven Worlds a unique, realistic experience for people who like their science, I thought it’d be cool to allow players and GMs to navigate space in 3D. So after modeling the universe of Seven Worlds (which, by the way, is using real official star maps, star names, star types and coordinates) I created a model that allows you to use a computer or tablet to “travel” in space.
The Seven Worlds 3-D star map uses a standard 3-D representation format called VRML, for which there are plug-ins and applications for many operating systems. The downloads page in the Seven Worlds web site contains not only the star map but also links to several popular VRML viewer applications.
One more thing about the star map: I have been careful to keep the 3-D star map a cool but optional part of the game. A perfectly-functional 2-D starmap is included in the main book and will very likely still be the most commonly used map for players and GMs.
EGG – Of the several Savage Worlds RPGs currently up on Kickstarter [some listed here], yours has drawn a number of backers and a healthy amount pledged so far. Do you have any thoughts on what makes Seven Worlds stand out?
LUIS ENRIQUE TORRES – First of all, I think the success of Seven Worlds is due to a group of amazing and dedicated backers, of course, and I am immensely grateful to them. Per my calculations, as of today the Seven Worlds Kickstarter is in the top-five most successful Savage Worlds Kickstarters of the last five years that have not been run by Pinnacle (who are the creators of Savage Worlds, after all)… and we’ve still got 21 days to go!
The launch of the Seven Worlds Kickstarter was preceded by several months of announcements and community-building, sharing details of the setting, tools, character sheets, and of course the Seven Worlds Test Drive. Plus, we quickly got some amazing reviews from specialized outlets and gamers, and a well-regarded recognition award for scientific accuracy. My hope is that backers felt that we were trying to do good by them and cramming as much value as possible into the final product.
EGG – When Russ Morrissey of EN World, the ENnie Awards, WOIN, and more asked what’s the best way to gauge how the pre-marketing for a crowdfunding was progressing, Owen KC Stephens (Design Lead for Starfinder) offered “I find downloads of free preview PDFs on DriveThru to be a pretty good predictor.” You have a single, free RPG product on RPGNow/DriveThruRPG, the Seven Worlds Test Drive. How did your test drive “track” for you before you launched your Kickstarter? How has it done since launching?
[EDITOR’S NOTE – Facebook conversations are wonderful for quotes.]
LUIS ENRIQUE TORRES – To be Frank, this is my first Kickstarter, so when I asked for feedback and advice, “get a test PDF onto DTRPG” was one of the first things I was told. And I agree with Russ, Owen and everyone else: Getting a taster of the product for free into people’s hands has been a great idea. In the first 24 hours we got more than 300 downloads, and currently we stand at just above 1,000 downloads so far. I find it humbling that so many people have shown interest in the game.
EGG – What’s been the reaction to the Seven Worlds Test Drive so far?
LUIS ENRIQUE TORRES – The reaction has been awesome! The Test Drive has been reviewed, just like a fully release product. I have fielded rules questions and deep explanations, some playtest comments, and even now you can find virtual tabletop games being run using Fantasy Grounds and the Test Drive.
EGG – In your opinion, what’s the best backer reward that you’re offering through this campaign?
LUIS ENRIQUE TORRES – Not to sound cliché, but “the best backer reward” is not the one I think is best, but the one that YOU think that’s best for you. I tried to keep things focused on my backers and reasoned that backers can either be players or GMs; and they can either like their books in digital (PDF) or printed book format. By that reasoning four very clear, backer-centric levels surface: Digital Player, Print Player, Digital GM and Print GM. So those are the backer rewards I created. Since there’s two books in the game I created a special tier for GMs who want to save costs by having the core book physical and the GM book digital. And that’s it! Judging from backer response I guess we made the right choice.
Regarding stretch goals, I hope the 1”-grid-scale battle maps are useful to as many people as possible. I can’t count the number of times I’ve needed a battle-map for a game, so I hope giving battle-maps helps players and GMs even if they don’t want to use them with Seven Worlds.
EGG – Tell us a little about you and what was the game that changed you into a gamer?
LUIS ENRIQUE TORRES – Sure! Like most of us I got started with one of the old D&D boxes in the 1980’s, and played until I finished high-school. After college I wanted to get back into gaming but found that the then-current D&D 3.5 required too much time investment, and as a new father I did not have the time. So I guess in that sense Savage Worlds made me a gamer again, by offering me a rules system I could quickly grasp and use, and that I could re-use no matter what type of game I’d like to play.
My day job is as a computer software architect. I guess being around technology and hearing about machine learning and artificial intelligence all day long played a part in creating the vision of future technology that is in Seven Worlds.
EGG – Why did you create your gaming company, Intellistories?
LUIS ENRIQUE TORRES – As the name implies, the push behind Intellistories was to create games that allowed you to live a deep, engaging, thought-provoking story. I believe that roleplaying games are the best medium for that, and thus plan to continue exploring it with other products via Intellistories.
EGG – What projects are you currently developing?
LUIS ENRIQUE TORRES – Right now I’m fully focused on Seven Worlds, making sure it launches successfully and then giving all backers the best product possible. After that, I have several ideas in the backburner. There have been requests for a translation of the game to other languages; I also deliberately left a couple of loose ends in the campaign, and I might try to explore them with new products for the line; finally, I am in the beginning stages of planning a set of novels based on the Seven Worlds setting. So stay tuned!
EGG – Any parting thoughts? Where can we find out more about Intellistories?
LUIS ENRIQUE TORRES – You can find more about Intellistories at http://www.intellistories.com and http://www.SevenWorldsRPG.com. Again, I’d like to thank you for allowing me to share all of this with you and your readers. And I’d like to invite your readers to support the Seven Worlds Kickstarter at http://Kickstarter.SevenWorldsRPG.com. There are still many stretch goals to be unlocked on the way to our main target: A full print run of Seven Worlds, which will allow hundreds or thousands of fans to get the game at their favorite store! Thanks to you and to your readers for supporting Seven Worlds!
You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.
* * * * * *
* * * * * *
Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™
* * * * * *
Egg Embry wrote comic book short stories, edited comic book series, wrote and drew a webcomic, and contributed to comic book journalism across the 2000s. Now, he buys the opportunity to write for a variety of tabletop role-playing games in the tradition of vanity press. His purchases have been published by:
- Sasquatch Game Studio’s Primeval Thule for 5e available at DriveThruRPG.com – Writer
- Ember Design Studios’ Yrisa’s Nightmare for 5e and Pathfinder available at DriveThurRPG.com – Writer
- Ember Design Studios’ Rats in the Street for 5e and Pathfinder available at DriveThurRPG.com – Writer & Artist
- Kobold Press’ Tome of Beasts for 5e available at KoboldPress.com – Playtester
- Kobold Press’ Deep Magic 9: Ring Magic (5e) available at KoboldPress.com – Playtester
- EN World’ Gaming at the Kids’ Table Column – Journalist
- Total Party Kill Games’ Slaughter at Splinterfang Gorge – Writer
- Total Party Kill Games’ Fifth Edition Fighter Folio – Writer
- Codex The Gauntlet’s Monthly RPG Zine – Writer
- MidCity Comics’ Soon-to-be-Announced Comic Book Mini-Series – Writer