Imagine a world where instead of plain ole George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Marquis De Lafayette, you had superheroic battles across revolutionary war America. Well, now gamers, you have a chance to do just that in Legion of Liberty: Superheroes of 1776. To learn more about this Savage Worlds setting book, we reached out directly to Happy Monster Press and Josh Heath, our COO found out this awesome information from them.
First, tell us a bit about who you are and previous projects that folks might know you from.
Happy Monster Press is a collaboration between Joy and Scott Marchand Davis. Joy is a published science fiction, fantasy, and horror writer, and an RPG player. Scott is a game writer, with 25 years of experience as an RPG gamemaster. Our previous project, Children of the Apocalypse, is currently available on DriveThruRPG. https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/237254/Children-of-the-Apocalypse Happy Monster's goal is to produce fun, flexible, and inclusive RPG setting books, and our current focus is the Savage Worlds RPG system.
So, folks. why the Revolutionary War? What about the time period calls out for a supers game?
The American Revolution is a United States creation story, and superheroes are part of modern myth-making, so combining them made sense to us. We were also inspired by genre-mashing works such as Naomi Novik's Temeraire series, which is the Napoleonic Wars, but with dragons.
Ok, as a Son of the American Revolution the semi-historical nature of this setting is important to me. How much actual history of colonial America can we expect from the book?
Happy Monster games are intentionally written to provide gamemasters and players maximum flexibility, allowing gamers to focus on the tabletop battle aspects, to engage in both role-play and tabletop combat, or to focus more on role-playing, where players are empowered to create their own back story, play out personal goals, and explore the issues of the time as deeply as they wish. Another core value is to make games that are quick to start, welcoming to everyone, and easy to play. In the setting book, we include historical sidebars and links to online resources for anyone (gamemasters and players) who wants to dig more deeply into the issues surrounding key points of the campaign. We’ve included only enough history to get the ball rolling—we expect gamers to take the ball and run with it in whatever direction they prefer.
The background sections of the setting book, therefore, are mostly descriptive rather than prescriptive; the Plot Point Campaign is based on the course of the Revolutionary War, with key battles presented in sequence. However, we give the gamemaster some tools for altering the course of history, both to meet the needs/interests of the players, and to ensure the game doesn’t have the players plodding through battles they know they’ll win. For example, the heroes might lose the Battle of Trenton after Washington crosses the Delaware! In that case, Washington is captured by the British, and the next adventure in the Plot Point Campaign involves rescuing Washington from a prison ship off the coast of New York City!
The first adventure in the Plot Point Campaign is based on a historical event in Salem, MA (home of Happy Monster Press). A few months before the Battles of Concord and Lexington, a British detachment led by Colonel Leslie tried to confiscate some cannon from the Salem militia, leading to a standoff at the drawbridge to North Salem. Fighting nearly broke out, but a local parish minister negotiated a compromise, wherein Leslie would march 40 rods into North Salem, do an about-face and return to Boston without violence. This incident, known locally as Leslie's Retreat, almost started the war, and in the Legion of Liberty Plot Point Campaign it does start the war! However, gamers who want to play out the Revolution exactly as it did historically are encouraged to modify any element of the campaign to better suit their needs and interests. Flexibility is key to every Happy Monster Press setting book.
The British have their own squad of supers, The Greycoats. Can we play these characters? Sure, I might want to trounce Tories all day long, but it might be fun to swap sides in a story.
The Plot Point Campaign assumes that the players are on the side of the Patriots. If the funds raised in this Kickstarter greatly exceed our expectations, we could add a stretch goal to create a follow-up Peninsular Wars campaign, where our heroic Greycoats fight Napoleon’s elite force of superhumans! However, if gamemasters want to modify the Plot Point Campaign to allow Greycoat player characters, more power to them!
One of the areas that many stories of the era overlook is the importance of alliances with Native peoples in the Revolution and various conflicts prior to and after. How will you handle these with nuance and respect?
In the Revolution, according to standard history books, Native Americans mainly sided with the Crown, trusting that the British would honor their agreements with the Native peoples regarding land and settlement (and, for good reason, not trusting the colonists to do the same). One of our Savage Tales touches on the historical conflicts within the Iroquois Confederation; some members of the Confederation sided with friends among the Patriots, and others sided with the British. The players are tasked to convince the Oneida Nation to side with the colonists, and, in the adventure, the odds are stacked against the heroes, as they would have been historically.
So, High Level Games is a Canadian company, so sorry about that, so I’ll ask a question for our loyal fans from the North. Can we expect any elements of the setting to touch on the Canadian side of the conflict?
Absolutely! The invasion of Quebec is part of the Plot Point Campaign, which means the players can change history by capturing Quebec for the Patriots! (Sorry about that. We do encourage any enterprising Canadian gamemaster to revise any Savage Tale to play out however they want, though. Flexibility is key!)
For the Kickstarter, what reward level are you most excited for fans to jump on?
We're happy for backers at any level, but we were thrilled to see our first General of the Continental Army grant himself a field promotion on Day 2 of the campaign. This level is designed for anyone who wants to give their gaming group a live action experience. All Generals of the Continental Army will receive five signed hardcover copies and five PDF copies of the setting book, plus Scott and Joy of Happy Monster will run a custom game on Roll20 for the Backer and four friends.
Thank you very much for inviting us to talk about Legion of Liberty, and for asking such excellent questions about the game. We send everyone at High Level our gratitude for your effort and consideration. We hope that you and your community will check out our Kickstarter, and help us get over the finish line and beyond!
Scott and Joy – For the Revolution!
Find the Kickstarter Here!
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