What happens when you combine the unique and character driven mechanics of Savage Worlds with a kid centered setting? You get Friends of Wildstone Town.
Right from the first page it bills itself as a “cartoonish” take on the Savage Worlds system, where the children of a quiet idyllic little town deal with strange happenings and fantastical adventures. Of course, just like with the Kids on Bikes games, you don’t need to be a kid to transport your mind back to the days of being one.
Most characters in Wildstone will be twelve to sixteen years old, but the setting is open to transformed animal shapeshifters, and adventurous senior citizens. Y’know, whoever the busiest and most business minded adult in town are going to want to listen to the least. There are fifteen archetypes ranging from artist to farm kid to exchange student to diva to horse-lover (that’s right, you can be a horse girl), as well as the regular assortment of edges, hindrances and skills you would expect from a Savage Worlds game. If you aren’t familiar with these, I had mentioned them in my spotlight of the greater Savage Worlds system, but in short edges are small boons your character can have, hindrances are little things that can inconvenience them, and skills are skills. You play tabletop RPGs, you’re familiar with skills. There are a few edges and hindrances that are added to this particular setting, tailor made for a game focusing around children such as obligations to school and being the small kid in the group or being the rich friend.
Aside from these setting-specific additions, the rules of the game are by and large the same. Skills are arranged from a d4 to a d12 with a larger die representing a better chance of rolling a number high enough to succeed. A character will have specific abilities that will give them boots to some of their rolls, and the standard difficulty for most rolls if 4. Your more basic rollable tasks completely reasonable and doable in most circumstances, but there is still a decent chance of failure even for the most experienced player – after all, even on a d12 you have a 25% of coming up under a 4.
All in all this is a setting that, simply put, made me smile from eat to eat to read. It’s a Savage Worlds game, yes, but it’s a more kitschy and cartoony version. Wildstone is a game that reminds me a little of Kids on Bikes and my favorite aspects of the Powered by the Apocalypse games while being a completely different system and entirely its own thing. The combination of precocious kids, small town mysteries, animal companionship, and magic makes me feel nostalgia for a series that I can’t quite place that’s probably just a combination of all of my childhood favorites.
If you’re interested in making friends in Wildstone Town, it is officially available today and you can find it and a bunch of other settings by the same team on their DriveThru RPG store.
Will you be playing Friends of Wildstone Town? Do nostalgic games that let you jump back into your childhood appeal to you? Which kid archetype would you want to be? Let us know in the comments!