This Favored Land is a Wild Talents sourcebook that presents the U.S. Civil War as a setting for superhero action. This is superhero action of the Wild Talents and Godlike variety, however: No funny costumes, but plenty of chances to bleed out or have an arm amputated to save you from gangrene. For some reason, a lot of superhero gamers frown on a game where their heroes might lose limbs from infected wounds. If you’re like me, and you think that’s exactly the kind of twist that makes superheroic action interesting, then This Favored Land is for you.
As I’ve said in interviews, my Arc Dream partner Dennis and I were actually a little dubious when Allan Goodall first pitched the book. We’d known Allan for years as a die-hard Delta Green booster, but we worried that the Civil War just wouldn’t have enough traction to be worth a setting book. The Wild West, maybe; people love their gunslingers and Men With No Names. But the Civil War seemed like it would be too static, or something, to make a viable setting book. Still, we asked Allan to expand on his pitch so we’d get a better feel for what he had in mind.
The more we heard, the better it got.
This Favored Land isn’t just a Civil War roleplaying game. It’s THE Civil War roleplaying game. Sure, it’s set in an alternate history where there are secret people who have strange powers, but Allan took a cue fromGodlike and built his history so that the “alternate” parts could be lifted off with zero effort. You can run the game as a straightforward Civil War game, or you can run it with superpowers, and it’s going to be a hell of a fun time either way.
This Favored Land includes rules tailoring Wild Talents superpowers to its particular setting, and it adds plenty of details to give action scenes the right tone. It takes the rules of Wild Talents, already built for fast, chaotic, suspenseful action, and makes them even more dangerous by emphasizing the primitive state of medicine in the 19th century.
More importantly, This Favored Land is loaded with chapters that encapsulate the history of the war and provide enough context that a newcomer can become familiar with the setting and the perspectives of both sides.
It gives enough details about daily life on the front lines and back home to add flavor and depth to games, and it provides terrific suggestions for starting and maintaining many kinds of campaigns, from the armies maneuvering and preparing to battle to espionage in the cities behind the lines to conspiracies to spirit runaway slaves to freedom and save those of the Gifted who are near to being hunted down.
The Gifted, of course, are the men and women with strange powers. They’re usually shunned and feared whenever they appear, and there are secret societies actively trying to eradicate them or manipulate them. We wouldn’t want the War to get boring.
The website for This Favored Land has many pages of excerpts from the book, including half a dozen pregenerated player characters. In the previews you’ll see some of Todd Shearer’s terrific illustrations, and of course you’ll see exactly what Fred Hicks and Shawn Camp came up with when designing the look and feel of the book around Allan’s writing and Todd’s art. As the publisher and lead editor—helped tremendously by co-editor John Marron, with excellent proofreading by Allan’s own wife Alana—I couldn’t be more pleased.