We talked for years about running a Savage Worlds-powered Stargate adventure at a local convention. This weekend I finally did it: Stargate SG-13: Double Shot on Friday, Nov. 10 at MEPACon.
For those who don’t recall, Stargate SG-1 was a staple of the SyFy Channel when it was still the Sci-Fi Channel … and before the dark days when it stopped airing actual science fiction (thankfully, they’ve remedied that). Spun off from the 1994 movie of the same name, Stargate SG-1 featured a mixed team of soldiers, scientists, and aliens who traveled through wormholes to explore the galaxy and battle the evil Goa’uld (alien parasites who infect human hosts and styled themselves “System Lords”). It ran from 1997 through 2006 and spawned two spin-offs, the excellent Stargate: Atlantis and the less excellent and far more brooding Stargate: Universe.
I crafted SG-13 as Stargate Command’s clean-up team. Most SG teams travel through the gates seeking out new adventures, civilizations, and resources. Not SG-13; they boldly go where others have gone … and fix the problems they left behind.
Extracting SG teams trapped behind enemy lines (or in alien dream machines), blowing up enemy bunkers after the previous team’s explosives didn’t go off, and making sure that the thrice-damned Gou’ald stay dead.
Savage Worlds is my go-to generic role-playing game rule-set. It’s flexible, scalable, and is expanded by genre-specific rules companions. This makes it easy to mix and match rulesets, and the action-oriented nature of the rules fit Stargate particularly well.
My recipe for SG-13 is:
- Savage Worlds Deluxe (Explorer’s Edition): (Amazon | Pinnacle) The compact, digest-size version of the current rules. Explains how to create a character and has all the baseline hinderances, edges, species, and game mechanics.
- Savage Worlds Science Fiction Companion: (Amazon | Pinnacle) Science fiction-specific rules for Savage Worlds. While it gets into cybernetics and psionics, what I used it for was creatures, environment rules (e.g. low vs. high gravity), and planet generation.
- Stargate: A Savage Worlds Conversion: (Website) The Journeyman GM’s Stargate conversion was essential to running this adventure. It included extensive write-ups on human, Jaffa, and Gou’ald races and species, as well as setting-specific technology like P90s, zat guns, and staff weapons.
- The Last Parsec – Levithan: (Amazon | Pinnacle) This sourcebook for Pinnacle’s space opera setting features a jungle world packed with all manner of creatures … it’s perfect Stargate fodder.
It worked well. Everyone at the table had played Savage Worlds before and had at least a passing knowledge of Stargate. As expected, the fast/fun/furious nature of the Savage Worlds rules fit Stargate well. I’d go so far as to say that a Savaged Stargate is a better fit for the show than the super-crunchy Spycraft d20-powered version that Alderac published a while back.
I made extensive use of two Savage World character generators to build out characters for the scenario:
- Savage Worlds Character Tools: An online, fan-built character creator that incorporates the various companion books. I ran into some issues with edges being unavailable, but it worked for basic characters.
- Wild Card Creator: I made most of the characters using the Wild Card Creator by Journeyman Games. If you own the PDF for a supported supplement you can have the Creator scan the document to unlock additional options. It’s free to use for 30 days.
The last official Stargate RPG was Alderac’s. They published a core rulebook and several supplements are still great source material … if you can find them. If you can’t, there are a number of online resources.
- Gateworld: The premier fan website for the Stargate series is packed with content, including episode guides for the entire series, a wiki with hundreds of entries, and news updates.
- Stargate Wiki: Another wiki option for Stargate.
- Jaffa Names: Suggested names for Jaffa.
- Stargate Random Plot Generator: Create 1-2 sentence summaries of Stargate episodes.
- Designation Generator: Randomly generates planet designations (e.g. P42-180) for your next trip through the Stargate.
- Stargate Command: The new official home for Stargate content, including streams of all of the Stargate series and movies. It’s also going to be the only place you can get the new prequel series, Stargate: Origins. There’s a one-time fee to access the content through May 15, 2018. You can also get episodes via Hulu.
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The original Stargate SG-1 team. Credit: MGM.