What I Think about Nemezis

After seeing Guardians of the Galaxy yesterday, I am hankering for some light heated space campaign.... Savage Worlds style. There is a great Science Fiction Companion for Savage Worlds and some sci-fi settings (Slipstream, Necropolis 2350 and Daring Tales of the Space Lanes to name a few). All of those are great products that I enjoy, but when it comes to my flavor of space adventures I am choosing Nemezis as my go to setting. I feel like this game has flown under the radar for many Savage Worlds fans, so let me tell you a bit about it.

Quick disclaimer. I used to work with the folks from GRAmel, back in their "let's translate Savage Worlds to Polish" days. While I didn't work on Nemezis, my opinions might still be biased. You had been warned.

Nemezis is a Savage Worlds sci-fi setting. Humanity took to the stars millenia ago and colonized most of the galaxy. In this time, humankind didn't encounter any alien civilized races (the book didn't mention it clearly, but I think they did encounter animal like alien life), but managed woke up some cthulhu-like alien space god who destroyed the Earth and continues to destroy human settled worlds ever since. That's the jist of the setting. A sci-fi "kitchen sink" with a cthulhu/zerg threat mixed in. There's also ruins of an ancient space fearing civilization that scratches the Indiana Jones style pulp itch.

The setting comes from a Polish author and was first released in Poland. Actually it was a winner of a contest for a new D20 setting in early 2000s. The contest has gone south (the guy organizing it disappeared with the money) and the game was finally released, years later, under Savage Worlds mechanic.

The book centers around 3 planets of Eclipse system: Ash, Bariz and Cor. Each of them with a different suggested playstyle. Ash is a dying planet. The terraforming machines are malfunctioning and the once resource rich planet is slowly but surely getting covered in ice. This is a perfect place for a survival of the fittest campaign. Bariz is a heaven for diplomats. It's a place of noble houses, artists and backstabbing. Cor on the other hand is a military campaign. The Horde is trying to take over the planet and humans are fighting back... and for the first time in history they are pushing back the Horde. 

Oh yeah, I should explain what is the Horde. When humans woke up the sleeping god on the surface of the titular Nemezis planet, he has summoned/created an army of creatures to fight by his side. Think Starcraft's Zergs when it comes to the Horde - organic, ugly, powerful and with overwhelming numbers. All of those creatures serve the alien gods. Yes, gods - plural. Since humanity released the first one - the Worm of the Void - others have surfaced. Those gods can be easily compared to Earthdawn's Horrors. While they are formidable foes beyond human reasoning (like Cthulhu mythos beings), but are not all-powerful and can be defeated. Some humans see them as nothing less than gods and worship those beings. This adds cults to the mix (always a fun addition!). Cultists are the only ones able to wield magic, as the rest of humanity is limited to psionics for their supernatural needs. Psionic powers have been re-vamped from the vanilla Savage Worlds and given new powers. You also get rules for virtually anything you would need in a space campaign: spaceship rules, cyber/nano/genetic implants, high-tec weapons and armor and a Fast, Furious & Fun rules for Energy Shields. All of this on top of new Edges and Hindrances - not too bad.

All of this creates a good backdrop for a campaign. Outside of the gods, the horde and the Eclipse system you can fill in the Milky Way galaxy anyway you like. There are countless human settlements, each with their own problems, traditions and flavors of humans. This vagueness is actually an advantage, as it opens up the space "kitchen sink" in which you can fit almost anything, even run a space hexcrawl

As there are no intelligent alien races, in Nemezis you play meta-humans. Advanced technology and the need to adapt to new planets allowed humans to change their genome. Many of them will look like your standard "space opera" aliens - those seen in things like Star Trek or even Guardians of the Galaxy. You want a different colored war-mongering humanoid? Maybe a race of great inventors or some animal hybrid? You can have them. Humanity has settled the stars millennia ago - it's only logical  that completely new "civilizations" have been created during this time. For me, this is a great idea, as most of the "aliens" in popular media are just reskinned humans anyway (in TV and movies, quite literally with a new skin of latex and body paint). It always bothered me that most of the aliens were so similar to humans - either in shape, as in understanding of the world. This simple approach fixes that issue. Unfortunately you do not get rules for creating your own races. They had been cut from the original Polish release, because the exact same rules exist in the  Science Fiction Companion. Actually, there are few changes between the Polish and English version of the game, but I would say that the English version is more polished (oh, bad pun!). Especially thanks to some mechanical changes (Nemezis has the best rules for energy shields I have seen in Savage Worlds).

I can see playing "Guardians of the Galaxy"-like campaign using Nemezis without much problem. You have all powerful creatures and ancient mysteries right there in the book. Those can easily mimic threats like Thanos and explain the existence of infinity stones. As for aliens- just create some meta-human races with similar feel. The books is far from perfect, but it ticks most of the boxes I want in a FFF space adventure. The addition of alien gods, cults and the Horde is the icing on the cake. I would just treat the "core" planets of the Eclipse system as backdrop and go explore the galaxy.

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