I've been looking at various Savage Worlds toolkits/companions for a while, and finally I found the one I had been looking for most in a sale (Drivethrurpg's Christmas in July). I've been trying to find Sci-fi world builder toolkit in sale for several times but it has never been included in a sale when I've checked. But now I've finally got it and I'm considering a few other toolkits/companions as well.
I haven't been able to read it thoroughly yet, but I've glanced it through and read sections of it and I'm quite happy for buying it. While it seems to be packed with useful materials, and it's enjoyable to read, I think the biggest value it gives is inspiration. Immediately when reading it, I started to think of doing some conversions as well as creating a scifi world of my own.
Creating a world of your own
The toolkit leads you through the process of of creating a world, from style to technical details. I also have GURPS Space, so I can compare to it a bit; It's been a LONG time since I read that though, so my memories may be a bit vague. From what I remember, the Gurps book takes more accurate and detailed view to the theme, making it feel much more scientific - and a lot less Fast, Furious and Fun - if you know Savage Worlds and Gurps, this is nothing unexpected.
The book has a list of abilities for Alien species and guidelines for creating them, although the list is pretty much the same size than the one in Savage Worlds Deluxe -book. It also has small tables to create groups within a species that have principles of their own.
I have a number of existing settings I'd like to run games in - I'm currently starting a Star Wars game, I'd like to run Galactica and Babylon 5 for example, so I don't know when I'd have time for running a setting of my own. But nevertheless, this book makes my imagination run, and I'd like to shape my future setting a bit. I just turned down Fading Suns due to some oddities (and missing actual setting book for Savage Worlds - it's going to be released though), but it has a large amount of elements I like. For example, I really want Noble houses in the setting, but FS's dominating medieval theme, divine magic and it's realistic space combat and use of melee weapons that feels forced.
One of the things that inspired me were guidelines how to use psionics. While I really like the existence of only telepaths in a scifi world (Go Babylon 5!), I'll have to say that Trinity -like many categories of psychics fascinates me too. I like having religion(s) as a big political power factor in a game world; while I've primarily thought of this in fantasy settings, it might work well in a scifi setting too. I'm also fan of Psi Corps, and when thinking of to put these things in a game world, I came up with an idea of church controlling telepaths, perhaps all psychics. They run tests in schools, adopt and start brainwashing any psionics and transform them as a controlled police force of the church, devoted for the church in order to reach redemption from the sin of possessing devilish powers. And of course there's rebellious psychics that are always on the run...
Few more words about the contents
Contents shortly (chapters): Introduction, Drawing board, Setting basics, World design, Trade & travel, Starship combat, Major players, Psionics, Psionic powers, Time travel. Psionics have some new rules, like stellar/galactic -scale ranges and customized brain burn tables (with one example).
There's some advice on writing plot points, but I would have hoped more here - some kind of structured example of writing a story with plot points would have been great. I would also liked to have more customized psionic arcane backgrounds, right now we have only telepathy, pyrokinesis and biokinesis. I guess it isn't hard to create others though, especially if you have Trinity or other similar rulebook yourself.
I really like this book - Savage Worlds seems to have great amounts of good materials for it, and while I for some reason was hesitant about toolkits, they feel to be really useful too.
The sale goes on until the end of the week.