The Last Parsec: Core Rulebook

The Last Parsec: Core Rulebook

From: Pinnacle Entertainment Group

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

The Last Parsec: Core Rulebook is a new RPG Setting Book from Pinnacle Entertainment Group.

Without a doubt, Savage Worlds has become a favorite RPG system for me to run, especially at conventions (which is most of my gaming life these days).  But it took a while for me to appreciate the system because many of the settings were not all that inspiring to me.  Either that, or they were just something I would not feel comfortable running. Sci-fi and some science fantasy are what I love to run and Savage Worlds just did not have that to my satisfaction.

The Last Parsec is the science fiction setting that I am looking for.  It is generic enough that I can pull in all kinds of stuff from my previous games, but solid enough that is a good science fiction setting on its own.  I have been running at cons now for almost a year and have had a blast with it. The Last Parsec is far from just a generic science fiction setting.  It can be treated that way but there is enough meat to be its own setting.  It is well thought out and thorough.

From the back cover: “Take a tour of Sol’s galactic neighborhood, where hundreds of slower-than-light missions into unknown reaches resulted in a far-flung assortment of human worlds, and discovery of alien civilizations as well.”

The book is beautifully laid out in six chapters, covering the setting and ways to adventure in it.  It is the 30th Century, Earth humans have spread out across the galaxy through sleeper/embryo ships, and Earth is now not the only power world in the galaxy.  The new worlds founded by these embryo ships have grown in their own power and now rival Earth in its supremacy.  Varied types of humans little the galaxy as does new alien species.

Chapter One covers details of the overall setting universe, the various known worlds and how the came about.  Having experience with many hardcore sci-fi games, I can’t help compare this with others.  The setting has elements of the Alternity Star*Drive as well as Star Frontiers, although I doubt it was totally intentional.  Sleeper ships sent out from earth were very successful and founded several new worlds and built their own power base.

Each of the new planets are unique in their own right.  Some were more successful than others. Canopan, for example, flourished and was the first to develop faster-than-light drive technology.  Canopan was at the center of what was called the “Link up” – a period of time when all the known colonies linked back up with their home.  After the Link Up, Earth found itself relegated down to just another human world.  This alone is unique to me because in many settings, Earth is either destroyed, forgotten or at the center of a great federation.  I like this approach very much.

I also like that there is not big government ruling over everything.  No Imperium, Federation or Empire.  This is another aspect that shows the intelligence behind the setting.  Space is big and a galactic spanning authority would be relatively difficult to maintain.

Also included in this chapter are the aliens and how the work into the story of the setting.  These are the following: Aurax (big centaurian-like aliens), Parasteen (corpses in spacesuits acting as hosts to an intelligent parasite), Florans (sentient humanoid plants), Insectoids (bugs), Kalians (four-armed humanoid hot-head aliens), Rakashans (the ever present feline race), Saurians (lizard folk), and Yetis (the generic answer to wookies).  My least favorite of these all are the Parasteen, which turn out to be useless unless there is a lot of science and research needed.  I love the Kalians though and have had fun customizing for armed miniatures out of old Mage Knight and Heroclix minis.

However, coupled with the Science Fiction Companion, you can have just about any race in this setting.  For my games, I have created a Kzin race (from Larry Niven’s Known Space series), a Yazirian from Star Frontiers, and a Seshayyan from Star*Drive.  All can be part of the setting with little  work.

From the back cover: “Then join JumpCorp’s interstellar exploration teams as they travel to the limits of Known Space and beyond 

Chapter Two covers the established employer of any character that enters this setting – JumpCorp.  Interestingly, the game establishes this up front, instead of just having the characters be general citizens of the universe adventuring in space.  I like that a lot because it gives the player’s an immediate frame of reference. JumpCorp is the big company that does just about everything.  It gives the GM an immediate push into the adventure just by saying “Because JumpCorp sent  you.”  While JumpCorp is big and nebulous, it does not have much more authority than any other corporation.

JumpCorp is divided into Charters, and Conglomerates, all collectively answering to JumpCorp Prime.  Charters usually operate within a single system but multiple systems can join together into a single conglomerate.  There are varying degrees of Charters – some famous and some infamous.  Charters have their won titles, bureaucracies, and infra-structures. It also has its own competition, clients, and missions.  All this is detailed in this section.

The Gear section detail various setting specific tech that is available to the characters.  In addition to the Gear from the Science Fiction Companion, this gear gives the players various means to accomplish their goals for JumpCorp.  This includes personal gear, androids and robots, various vehicles including walkers and of course, starships.

For those familiar with core Savage Worlds, The Last Parsec uses the Joker’s Wild and Multiple Languages setting rules.  There are also several special rules related to JumpCorp employment.  Every setting in science fiction has a different means of space travel and The Last Parsec is not different.  Setting rules include the specifics for this setting space travel.  In true Savage Worlds style, it is simple and epic rather than overly complex and scientifically involved.  The last few chapters cover generating an adventure including tables to help you along that way, and a long list of adversaries that help give you players foes and challenges in those adventures.

In conclusion, The Last Parsec is a well-written and complete sci-fi RPG.  It is what I have been waiting for a long time.  I have played numerous sci-fi RPGs including Star Frontiers,  Alternity Star Drive, and Shatterzone.  All of these could easily fit in this setting and more.  While it has some specifics that make the setting its’ own world, it is still malleable and customizable enough to grow into your own.  I have had a lot of fun running it and look forward to running it more.

For more details on Pinnacle Entertainment Group and their new RPG Setting BookThe Last Parsec: Core Rulebook” check them out at their website, and at all of your local game stores.

Codex Rating: 19

Product Summary

The Last Parsec: Core Rulebook

From: Pinnacle Entertainment Group

Written by: Clint Black, Timothy Brian Brown, Matthew Cutter, Shane Hensley, Norm Hensley

Edited by:  Matthew Cutter

Graphic Design and Layout by: Aaron Acevedo, Ben Acevedo, Emma Beltran, Matthew Cutter

Cover Art by Max Davenport

Interior Art by Dennis Darmody, Max Davenport, Grosnez, Reza Ilyasa, Irina Kovaljova, David Lecossu, Eric Lofgren, Chris Malidore, MK Ultra, Grzegorz Pedrycz, Lorenz Hideyoshi Ruwwe, Bryan Syme, Jon Taylor, Tomek Tworek, Igor Vitkovskiy, Cheyenne Wright

Savage Worlds created by Shane Lacy Hensley

Number of Pages: 98

Game Components Included: Core Setting book

Game Components Not Included: Savage Worlds core rulebook, Science Fiction Companion


Reviewed by: Ron McClung