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From 842 reviews

Wiseguys

Adventure Edition

A 90's Mafia Product Line for Savage Worlds
Contents

Publisher Description

It’s the mid-Nineties. The bosses from the Five Families, as well as the Chicago Outfit, are behind bars. The Commission has gone silent. Routed and leaderless, the Godfathers have lost their grip on Las Vegas. A new breed of Dons has risen from the ashes of a lost war against the Justice Department to rule over Las Vegas. These self-proclaimed bosses work to reclaim what’s been lost to the other crime syndicates and corporations that now own the city.



Rebuilding their empire begins with the cunning and deceitful associates they’ve recruited among the conniving denizens of Sin City and beyond. Under the leadership of caporegimes and soldiers of La Cosa Nostra, they plot heists, eliminate their rivals, and engineer all kinds of ways to gain money and power beneath the watchful eye of the government now wiser to their scoundrel ways.

 

A 90's Mafia Setting for Savage Worlds [ edit ]

Savage Worlds is a fast-playing, cinematic-style generic RPG, originally based off a miniature war game (which in turn was based on the Deadlands RPG).  It won the Gamer's Choice Award at Origins in 2003, and has continued to remain popular ever since.

Wise Guys is a 3rd-party campaign supplement that uses Savage Worlds rules to create campaigns based around organized crime in the 1990's.  For players, it offers all the new Edges and Hindrances one would expect to bring mob characters to life, such as the "Usual Suspect" Hindrance (the cops always come looking for you after any major crime), or the Goodfella Edge. The tone isn't too serious however: there's also (for instance) a "Roller-Skater (Combat)" Edge.

For the GM, Wise Guys offers a wealth of background material, including details on a variety of world-wide criminal organizations beyond just the Mafia.  It also provides a variety of NPCs, two scenarios, and basically everything a GM needs to run an organized crime campaign.  In fact, even GMs from other systems might find the background material in this book useful for their game.

But of course, the most obvious way to use the book is with Savage Worlds, which has a great generic system that can easily be applied to a crime campaign.

Savage Worlds, Adventure Edition - Rules SummaryCollapse

Character Creation [ edit ]

As with most games, Savage Worlds characters have attributes, in this case five of them (essentially the D&D attributes, without Charisma).  Attributes are measured as a die type, so a weak character would have a d4 Strength, while an incredibly strong one would have a d12.

Players can also select a race for their character (or remain human to get an extra edge), and a number of skills.  Just as with attributes, skills have die-type-based ranks.  Raising skills higher than their associated attribute costs double, but otherwise there are no restrictions, so you can make a cowboy/hacker/biologist if you so desire: there are no class limitations.

Finally a player selects Edges, which provide special benefits to the character, similar to feats in Dungeons and Dragons or advantages in GURPS .  To gain edges characters can take on hindrances (similar to GURPS disadvantages).  Every edge costs the same in Savage Worlds (no varying point costs like in GURPS), and there are only two levels of hindrances (Major and Minor; one major or two minor provides an Edge).

There are also a somewhat limited number of hindrances and edges compared to some other generic systems, but this isn't necessarily a bad thing.  While it does mean less customization options, it also means new players can review their options much quicker, speeding up character creation overall.

Core Mechanics [ edit ]

To succeed at an action in Savage Worlds, you roll a die based on the associated skill, and then also roll a separate "wild die" (a d6).  Either dice can "ace" ("explode"), which means that if you roll the maximum number on the die, you get to re-roll it, and add the result of all the rolls together.  You can then choose to keep either your original die or the "wild" one (whichever rolled higher), and if that die's result is 4 or greater (after any penalties), you succeed.

Players also start with "Bennies", and can earn more during play through good role-playing.  These "Bennies" can be used to re-roll any roll, giving characters another chance to succeed at critical actions.

Combat [ edit ]

When it comes to combat, Savage Worlds uses a deck of regular playing cards to determine who goes in what order.  The higher the player's card, the sooner they go in initiative, and if a player gets a joker as their card they can go at any point (and also get a bonus to their rolls that turn).

Between it's wild dice, "aceing" (ie. exploding) dice, bennies, and jokers, and various other factors, there are a lot of ways to succeed even when your skills are low, although of course higher skills are clearly a benefit.  All of this leads to a system that's more "fun" and cinematic, but also a bit less realistic, and also potentially more "swingy" (compared to, for instance, a system like GURPS).

But is it Any Good? [ edit ]

Aggregated Review Scores

SourceAverage Score# of ReviewsAs Of
Drive Thru RPG4.9 / 5394/4/2022

Wise Guys has been around for about three years now, which has given it plenty of time to accrue praise.  When one gamer asked about the supplement on Reddit for instance, the community was very positive, with the top-voted comment reading:

Play tested it. Played a whole campaign. Ran a whole campaign.

Its a masterpiece, and the gold standard for third party products.

In online reviews the lowest average score on any site was 8.2 / 10 on RPG Geek, which is traditionally the harshest online critic.  Both Amazon and Drive Thru RPG reviews were even more positive, with both sites giving the game an extremely high 4.8 / 5 stars (from hundreds of reviews).

In short, if you're looking to start a Savage Worlds campaign themed after the Sopranos TV show, or movies like Casino or Goodfellas ... or even if you're planning on using a different system ... Wise Guys offers everything you need to start the perfect crime campaign.