Author – Brian Shutter
Cover Artist – Mustafa Bekir/Diogo Nogueira
Publisher – Super Savage Systems
One hand on the wheel of a hacked-together Cutlass Ciera, the other putting pressure on a sucking chest wound, you hammer the gas and fly down the rubble-littered freeway. Your passenger, a failed clone of Ronald Reagan, eyes you nervously and the sound of pursuing motorcycles begins to compete with the heavy metal blasting from the blown speakers. You smile around your cigarette and wink at him out of the shattered lens of your Ray-Bans. The broken skyscrapers loom behind you like the grasping fingers of some great metal titan, but you and your friends are too quick. Too deadly. The war wizard in the back seat turns and mutters something out of the broken back window that hurts your brain to hear and the road behind you bursts into flashes of light the color of which cannot be named. The motorcycle sounds are replaced by brief screaming and then nothing, save the maddening pulse of the music. The purple and green sunset ahead of you draws you into its embrace.
Neon Lords of the Toxic Wasteland is a new techno-fantasy apocalypse RPG that, at the risk of spoiling this review, completely rules. Writer Brian Shutter clearly has a love for the late-80’s/early-90’s media that serves as inspiration for this color-saturated, ultra-violent indie RPG. The rules borrow heavily from OSR games, but it would be deeply unfair to categorize this as just another coat of setting splashed haphazardly over an established rule system. Shutter has taken the time to craft 10+ unique and flavorful classes, from the Skull Jammer, a tape deck-wielding hacker, to the Cosmic Barbarian, a “stardust” snorting berserker. Further, this game boasts a unique spell system for its handful of magic/tech/psychic caster classes.
The book itself includes the basic rules for the game, as one would expect, but also features a bestiary of over 100 monsters, many unique setting-specific treasures and items, and two premade adventures to help kick things off. And the art…just plain amazing. I mean, just look at the Kickstarter-exclusive cover:
Chainsaws! Snake people! More spikes and leather than a Judas Priest concert! If that doesn’t get your mullet growing then, well, I don’t think we can be friends.
The Kickstarter campaign fully funded in three days and several stretch goals, including cardboard monster and character standees and battle tiles, have been unlocked so there’s no worry that this will be another one of those amazing projects that…just sorta…fizzles. As of my writing this review (11/12/2020) there are still 23 days to go and another four stretch goals to unlock. And what are the risks? Well, despite having 85% of the book written and most of the art submitted, this is still Brian Shutter’s/Super Savage System’s first Kickstarter. Regardless, this looks like an amazing game and, based off Shutter’s responsiveness via Kickstarter, he seems to have a steady hand on the wheel. If you’re interested in supporting this radical game of toxic sludge-soaked nostalgia, the pledge levels are:
$1 – Scum of the Wasteland – Gets you nothing but a warm, fuzzy feeling
$20 – Neon Apprentice – Gets you the PDF of the core rulebook
$35* – Wasteland Hero – Gets you the hardcover and PDF of the core rulebook
$45* – Wasteland Overlord – Gets you the Kickstarter exclusive cover for the core rulebook and a PDF copy of the rules
$75* – Gnarly God of the Wasteland – Gets you two copies of the core rules, one with the standard cover and the other with the Kickstarter exclusive cover, as well as a PDF copy of the rules
$100* – Wasteland Merchant – Retailers Only – Gets you 5 copies of the standard cover core rulebook
*Shipping will be charged separately.
DISCLAIMER: I do not know Brian Shutter, nor am I receiving anything for free based on my review of this Kickstarter. I just think it’s neat. The introductory scene is my own creation and not found within the book.