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Silver Age Sentinels (or SAS for short) is a superhero Tabletop RPG published by the Canadian company Guardians Of Order (who also published the Big Eyes Small Mouth –BESM- Anime-based RPG) in the year 2000. As the title indicates, the game focuses on the more noble vision of superheroes from the Silver Age Of Comics (although the game can be used for other variations, even the Darker and Edgier sort.)
The game’s official setting is Empire City- which is actually New York City, renamed to indicate that this is an Alternate Reality (although for the most part the historical events are the same as in the real world.) The city’s famous Chrysler Building was given to the world’s premiere superhero team, The Guard, as their Headquarters. Another major difference is the existence of Thule, an island nation raised from the sea by a supervillain that has become a minor economical world power.
Some of the main characters seem to be the Alternate Company Equivalent (and in a few cases the Captain Ersatz) of existing comic book characters, but still manage to have a flavor of their own. There were also several more original characters however.
The Guard’s members are:
- Sentinel, a Superman Captain Ersatz, with elements from Captain America and Captain Atom.
- Caliburn, a scarred Badass Normal wearing an opaque full-face mask;
- Mother Raven, a Native American sorceress;
- Red Phoenix, a magical female warrior (possibly a female Thor).
- Slipstream, a superfast alien.
- Lady Starbright, a Green Lantern Captain Ersatz who died preventing the eruption of Mount St. Helens (which was caused by Kreutzritter). Notable for being an ethnic superheroine in an interracial relationship with Sentinel. Her death led to the formation of The Guard.
The Guard's major enemies are The White Rooks, an alliance of their greatest foes, who usually work alone. Their members are:
- Kreutzritter (German for "Crusader") a nazi villain with armor giving him Elemental Powers; basically the game’s Doctor Doom.
- Janus, a British serial killer who scarred Caliburn; possibly a Joker stand-in.
- Alice, Queen Of Hearts, a psychopath with telekinetic powers;
- Mister Matthews, a Mad Scientist with a grudge against Raven;
- Iron Duke, a superstrong magical robot with connections to Red Phoenix.
Other interesting characters include:
- Jade Naga, leader of a reptilian race of alien invaders (and personal foe of Slipstream).
- Lady of the Lantern, a female Chinese hero with illusion powers.
- General Winter, the living embodiment of Russian Winter.
- Bloody Mary, who is the person the Urban Legend is based on.
- Officer Prometheus, a policeman with fire powers ala The Human Torch.
- The Baron , a hero with Voodoo powers, and his enemy Doc Cimitiere, a zombie master;
- Muzhik (Russian for "peasant") a Soviet hero with gravity based powers and a former rival of Sentinels'.
- Pan and Belle, two mystical beings that protect children and appear to be based on the Peter Pan characters... except that Pan is female.
And several more. All are fully described in the main book.
The game uses a modified version of the Tri-Stat System used by Big Eyes Small Mouth; the company was experimenting with several variations of the rules at the time, including some modules that offered D20 system conversions. It’s similar to GURPS but with only three main attributes (Body, Mind and Soul) though there are plenty of customization options.
A few supplements were produced for the game. The most notable of these was Reality Storm, a rare example of an official crossover between gaming companies where The Guard must join forces with The Champions to save both their universes from destruction. It included full conversion rules between SAS and the Hero System.
Sadly, Guardians of Order dissolved in the early 2000s, and the game’s license passed over to White Wolf, which hasn’t done much with it since then. But you can still order SAS items online.
Silver Age Sentinels provides examples of:
- Cardboard Prison: Lampshaded; the only prison equipped to handle supervillains is nicknamed "the Carousel" because nobody stays in for long.
- Character Alignment: Not applied literally as in other RPGs; however, the characters were always grouped together in Heroes (good), Villains (evil) or Neutrals (neither).
- Instrument of Murder: Feedback's guitar.
- Multinational Team: The Guard- The Sentinel is American (as was Lady Starbright), Caliburn is British, Mother Raven is Canadian and Red Phoenix is German. (Slipstream is an alien.) Many other characters in the game were from other countries or had an ethnic background.
- Never Live It Down: One of the biggest reasons people are distrustful of Kreuzritter? His father, the original Kreuzritter, was a Nazi. People tend to automatically lump him in with all that mischegas rather than judge him on his own merits. Heavily subverted by the fact that he's actually the original Kreuzritter pretending to be his own son, so he's actually much worse than most people realize.
- No Communities Were Harmed: Subverted; while the primary setting is Empire City, it's made abundantly clear that Empire City is New York. Manhattan, the Bronx, it's all there, just the city itself has a different name.
- President Evil: Kreuzritter is king of the island nation of Thule.