Wednesday, July 2, 2014

TL;DR RPG: Savage Worlds

Savage Worlds
Author: Shane Lacy Hensley
Price: Free “test drive” rules, $9.99 in PDF and print.
Genre: Generic, Setting Neutral

A generic setting that aims to be fast, furious and fun.

Best for action-heavy games of any genre or setting. Fantasy and science fiction work especially well.

Material Requirements
Character sheets, full set of polyhedral dice and extra d6s, core rulebook, deck of playing cards, tokens to serve as “bennies.” Miniatures and maps are suggested but not required.

Characters are composed of Attributes, Skills, Edges, Hindrances, and other derived Traits. Attributes and Skills are measured in dice types (i.e. Strength d6). Edges and Hindrances define the characters through mechanical bonuses or penalties, or roleplaying requirements. Some characters will have Powers that are an extension of an Arcane Background Edge.

Creation is through a point-buy system. Character advancement is through points awarded for completing the objective of a session.

Magic and superpowers use a power-point system in the core rules, but many supplements tweek these rules to afford for different styles of play.

Task Resolution
Actions will be connected to a relevant Skill or Attribute, which is defined by a dice type. The player will roll the appropriate type of dice, along with a six-sided “wild die,” succeeding if one of the dice scores 4 or better. Dice that land on their maximum face value “explode,” are rolled again with all the scores added together. The higher the final score is over the target number, the more successful the action.

Combat is similar to normal task resolution, but the target numbers are based on the defender’s Parry and Toughness trait, rather than a static 4. An attack roll must beat the Parry target number and the resulting damage roll must beat the Toughness target number.
Rather than Hit Points, all player characters are allowed to receive three “Wounds,” which are essentially hits that pierce through their defenses. The fourth Wound will incapacitate the character.

Expansions and Supplements
Due to Pinnacle's very lenient licensing rules, there is a ton of published and DIY material for Savage Worlds. This includes full settings, campaigns, genre companions and adventures. None of these materials are required to "keep up" with the game and are purely optional.

Other Comments
Savage Worlds is full of game mechanics that are just fun to play, including an initiative system based on playing cards and a “bennies” system that allows players to re-roll actions and absorb Wounds.
NPC and enemy creation is based on what “feels right” for a given character. This may kill GMs who are obsessed with balance, but it allows for quick and easy preparation.

Rules Weight: 3/5
The rules are relatively easy but some take getting use to, such as the Shaken/Wounds system. Because many of the mechanics are fun and interesting, they are easy to learn, especially since players will want to keep an eye out for ways the rules will benefit them the most.

Fluff Weight: 1/5
The core game is purely setting neutral. Any fluff will come from a homebrew setting or third-party expansion.


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