Grade the Savage Worlds System

How do you feel about the Savage Worlds game system?

  • I love it.

    Votes: 31 27.0%
  • It's pretty good.

    Votes: 32 27.8%
  • It's alright I guess.

    Votes: 22 19.1%
  • It's pretty bad.

    Votes: 5 4.3%
  • I hate it.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I've never played it.

    Votes: 24 20.9%
  • I've never even heard of it.

    Votes: 1 0.9%

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There's a document that was made available to backers during the Savage Pathfinder KS, that basically took a bunch of PF1 spells and defined them in Savage Pathfinder just to make sure they could. I think the document is available from PEG for $4-5.00...
Cool. I wasn't aware of that PDF, but that's probably because I don't pay much attention to Savage Pathfinder. I still play the Pathfinder 1e game though, so any doc showing SWADE trappings based upon its spells interests me. Arcane Conversion PDF was only 2.99 on the Peginc store, so I snapped it up.


As a SW GM, I've always insisted that my players create trappings for any Power their PC acquires. Or have put in a good amount of effort to thematically define trappings for some of my homebrewed settings.
My players leaned into power trappings from the start, so I Pavloved that - at least once per session they can earn a bennie by giving an evocate description when using a power wrapped in their specific trappings. They need to be inventive and can’t repeat themselves if they want the reward. I use the same reward system for physical combat with cool maneuvers, social shenanigans…the whole game really. Bennies are amazing carrots for getting players to lean into and engage with the game, put depth to their chars, and doing their part in making the game athmospheric and fun.


Explorer least once per session they can earn a bennie by giving an evocate description when using a power wrapped in their specific trappings. They need to be inventive and can’t repeat themselves if they want the reward...
Very cool. While I've rewarded bennies for RPing similar to those you mentioned, I haven't done it for RPing power trappings. Most of the trappings in my campaings have worked like those in SWD, where the PC will at times get an addded, benefical effect. Those benefits are often situational or conditional and sometimes might not occur during a session. So I'm going to consider rewarding a bennie for clever RPing of trappings - good idea.

Combining Strength and Vigor into a single atteibute would make it a god mode state for fantasy games. Both Toughness and melee for a single stat would be an issue. You could address the toughness thing with a Frail hindrance but I think overall that design gets problematic. It’s the D&D dex problem for melee damage base games.

That said because the system is so easy to hack there’s not really a reason you couldn’t do that.

Does it? It's only your melee damage and your toughness. You still need agility for fighting (and parry). Shooting only takes shooting.

What if either Toughness or melee damage were a skill, instead of being a pure attribute? Maybe that isn't any better of a design. It's just odd that Strength has no skills. Vigor has no skills, and all it really does is toughness and soak and a few edge requirements. Isn't it weird to roll Strength as an active roll for damage? It had so little to do in any setting with firearms that they added Strength requirements to a bunch of equipment just so they could say it did something.

It just feels like an inconsistent philosophy of design going on. Both melee damage and toughness feel like weird design enclaves, while everything else that deals damage in the game uses slightly different rules. It feels wrong.

But I admit we've had very few melee characters. It's possible my experience is just misleading me.

In terms of a mid 2000s publication of a Science Fiction Companion

My apologies. This was an unfortunate typo on my part. I meant 2010s and not 2000s. I simply couldn't remember if it had been 10 years or not and just meant to peg it to a rough timeline. Given that it has been 4 years since SWADE came out and around 10 since SFC did... I'm just frustrated with waiting so long because there's a lot in the SFC that needs fixing.

I have to agree on running horror and fantasy. When I run a horror game, I want very dedicated horror system like CoC or Alien. Horror I think is really hard to run, so anything you can do to get and keep the players in the horror mode is great. I've not read the Horror Companion, but given how our table tends to play SW games I don't ever imagine it will feel appropriate.

As for supers... I don't remember how long it's been since I played a superpower campaign. In any system. I just don't enjoy the genre for TTRPGs I guess.

When I'm doing fantasy where swords are still legit weapons where the PCs are heroes, I want them to progress more like D&D. When there's cartridge firearms or better? I want combat to be more immediately dangerous. Not necessarily deadly, but at least getting taking out of a fight very quickly being a distinct possibility. I like SW more for the latter.

The only thing I got from SWADE Pathfinder was the Bestiary. I haven't read the player's book, so I can't comment on the progression of those PCs. Just doesn't really interest me. I don't like SW as a fantasy game at all. Even the Bestiary was just for stuff to reskin and get ideas for for native fauna. There isn't really a lot of guidance for making NPCs in SW, so seeing a range of monsters was really nice. I don't even know if I used any of them. It was just nice to see some monsters! "OMG it's not a bunch of dX mooks with guns and armor! Or wild die killbot #482!"

I also don't care for all the changes to powers in SWADE, especially the modifiers. I allowed all of the power modifiers in my Historical Fantasy campaign, but the Arcane Background PCs played more like low level super heroes than the magic-capable archetypes they were supposed to be. As well, I was a fan of the emphasis on Power Trappings in SWD, but that barely gets mention in SWADE - not that I though PEG did a good enough job with those in SWD, but it was a start. My biggest complaint though is making PCs gaining an advancement after every session the default method - sorry, but I like my campaigns to run for more than half of a year and like some flexibility when advancements occur. Easy enough to just use the XP system from SWD instead, which I have.

I'll admit we avoided powers completely in the only SWADE campaign we've run so far (SWADE + SFC). We just didn't want them in the game we were playing, so I can't really comment on them. I know some of them are less abusive, but I don't really know any details.

Overall, though, I think things improved. I like having more rerolls and fewer flat modifiers, as flat modifiers really break things fast. I think the attribute and skill system is better, although it still feels wrong to me. The changes to skills and adding default skills we liked. The weapons table in SWADE feels a lot better than anything in the SFC.

As for advancement, we really liked it. We didn't do advancement every session. Not always. We just advanced when the GM said we advanced. Basically milestone progression instead of fussing about with XP. XP was just one more thing to track that we didn't really care about.

Most of the changes to edges we liked. The change to double tap was good, and needed.

That said, our SW campaigns stick to about half a year tops. Usually closer to 4 months. It's a good system to use as a breather for us.


I’ve run and played Star Wars using Fate Accelerated using only the book. It was the second best game I’ve found for running Star Wars. The first of course being WEG Star Wars.
I can see that. I've never used Fate for Star Wars but I would be inclined to use it fore prequel era lots of jedi stuff,which I think core SWADE would be less adept at.


The person who wrote that dictionary definition. And for the record, I agree with the folks who are taking issue with that definition.
The Oxford lists it as such. The origin (at least my understanding of it) comes from the inexpensive paper the novels were printed on, and the sheer glut that was published, most of which (kinda per Sturgeon's revelation) were not necessarily well written and, much like tabloids, were purposefully sensational. Plus there was a distain from a segment of the self-proclaimed literary guardians towards things that weren't old-style fiction. Therefore, pulp became an insult to paint with a broad brush any sci-fi/speculative fiction, tying all of it to mass produced paperbacks of 'lessor' quality, unlike all those old classics in their rigid tomes of everlastingness.

But that negative connotation has become quite diluted over time, and the term was been reclaimed by fans of those genres, especially as time has allowed the 'best' of the stories to endure and become classics.

(Etymologists, please correct me if I failed my knowledge check!)

I don't think pulpy has a negative connotation, or if your dictionary does, then that is the dictionary's problem.

I would say it definitely does. In literary circles, "pulp" has the same pejorative connotations as "penny dreadful," "dime novel," "genre fiction," "comic book," and even (if you search hard enough) "paperback."

I don't think people who might play games like D&D or happily read genre fiction are as likely to take the claims seriously, but the literary and critical world has always looked down it's nose at low cost, mass produced stories.

It's not hard to find it still being used:

"Pulps were the successors to the penny dreadfuls, dime novels, and short-fiction magazines of the 19th century. [...] The pulps gave rise to the term pulp fiction in reference to run-of-the-mill, low-quality literature. Successors of pulps include paperback books, such as hardboiled detective stories and erotic fiction."

-- Pulp magazine - Wikipedia

"Pulp fiction was often low-quality, cliché-stormed, and short (the magazines had about 128 pages). That's why only the very few people involved in their crafting thought the fiction created for the pulps had real value the way, say, novels often try to."

-- Pulp Magazine - TV Tropes

Like there's a reason literary fiction is described as the opposite of genre fiction. And pulp wasn't just genre fiction. It was really cheap genre fiction.

I would say that the pejorative association is largely dying out, but I don't think @CleverNickName is remotely out-of-line by saying that pulp is or at least was a generally derided form of media.

It's like Roger Ebert saying -- and doubling down on saying -- that video games can never be art. It doesn't mean he's right, but it's definitely the same kind of respect these works got. That's why theater is traditionally held in higher artistic merit than the movies. That's why movies are traditionally held in higher artistic merit than television. That's why television is traditionally held in higher artistic merit than YouTube. It wasn't that long ago when "professional YouTuber" was something people were ashamed to use to describe themselves.


I would say that the pejorative association is largely dying out, but I don't think @CleverNickName is remotely out-of-line by saying that pulp is or at least was a generally derided form of media.
No, they were out of line by ignoring being informed what it meant in the context of genre entertainment, including RPGs, and telling everyone else they were wrong.

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