Tell Me About Savage Worlds (please)...

Mallus

Legend
Give me everything you've got (and have the time and inclination to post): praise, criticism, amusing anecdotes, etc.

My group's recently put our D&D 4e campaign on hiatus --we'll wrap it up as soon as one of the DM's figures out how to run a doomed, quasi-religious Communist revolution-- and started playing Savage Worlds. Specifically, the pulp sci-fi Slipstream setting.

So far, the system itself look interesting. Not too heavy, not too light. The combat reminds me a bit of M&& (where the idea is to set up a big knock out blow). How's it play?

edit: heh... there's no Savage Worlds (or Other RPG/Misc) prefix... there should be.
 

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When I have played Savage Worlds its been a blast. Works really well for modern settings (haven't used it for other periods but I have Pirates of the Spanish Main and hope to try that out one day soon). Having your skill rank be the actual die you roll keeps things simple.

However the exploding die (you re-roll highest results for each die---so 4 for a d4, 6 for a d6, etc), has been the subject of some debate at my table. Some say it produces funky probabilities, others feel it washes out in the end. I think there are a few online essays on this as well.

Haven't used Savage Worlds for fantasy, and suspect that would take a little work before hand. The system looks like it can handle fantasy fine; the problem is you have to do a little customization before hand I think with the powers, spells and races. One good thing about the powers and spells is you can adjust it pretty easily to achieve the precise flavor you are looking for. Plus there is tons of fan material out there on the web. I've seen several Star Wars Savage rules online for example.
 

Wik

First Post
great setting for the Gm, because it's very easy to wing things and create custom content. It's great for those who want to design their own settings; I would never run a pre-pubbed SW setting, simply because making your own is so easy and fun.

There are a few problems, of course. Combat can definitely be swingy, and if you play with allies, expect them to get killed fairly frequently unless they're wild cards (basically, everything that's a "wild card" has three hit points. Most other NPCs and monsters have one hit point).

Our only real problem with the game is that it's easy to start with a d12 in something, and then have a character whose top skill, what makes him awesome, never improves over play. I prefer playing with a house rule saying no skill can start over d8 for that reason. Though, to be honest, I prefer Cortex's system (Roll Skill die PLUS Attribute die, with no exploding results but PCs can spend plot points to add extra dice to the roll) to be a bit better, and I think a Cortex + Savage Worlds cross would be awesome.

Savage Worlds is fine in a fantasy game. I ran the first pathfinder adventure (Burnt Offerings) using SW as my rules system, and it ran fine - and combats definitely SEEMED quicker than 3e... though I think it might have just been the observer effect, because SW fights can sometimes get bogged down into "I hit, but don't inflict enough damage".

It's also, in my opinion, too easy to heal PCs between fights. Some people love that; I don't. Different strokes, different folks, and all that jazz.

The Chase Rules and Mass Combat rules are both great, simple, and fun, and worth checking out. And the disadvantages rules are fun, too, provided you don't have players who will pick disadvantages they will never use just for the mechanical benefit (I don't... I have players who pick disadvantages who they know will be terrible, but also fun to play).
 


Theo R Cwithin

I cast "Baconstorm!"
As someone looking at taking this for a spin, could I quickly ask what's needed to get started in SW?

I understand there's a core rules book, and many setting supplements. Is it sufficient to get the core (Explorer's Edition, iirc), and a supplement or two in the genre of interest, or am I missing something?
 

As someone looking at taking this for a spin, could I quickly ask what's needed to get started in SW?

I understand there's a core rules book, and many setting supplements. Is it sufficient to get the core (Explorer's Edition, iirc), and a supplement or two in the genre of interest, or am I missing something?

That is plenty. You could get by just with the explorer's edition in my opinion. you will also need dice and a pack of playing cards.
 

Thasmodious

First Post
Yep, that's all you'd need. And the core book is $10, to boot.

My group's played SW exclusively for the past two years now and we've had a blast with it. It's very much a system for experienced gamers who don't have the time and focus they once did perhaps as teenagers. There aren't a constant stream of supplements to keep up with or a lot of system mastery to attain. The system largely stays out of the way and lets you play. I wrote up a very shortened version of all the core gameplay rules, combat options, healing, bennies, etc., and it fits on two landscaped sheets of paper that are taped to an old DM screen, with leftover panels for player stats the DM needs to know and a generic weapons/gear list for me to use for NPCs.
 

Stormonu

Legend
I've been running SW games off and now for about 6 months, love the system. I've been using it for my new fantasy game world and my wife & kids love the system, they picked it up very easy and it's very flexible to allow it to be the type of fantasy they want to play (I haven't even really used the Fantasy Supplement I bought for SW, except for a monster here and there).

It may be a personal preference, but I really like their training wheels character sheet (available on the web site). They also have a 1-sheet combat sheet that helps reminds players (and the GM) what options are available in combat.

It's also hard not to like a game where a night's adventure can fit on one side of an 8 1/2 X 11 sheet of paper.

On the flip side, the only beef I have with the system is how some of the skills are "tied" to certain abilities, I would have liked to see a better skill distribution among the ability scores (though all it really does is change point costs for maximizing certain skills). In modern or future games, a d12 agility seems godly, and its a shame there's no skills tied to Vigor. However, it hasn't been enough to affect our enjoyment of the game - it just looks lopsided skillwise on the sheet.
 

Mallus

Legend
Thanks for the responses, folks.

I'm interested in the mass combat rules (haven't read them, yet). Can anyone give me a quick summary? If they're really good, it might be worth converting our D&D 4e game over to Savage Worlds for the finale, which, as I mentioned earlier, will involve playing out a Communist revolution.
 

Thanks for the responses, folks.

I'm interested in the mass combat rules (haven't read them, yet). Can anyone give me a quick summary? If they're really good, it might be worth converting our D&D 4e game over to Savage Worlds for the finale, which, as I mentioned earlier, will involve playing out a Communist revolution.

Haven't had mass combat yet myself (at least haven't had anything with armies and that sort of thing). But I do know that they have a minion rule very similar to 4E (and I haven't played much 4E so I am going by what others have told me), so I would think that aspect of the game would be easy to transfer over. Exciting scenes where one character dispatches a room full of henchmen are really easy to pull off.
 

innerdude

Legend
Had a great (though short) run of Savage Worlds gaming earlier this year. We used a fan-mod for the Serenity/Firefly setting with the Savage Worlds rules, and it was fun.

It's very fun for modern/gun fight combat. There's lots of interesting ways it keeps things streamlined, yet still offers lots of tactical options and interesting decisions.

We didn't try it with fantasy (yet), but it seems to be flexible enough to manage it quite well.

The only real thing to be aware of about the system is that in my experience, the "curve" of character progression is relatively shallow. In D&D terms, it's basically like playing with characters that are levels 2-9. The "high end" power cap ceiling is pretty low, mostly because of the way combat damage is handled. So, if you're wanting "superhero badasses" for characters, the system doesn't really handle it well. But it's great at modeling "heroic" characters without making them feel like they can just break the world on a whim. One lucky damage roll and a failed "soak" roll, and a hero can be severely hurt or dead.
 

Greg K

Hero
The Chase Rules and Mass Combat rules are both great, simple, and fun, and worth checking out.
Both have been rewritten for the upcoming deluxe edition which was announced last week.

The deluxe edition will also include:
a) a section on designer insights
b) new powers from the fantasy companion
c) an expanded section on setting rules and how to apply them to your campaign.
d) new situational rules like interludes and dramatic tasks (extended skill checks for things like disarming bombs, persuading influential npcs etc.)
e) new one sheets
f) Clint revealed that there will also be some new equipment like F-15 jets, Abrams tanks, and some futuristic equipment

This will be a $30 hard cover. However, they will be posting a free pdf of the new and updated material for those with the Explorer's Edition. Once the, current, Explorer's Edition sells out, they will release a new Explorer's Edition using the deluxe material, but in the current Explorer format.

And the disadvantages rules are fun, too, provided you don't have players who will pick disadvantages they will never use just for the mechanical benefit (I don't... I have players who pick disadvantages who they know will be terrible, but also fun to play).

Well, the GM can tell the players no. Plus, the disadvantages coming into play is one way the GM rewards bennies during play. So, the players are screwing themselves out of a beneficial resource.
 

Stormonu

Legend
Thanks for the responses, folks.

I'm interested in the mass combat rules (haven't read them, yet). Can anyone give me a quick summary? If they're really good, it might be worth converting our D&D 4e game over to Savage Worlds for the finale, which, as I mentioned earlier, will involve playing out a Communist revolution.

The game was built off Rail Wars, so the game seems to handle skirmish-level combat well (10's of combatants easily - 100's, you might need to develop some shortcuts). For the most part, each generic individual in the fight will be rolling one dice and (barring modifiers) anything over 4 hits, so you can roll attacks for a handful of opponents at once (damage is a little slower as often two dice are involved vs. toughness). It should be very easy to scale upwards (1 die representing 10 soldiers and such).

We've regularly been running Left4Dead style scenarios with a score of zombies vs. PCs + allies; a small army at least. Combat was generally very quick though we were too engaged to time things for individual rounds. No combat that I remember, even at this scale, took more than about a half hour.
 

Greg K

Hero
I have not run anything for a few months, but I love the game.


There are some important things to remember
a) a +2 from an Edge is a big deal. It means you are only going to fail on a critical failure when it comes to standard difficulty TN 4.

b) Knowledge skills vs common knowledge individual knowledge skills are only used if they will see regular use. Otherwise, they default to common knowledge based on the character's background.

c) The combat maneuvers list may appear small at first glance. However, between the existing maneuvers, tricks, and raises, there are a lot more things players can do that one may, initially, realize.
Here is a list of d20 maneuvers in Savage Worlds terms Also add this addional maneuver, Push/Trip, from the brand manager, Clint Black. Between the existing maneuvers, tricks, and Push/Trip, there are several ways you can have "Push", "Pull" and "Slide" effects in Savage Worlds without needing lots of powers.

My only real complaints are
a) Stealth is too broad for my tastes as it covers both hide/move silent and sleight of hand
b) I wish the Push/Trip maneuver had been included
c) I wish Clint's guidelines for dialing lethality up or down by adjusting incapacitation had been in the setting rules; and that
d) Clint's Illusions as trappings had been in the core book or the upcoming deluxe book. His advice also includes a variation of Obscure. I was surprised that this was not included, because it is a common question and it was not covered in the fantasy companion.
 


scourger

Explorer
We love Savage Worlds. It really is fast, furious & fun as advertised. Running it changed the way I game. My preparation time decreased about 90%, and I felt like I was able to develop the story more than worry about the rules; as compared to d20.

I still like D&D 3.5 for all the minis that I have and want to use for another game, though.

And the new Gamma World is very similar to Savage Worlds in its fire & forget nature, which is why I am running it right now. The drawback to GW is that it lacks depth of character development for the players. It's the price of a simpler 4e game, but it leaves the game a little wanting.
 

kaomera

Explorer
Fairly simple, mostly generic, if you like what it does it can end up being your go-to game for any genre; if you don't then it can get annoying when it gets brought up as a suggested game for every genre... I like it, actually (and I think it's valid to keep bringing it up as a suggestion so long as it meets any other criteria...), but I've never gotten so far as actually recruiting players specifically for it, and the people I tend to end up gaming with by default prefer D&D...
 

Greg K

Hero
And the new Gamma World is very similar to Savage Worlds in its fire & forget nature, which is why I am running it right now. The drawback to GW is that it lacks depth of character development for the players. It's the price of a simpler 4e game, but it leaves the game a little wanting.

Have you checked out the Savage Worlds edition of Darwin's World?
 

Rel

Liquid Awesome
[MENTION=99]Rel[/MENTION] loves the system. Maybe he'll stop by and tell us about it.

Thanks for the mention. Just got home from a Savage Worlds session as a matter of fact.

Most of the basics have been covered (and I'm far from the SW Guru around here). I guess I'll just say that probably my favorite thing about SW is that it is so "limber". It's VERY economical on page count for things like spells, skills, edges, etc. But these things are designed to be so flexible as to allow you to do tons and tons of stuff with only a very small set of rules. This makes it an absolute breeze and pleasure to GM.

Also, for fantasy games, I love LOVE LOVE the way Spells and Trappings work such that you can take a simple spell and add different sorts of Trappings to give it wildly different themes and effects. Again, it lends a huge amount of flexibility to a very small set of rules.
 

Greg K

Hero
Also, for fantasy games, I love LOVE LOVE the way Spells and Trappings work such that you can take a simple spell and add different sorts of Trappings to give it wildly different themes and effects. Again, it lends a huge amount of flexibility to a very small set of rules.

I have been waiting for my tax return just to get the Fantasy Companion and give it a whirl for fantasy.
 

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