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What is your opinion of Savage Worlds?

Hex08

Explorer
I'm curious what others think of Savage Worlds. Here's why I am posting and my experience so far. After primarily running Pathfinder 1st ed. since it was in beta I finally was getting burned out and wanted to move onto other game systems (this was around the time 2nd ed. was announced). I settled on two systems, Castles & Crusades (which I love) and Savage Worlds. I have run a few games with Savage Worlds with mixed results. I have run a sci-fi campaign using the Last Parsec setting and the Eris Beta-V plot point campaign, a short Realms of Cthulhu adventure am currently running an East Texas University campaign. The Last Parsec campaign was tons of fun for both myself and the players. My problems arose when using horror settings, I find that the way combat can swing because of dice that ace and bennies make it a less than ideal system for horror based games, especially serious horror like Cthulhu . Exploding dice that result in one shot kills against powerful enemies make important combats feels anticlimactic and rerolls with bennies can do the same.

I like the Savage Worlds system and don't want to abandon it but I am beginning to think it's not as versatile as I originally thought.
 

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Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
I like it. I find it a little gamey around the edges, as one might expect from a rules set that developed out of a mini system. I think it does various flavors of Pulp really well. I like it less well for stuff that doesn't have a two-fisted action feel. It's a solid system that works as advertised. I don't think its a great generic system though, it certainly doesn't do everything equally well at any rate. That's not a criticism either, that's not true of most games.
 

MGibster

Legend
I like the Savage Worlds system and don't want to abandon it but I am beginning to think it's not as versatile as I originally thought.
I absolutely love Savage Worlds and it is my go to system. However, I am not a one game to rule them all kind of a guy. If I want to play a more "realistic" horror game I go with Call of Cthulhu or some variant. While I've run games set in the Alien universe using Savage Worlds, these days if I want to play Alien I'll use the Free League version. Alien emulates the mood of the movies better than Savage Worlds does.

My problems arose when using horror settings, I find that the way combat can swing because of dice that ace and bennies make it a less than ideal system for horror based games, especially serious horror like Cthulhu . Exploding dice that result in one shot kills against powerful enemies make important combats feels anticlimactic and rerolls with bennies can do the same.

There are things you can do to make combat a bit more scary. First, maybe some of your Cthulhu threats can only be Shaken by attacks unless PCs use a weapon that taps into its particular vulnerability. "Oh, yeah, you spray that creature down with hot lead from your Thompson which causes it to pause a moment before resuming its pursuit." For Cthulhu creatures, maybe they exist in two dimensions at once and you can't even Shake them with normal weapons. You have an opportunity to play all sorts of nasty tricks when running a horror game.

That said, I'm going to pitch a Pulp Cthulhu campaign, The Two Headed Serpent, to my group and I'm going to use Savage Worlds for that. I'll just use the Fear mechanics from SW rather than try to emulate the Sanity rules from CoC.
 

I use Savage Worlds for games that tend to be more action-based or pulpy in feel. I use a version of Basic Roleplaying / Call of Cthulhu for horror and historical games, and OpenD6 for most other things.
 

John R Davis

Adventurer
There is a Reign of Cthulhu Rpg for Savage Worlds. It has four settings from Pulp Heroes to really hard scary mode. Played it a few times. Seems to work.
 

dbm

Adventurer
Savage Worlds is currently my go-to system as well. I’ve been a fan of generic systems for a long time, and GURPS is also consistently in my top 3. The third spot changes from time-to-time.

All generic systems have an underlying approach in my experience, and that means that whilst they can run a broad range of campaigns every one of them will have an underlying flavour from the specific generic rule set you are using. For GURPS that is a high level of real-world verisimilitude. For Savage Worlds it is pulp action, and since that is the type of game I like to play most often it’s a positive for me. If I wanted to run a more dangerous, horror game GURPS would probably be my first pick though you can definitely do it in Savage Worlds with some careful application of optional rules.

In addition to its pulp baseline the other great advantage of Savage Worlds in my opinion is that it is super easy to home-brew stuff for it. This is because the sub-systems are only loosely interconnected and you can change an element without it having unexpected and undesired implications in another part of the system; GURPS by comparison is tightly engineered and that means changes can easily have side effects unless you are very careful and have enough system mastery to know when to apply that care.

So, my summary of Savage Worlds would be that it has enough crunch and sub-systems to support a wide range of interesting scenes, it has a pulp baseline, and it is very easy to tailor to meet specific aims.

Some of my group find it not quite flavourful enough, especially in the powers. But I personally find them fine and trappings add flavour for me.
 
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Osgood

Adventurer
I’ve had fun with Savage Worlds, but mostly as a secondary game. I agree that a little luck with exploding dice can really throw things off… I had a major villain that was supposed to be nigh unbeatable get one-shotted thanks to to a ridiculous damage roll. You may want to consider the house rule I implemented: you only get one ace per rank per roll. Novices get one exploding die, seasoned get two and so on.
 

thullgrim

Explorer
I like Savage Worlds. I’m currently running Masks of Nyarlathotep using it. Pulp style.
Savage Wolrds has it issues. Sometimes you just have to embrace how swingy it is. I’ll be using a modified version of the would cap rule for my important monsters.
 

Azuresun

Adventurer
In addition to its pulp baseline the other great advantage of Savage Worlds in my opinion is that it is super easy to home-brew stuff for it. This is because the sub-systems are only loosely interconnected and you can change an element without it having unexpected and undesired implications in another part of the system; GURPS by comparison is tightly engineered and that means changes can easily have side effects unless you are very careful and have enough system mastery to know when to apply that care.

Right now, as a side-project, I'm doing a Warhammer 40K conversion, and it's been delightfully easy to convert stuff and even to come up with new subsystems (Warp travel being a slightly modified Dramatic Task, for example).
 

dbm

Adventurer
We have run 40k with Savage Worlds a couple of times and it was very easy in our experience, too. Just adapting the chrome to existing stats in many cases.
 

I want to like it; I just have been unimpressed by seeing it in play. "Fast! Furious! Fun!" - what I've seen generally points only to the later two, but not the first.
I will note that it's not the scaling that's an issue; atts and skills scale almost identically in Cortex Plus/Cortex Prime.
I've got a number of the SW books in PDF... but haven't pulled the trigger.
 

Greg K

Hero
I like it. I prefer it to d20, d20M, 5e, and a lot of other systems. I don't like the Martial Artist edges or that there still has not been a Martial Arts Companion. Last time I ran, I did forget that I had a small Martial Arts supplement from 12 to Midnight and written by PEG's own Clint Black that was servicable in the meantime (There were two versions-both free if I recall correctly). I probably forgot about it due to hokey names for several of the Edges.

The only reason I did not run it more was that my late godbrother was irked by the Acing mechanic and lower dice.
 


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